USPS management was refusing to let postal workers take their Sunday breaks together—inside, out of the heat
A simple grievance can take many months to get results. But at the post office where I work, we got fast results defending our breaks with a different approach: direct action.
I’m a city carrier assistant (CCA)—part of the lower-paid second tier of letter carriers—in Naples, Florida. The retention rate for CCAs nationwide hovers around 20 percent.
Letter carriers start each day by sorting the mail and loading it into our trucks. In my post office, Mondays through Saturdays we take our first 10-minute break together inside the office, with the air conditioning, before heading out to start deliveries.
We used to take our breaks together on Sundays, too. We would chip in for donuts and coffee, a sign of our camaraderie.
But in April, the Postal Service implemented a new way of doing the Sunday package runs. (On Sundays we don’t deliver letters, just parcels, mainly for Amazon.) They had half the workforce coming in first to load trucks, and the other half coming in later to start deliveries—and we were no longer allowed to take our Sunday morning break in the office.
By the middle of the summer, we were back to the old way of loading and delivering. Everyone was back to clocking in at the same time on Sundays, 8:30 a.m.
But management was still refusing to let us take Sunday morning breaks together. They wanted us to hit the road and take our breaks out on the street, in the heat.