USPS package surge keeps agency afloat, but puts toll on employees

Despite a financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, the Postal Service faces a tremendous workload.

USPS has seen mail volume drop 25-to-30% during the pandemic, but about a 60% higher increase in package volume, leading senior agency officials to walk back more dire predictions of when the agency will run out of cash.

While the Postal Service faces an uphill battle to stay solvent, its workforce of more than 600,000 employees has encountered a slew of challenges to keep up with the demand to deliver a volume of packages that sometimes rivals what they handle during the agency’s peak holiday period.

The National Rural Letter Carriers Association, for instance, filed a national-level grievance last month essentially asking the Postal Service to consider the pandemic a “peak season” that would allow rural carriers to receive overtime pay.

The union represents about 120,000 rural carriers that deliver on 78,000 routes nationwide.

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Evaluated route time from latest count determines daily hours pay. No justification for any increase due to parcel volume as credit was given in prior count for present daily evaluated hours.