Mail carrier weighs in on Duluth’s mail service problem

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The mail service in Duluth is causing a big problems for residents. Some have claimed that they haven’t received mail in more than two weeks.

We spoke with an area mail carrier, who chose to remain anonymous, to share what he is experiencing first hand at his job.

First he mentioned that this is a newer problem that Duluth and even Minnesota is seeing. He says, “We didn’t have this problem last year, so it hasn’t been for that long. I know some of the other parts of Minnesota have been having a lot more problems like we’ve had in our area. Like Rochester, it has just been within the last month or two.”

Even with USPS making sure their workers aren’t over worked our source says they clocked in almost 116 hours last week. He says he’s allowed to work extra hours but not that long, “I normally work about 60 hours.”

The major problem that he is experiencing is the amount of work caused by a lack of workers.

“They just don’t have enough people hired to do the job is the problem. You got somebody working- that’s supposed to be able to get done in an 8 hour shift in a mail route, and they don’t take into consideration how many hours it takes packages to places like they are supposed to.”

One cause for that shortage was the amount of carriers quitting or retiring.

Our source says, “A lot of old time mail carries retired when amazon came on. They just didn’t pay the carriers a whole lot more money to run amazon. They [The carriers] said ‘well this isn’t the same job that I had spent 20 years on I’m quitting. I’m retiring.’”

Mail priority may be another reason why you haven’t seen certain pieces of mail be delivered. Around Christmas time, mail related to the holidays is prioritized in sorting and delivery. Your mail route in particular could also be the reason.

Our source says, “It gets overwhelming. Where they under evaluated a route by so much that the only time that you can really keep up  with it is when it’s not a rush season or not a really super heavy day. Like in the summer it’s no problem but when it gets around Christmas time and the office help at, an 8 hour route takes like 16 hours.”

And while we are no longer under a snowstorm the remaining snow causes problems for mail carriers vans. Our source claims he’s gotten stuck plenty of times this week alone. However, that could contribute to getting your mail delivered later in the day rather than you not seeing any mail for two weeks.

While many are frustrated with the big delays, our mail carrier source says there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The next month could see us return to the normal deliver times.

And he says come June, the amount of people on staff will determine if we will see this problem again next December.

While our team has not directly interviewed any individual in the management positions in the region, the Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS Corporate Communications for the districts of Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, released a statement saying:

“The Postal Service is committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and we apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced. Local management in Duluth, MN were aware of delivery issues and took steps to address the concerns. All mail delivery services in Duluth are current and on time. We appreciate the patience of our customers.

We are flexing our resources including using overtime and bringing in additional employees from other facilities. In addition, severe winter weather conditions suspended mail delivery for several days. We will continue flexing our available resources to match the workload and are proud of the efforts of postal employees as they define essential public service every day. If there is a service issue for a specific address, please provide that information so we can investigate further.

When mail service issues occur, we take steps to quickly resolve customer concerns. We gladly work to address any specific issue from the community when brought to attention and we encourage customers to reach out to their local postal station. Customers can also go to our website and click on “Contact us” at the bottom of our homepage, or utilize this direct web address: Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service.

In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp. The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customer’s concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities.” -Desai Abdul-Razzaaq.