Most delivery companies follow predictable hiring patterns. Carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and Amazon massively ramp up seasonal help around the holiday time and whittle down their headcounts heading into the new year. For example, FedEx brought on 70,000 new workers for the 2020 holidays while UPS added about 140,000 workers to help give Santa a break. Typically, though, the USPS sticks to hiring between 35,000 and 40,000 seasonal workers.
The reason for the agency’s historic reluctance to take on holiday help is the pressure exerted on the USPS to limit the role of non-career workers and make temporary workers into career employees. Unions such as the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) confidently enter into negotiations with the USPS with full knowledge that, according to federal law, intractable impasses between unions and the USPS will automatically force the agency into a binding arbitration process. That means a mediator is all but certain to grant at least some concessions to the union, a process the APWU admits is friendlier to them than private-sector union-management standoffs.