Postal workers file complaint over late deliveries

Posted Friday, Dec. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The American Postal Workers Union is taking the Postal Service to task, claiming that the agency is failing to meet its delivery standards for first-class mail and periodicals.

A complaint filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission earlier this month alleges that the Postal Service isn’t following its own “service delivery standards.” The commission had ordered the union to provide additional evidence to back up its claims

The union alleges that the Postal Service is violating the rights of its members by failing to deliver first-class mail on time, depending on whether it was sent to someone locally or out of state.

“The Postal Service has closed about half of this country’s mail-processing plants, which means that mail has to be processed farther away,” said Sally Davidow, communications director for the Washington, D.C.-based organization.

The union blames cutbacks for the delivery problems, she said.

When asked about the union’s claims, Sam Bolen, a local spokesman for the Postal Service, said in an emailed statement, “The matter is in litigation, and we do not comment on matters in litigation.”

However, Bolen told the Star-Telegram previously that the Postal Service is largely meeting its delivery standards, including delivery in Fort Worth. He said delivery time for first-class mail varies, depending on where the mail is being sent.

For instance, a letter sent from Arlington to someone in Fort Worth should arrive the next day. If a letter is sent from Fort Worth to Waco, it should get there in two days. If first-class mail is going to another state, it should arrive in three days.

But residents in the Fort Worth area said they don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing when their mail will arrive, especially when it is after dark.

Katheryn Carter, who lives near Alta Mesa Boulevard and McCart Avenue, said she usually heard the mail truck pull up to her house at around 3 p.m., but she said her mail is delivered later in the day, and she worries about going outside after dark.

“I am concerned. I would rather have my mail delivered during the day,” she said .

Frank King, who lives south of Aledo and receives his mail from the Benbrook post office, also wonders how the post office can improve service.

“We would get our mail at 6 or 6:30 at night. I went to talk to the Benbrook postmaster and was told that our mail carrier can’t leave [the post office] until he gets all of the mail for his route,” he said.

The complaint, which contained comments from union representatives from cities including Waco and Colorado Springs, Colo., painted a similar picture.

In Waco, first-class mail goes to processing centers in Coppell or Austin for processing, but it doesn’t arrive in Waco in time for overnight delivery, according to the complaint. Union members said they do not receive their newsletters until four or five days after the delivery date.

In Colorado Springs, the mail is sent to Denver for processing, an 80-mile trip, before it is sent back to Colorado Springs. Sometimes, the mail is delayed in getting to Colorado Springs, which means the mail carriers have to start delivering it later in the day, according to the complaint.

The union wants the regulatory commission to order the Postal Service to take the necessary steps to comply with its service regulations and to “cease and desist” from making changes in its mail processing that will cause it to violate standards.

But the Postal Service has seen major losses over the years.

The Postal Service ended the 2013 fiscal year with a net loss of $5 billion, marking seven consecutive years the agency has posted losses, according to a Nov. 15 news release. In a positive sign, the loss was far less than the record $15.9 billion the agency reported losing last year.

Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696 Twitter: @fwstliz

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