Labor union blames late mail on shortage of postal carriers
by BRIAN NADIG
The lack of a regular postal carrier on a delivery route is one of the main reasons for late mail and other problems, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers.
"If we have the resources, you’ll see the service you were accustomed to," said Mack Julion, president of the NALC Charles Duffy Branch, who spoke at the April 18 meeting of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association.
Representatives of the U.S. Postal Service were scheduled to speak at the meeting but were absent. Julion, who was attending as an audience member, agreed to fill in and address delivery concerns, which have been raised at numerous association meetings.
It was reported that there are usually about a half-dozen "down routes" in the 60630 ZIP code, and those routes are delivered either by city carrier assistants who fill-in on a temporary basis or by regular carriers in the area who agree to work extra hours and to deliver a portion of another route. There are about 50 routes in 60630.
Although substitutes "try to do the best they can," those living on a down route may not get their mail until the evening, Julion said. He added that carriers who are taking on extra hours could be subject to negative comments from residents who are upset about receiving their mail late.
A resident said that mail has been delivered to his home as late as 8 p.m. and that he once found the mail "frozen in snow" on his porch instead of in the mailbox.
"It always seems like it’s someone new (delivering) when I’m home," the man said.
Carriers are instructed to skip an address if there is not a clear path to the mailbox due to snow, ice or other obstacles, Julion said.
The union and its members strive for good delivery throughout the city, and the union will bring concerns that it receives directly to the carrier on a particular route, Julion said. The failure of postal service management to attend the meeting was disappointing, he said.