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Minnesota postal carriers deliver concerns on workload, conditions as holiday season packages pile up

December 14, 2023


Like many postal workers, a mail carrier in northern Minnesota makes his way through his route in a small truck with balding tires.

It’s almost three decades old and was designed to carry letters and magazines along with some parcels. But the capacity is nothing on the scale of today’s mounds of packages from Amazon, Target and other retailers.

This mail carrier offered MPR News a look into his job provided his name won’t be made public.

“There is retribution out there,” he said, expressing fear management would make his job even more difficult if they knew he was speaking out.

The postal worker said his job — especially this time of the year — is all-consuming. He often works more than 14 hours a day.

“My wife has woken me up countless times — I’m still in my uniform — laying on the couch to tell me I need to change and come to bed,” said the mail carrier.

The carrier said supervisors coerce him and his coworkers into working on days they are supposed to be off.

“Your manager comes up to you and says that ‘Oh hey, I know you’re hitting 88 hours this week, but I heard you volunteered to come in tomorrow,’” he said, using the term he and his colleagues have attached to the requests: “voluntold.”

“If you don’t comply, you hear about it,” he said. “You get definitely intimidated the following day. You get teased. You get taunted.”

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