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Topic: Post Office Staffing :-(

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Subject: Post Office Staffing :-(
Date Posted: 10/15/2010 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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I went to mail a book yesteray. I got to the post office at 7:45 am (15 minutes after opening) and there was a line of 7 people and ONE postal worker. One of the people ahead of me asked about it, and the postal worker said it was now "Normal Staffing" as defined by USPS.

I felt so bad for the poor guy.  He recognizes me from my PBS mailings and is usually pretty cheerful, but he was obviously not happy about the new staffing situation.

Has anyone else notice a drastic decrease in their post office staff?

Last Edited on: 10/15/10 5:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/15/2010 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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My postal staff seems about the same (excellent). 

A few years ago a former USPS employee told me the postmasters were given quite alot of control over the local budget, and rewards for thriftyness...thereby causing some to become over zealous and thus sacrificing service.  Dunno how accurate the information, but he won a lawsuit over it.

BTW, my local USPS branch doesn't open until at least 8 am (maybe 9) but is open until 5:30 (30 minutes later than several of the nearest other offices)...hope you appreciate the extended hours!

Last Edited on: 10/15/10 5:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/15/2010 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,924
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You have the higher-ups to thank for the decrease in staffing.  Every year each Post Office is given a certain amount of hours by someone who usually never worked at the job.  And the following year they try to lower the amount of hours.  My hubby worked way over 10 hours a day and got paid for only 8 so as to stay in budget.  It is a BIG problem to go over budget.  He is now retired.

What I do not get is how they could eliminate positions in the clerk and carrier field and then create more management jobs in our Portland region.  These jobs pay way more in salary, benefits and perks.  I also worked for the Post Office and am sooo glad to be retired, too.  There are 39 vice presidents for the Post Office, more than our president.  WHY?

Date Posted: 10/16/2010 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2009
Posts: 621
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My post office has gone from 3 to 4 clerks (usually 4) to 1 to 2 clerks (usually 1) in the past 2 years.  Plus, they've brought in clerks from other branches who either aren't well-trained or who simply don't know where stuff is in my branch.  In addition to sending books, I collect and trade postcards within the US and abroad.  Many in the postcard crowd also collect stamps, so to get the $0.98 postage, I use 2 x $0.44 + 1 x $0.10 stamps, and the new clerks can never find the $0.10 stamps.  It's gotten so that I buy 50 of the $0.10 stamps whenever I have fewer than 20 of them left and see one of the more experienced clerks.  

The new clerks are also truly confused when I have stamps on anything, or when I tell them I only want to know the postage since I bring my own stamps to the PO.  You should have seen the confusion when I decided to mail PBS books with stamps!  (No - they weren't over 13 oz, just single paperbacks I was wrapping in the PBS mailers.)

Date Posted: 10/16/2010 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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My post office only has one employee, so any reductions would be pretty noticeable! 

But uggh, whenever I go to my parents' PO in Seattle, and I need to mail something international (they have an APC for other stuff)... UGH. The lines are terrible.

Date Posted: 10/16/2010 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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Yeah I have definitely noticed a pretty steady increase in staffing, but this is drastic. I know the post office has had losses for something like 5 straight years now ... I'm afraid it will close one day and then I'll really be up a creek! It would cost so musch more to send my books through any other service, like UPS or FedEx.

I feel bad for the post office employees too. Maybe I'll mail more letters to support my local post office :-)

Date Posted: 10/18/2010 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,575
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Yes, I've noticed that our P.O. has had a staffing reduction.  That's why I love that APC machine- I only go inside the actual P.O. to stand in that dreadful line when I absolutely have to.

Date Posted: 10/18/2010 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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Yup, my post office has cut it's staff, shortened it hours and pulled out the APC machine. No more quickly running in to mail a couple of books via  24-hour APC -- now the lines are longer and fewer people manning the counter.

Date Posted: 10/19/2010 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
Posts: 989
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We are a small town Post Office with only 3 Rural Routes and less than 100 P.O. boxes. We have only the Post Master and one Mail Clerk on staff. Our Mail Clerk is only allowed up to 30 hours in a 2 week pay period. She mostly comes in,in the afternoons and our Post Master works the front desk in the mornings.

Date Posted: 10/23/2010 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,742
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My post office has one employee (other than the rural driver) and as a result they have simply cut their hours where the counter is open - 10-4 on weekdays and no weekend hours at all anymore.

