In an email to The Reflector, Frum said the USPS isn’t immune to hiring and staffing challenges faced by other industries. The volume of packages during the postal service’s peak season led to delivery issues.
Those volumes have since leveled off, Frum said.
“But the Postal Service needs a physical presence, an employee to make that final delivery and our reliance on a vibrant and well-staffed workforce is perhaps more acute than other industries,” Frum said.
The Battle Ground post office has several unfilled positions, Frum said. Some days a neighborhood may not receive mail, though it will be prioritized for delivery the next day.
In some cases, post offices with shortages are “borrowing” employees from across Washington to handle the workload, Frum said. Those employees are usually new to the area. Unfamiliarity with routes can result in some deliveries not being made.
That mail gets sent out the next day, Frum said.
Those “borrowed” employees stay with a short-staffed office like Battle Ground for up to 90 days, Frum said, which helps familiarize themselves with routes.
To handle the shortage, Frum said the postal service has been “aggressively hiring” since last year, with more job fairs planned in the near future. USPS is looking to fill as many as 1,000 positions across the state, which she said contrasted with other industries that are downsizing.