U.S. Postal Service workers and supporters rallied at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle on Monday to show solidarity as the national letter carriers’ union negotiates a new contract for the workers who deliver the mail.
Workers in the Seattle area have faced long hours due to required overtime, and are urging an end to non-career track positions, which come with lower pay and fewer benefits than career-track positions, said Kevin Gottlieb, president of Branch 79 of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
Staffing shortages have hit the Postal Service hard, both nationally and in the Seattle area, resulting in delayed deliveries and frustrated residents. Union representatives have said the service is caught in a vicious cycle: Without enough staff, those who remain are forced to work long hours to deliver the rest of the mail. The grueling overtime then drives more carriers, who make $19 to $23 to start, to leave.