It's happening everywhere though. Around here we are seeing a lot of businesses forcing their salaried employees to work longer hours while cutting back hours for their hourly wage employees. Which isn't fair to either of the two groups.

Date Posted: 10/23/2010 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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Bren, your postmaster is lucky, mine has to work 8-5 with a break from 12-1 M-F, and while the counter is not open Saturdays, she still has to come in in the mornings to put mail in the boxes.

Date Posted: 10/27/2010 12:38 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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My rural PO is open 8:00-2:00,  6 days a week.  Just a postmaster and rural route carrier. 

They are great. 

I can barely stand to go to a big post office now.......long lines, etc.  Also, the big PO told me that my printing out e-DC and e-postage was costing them jobs.  Huh?  I said the more stuff I mail, the more I keep ya in biz and besides, I'm pretty sure that's not true.? 

Whereas, my rural PO is thrilled to have my business.  If they don't get enough mail customers, they would have to close.

I really appreciate USPS though......I'd like to see somebody start a pony express of their own if they don't appreciate the USPS.  cheeky

Date Posted: 10/29/2010 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,335
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Our post office usually only has 1 clerk working the front desk-- sometimes they will have 2.  Rarely do I see 3 but once in a blue moon it happens.

Kim -
Date Posted: 10/29/2010 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2009
Posts: 41
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The PO I usually go to went from 3 clerks on a daily basis to 1 clerk daily unless there's a line that is more than 5 people long - then a 2nd person works the counter (unless she's out to lunch).  Not surprising given the reported drop in sales at the counter due to email, iPhones, etc., and the state of the economy.  I also recently noticed that the PO is offering discounts on online purchases! That will surely reduce the flow of business at the counter. 

Subject: Post ofices
Date Posted: 12/2/2010 12:48 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,445
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We have one clerk if it isn't terribly busy or have one person filling out paper work for mailing packages...if it get more then a 5 or 6 people, they will bring someone up from the back. The are all a pretty knowledgeable bunch and rarely have had issues with any of them. That said, I rarely go IN the post office as I use pre paid postage and use the blue box outside the P.O.

Last Edited on: 12/2/10 12:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Ms K. (MsK) -
Date Posted: 12/19/2010 12:25 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2005
Posts: 127
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My small town post office is great and the lines are usually short.

I always use DC, but buy my postage there. I also have a post office mail box & collect my book packages at the counter.

Recently, one of the clerks made a comment that maybe I need to cut back on how many books I get &/or send. (I also swap thru another site)

I very nicely said to her, "but that would mean less business for you!"

She told me to keep getting & sending books.

My post office runs just on the edge of cutbacks and I love all the clerks & they like me, too. They know that I could buy my postage online & just drop it in the blue box. I buy postage to keep their jobs & keep their post office open. and it isn't just me, but every customer helps. every customer.

I've used PBS postage once, but it was a situation where I couldn't get to the post office to buy postage... and I felt badly that I had to do it.

Date Posted: 12/30/2010 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2008
Posts: 1,869
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Ours is busy almost all the time.  There used to be at least two working the counters during the busy times, but now usually just one.  You have to wait a while in line, but they are mostly cheerful and helpful and none of them have given me a hard time mailing books.  In fact one joked with me about them, one asked me what site i used, and the others take them in stride.  One gave me a bin to use to carry packages.  I also have a post office box so I come in regularly.  I usually don't have a tight time schedule like others on lunch breaks, so I don't have too big an issue with waiting.  The only complaints I have is difficulty these days with getting my mail held at the house and also with them stuffing Do Not Bend stuff including photos and books into my PO Box.  I might have to go with a bigger box to save my sanity on that one. 

I also have gone into bigger and smaller post offices in others cities and have to wait in line.  Seems to be normal, but most employees have been really nice to me.

Date Posted: 12/31/2010 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2009
Posts: 105
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The post office here isn't really short on staff, but every time I go I notice a problem of laziness.

There's usually one clerk at the counter, two during Christmas rush season, and there is always one worker whom I notice just stands there while customers doze in a long line.

She'll ask if there are any letters that are ready to be mailed (which can be done by putting it into the slot--no human contact required) but she will not actually help people package (she'll watch them struggle with tape and bubble wrap for hours) and she does not ever take a spot behind the counter, regardless of how long the line is.

I feel bad for the other workers, if they always have to cover for her slack.