Mailman (City Letter Carrier)

Mailman (City Letter Carrier)

MailmanDave

17 Years Experience

Long Island, NY

Male, 43

I am a City Letter Carrier for the US Postal Service in NY. I've been a city letter carrier for over 17 years and it is the best job I've ever had. I mostly work 5 days per week (sometimes includes a Saturday) and often have the opportunity for overtime, which is usually voluntary. The route I deliver has about 350 homes and I walk to each of their doors to deliver the mail. Please keep in mind that I don't have authority to speak for the USPS, so all opinions are solely mine, not my employer.

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Last Answer on June 24, 2017

Best Rated

Is USPS hurting any more or less than other countries' snail-mail delivery services? I imagine that it's on the decline everywhere, but wondering if other countries' systems are suffering financial losses as dramatic as in the US.

Asked by Artie456 about 5 years ago

I don't know the answer to that question. I agree with you that it's likely that mail volume is on the decline everywhere as technology spreads and instant electronic communications becomes the norm. I know some countries don't deliver mail 6 days a week and have privatized their postal system. Supposedly our current rate of .45 for a 1-oz. 1st-class piece of mail is one of the lower prices among modernized countries. We are by far the largest postal service in the world in terms of volume of mail delivered so our losses and gains are probably larger due to the scale of the operation.

With the price of gas so high, why doesn't the postal service convert to non-gasoline vehicles?

Asked by BlackberryGuy almost 5 years ago

Good question. I think that it would be too expensive upfront as you mentioned, and the USPS doesn't seem to be in that good of a financial position right now. It is true that the LLVs we use get very poor gas mileage as we are starting and stopping the engine many times per day and some of us drive very short distances. I get the impression that the USPS is currently in more of a survival mode than in being too innovative as of late. We probably could use some type of congressional relief of our current requirement to prefund future retiree health benefits This requirement is resulting in significant paper losses for the USPS which probably also hampers the drive to be more eco-friendly and economical.

Why have I never seen a mailman take a break?

Asked by Eugene65 over 4 years ago

We are always on a break! Just kidding. I can't say why you don't see mailmen take a break. We are allowed a 10-minute break plus a 30-minute lunch break while we are delivering the mail. I usually take my breaks sitting in the postal vehicle. Other carriers go to restaurants or take-out for lunch. I bring my lunch to save money. I hope this answers your question. 

Is all mail screened for illegal substances?

Asked by g-ride about 5 years ago

No, that would be cost prohibitive for sure. I don't know what gets screened and what doesn't. If mail is going into sensitive places like the US Capitol or The White House, there is a strong likelihood that it is being screened.

Have you ever witnessed a carrier intentionally tamper with mail so it is un-deliverable (like tape over the address... I think a carrier did this to my package), steal the contents, etc.? If you haven't witnessed it, do you think it's likely?

Asked by Disappointed over 4 years ago

I haven't witnessed anyone deliberately tampering with a package, though every now and then a box arrives empty, so it could have broken open in transit or tampered with. If a carrier were to do this on any regular basis, customers would become suspicious and probably call the PO. If the PO rcvd too many calls about 1 route, I imagine they'd get suspicious and look into it. Overall, I think tampering and theft is rare but I am sure it happens in such a large organization. Thank you for the question. 

If it snows and I have a curbside mailbox, what's my obligation to make it accessible to the mailman? I've had some mailmen who delivered when the box was surrounded by 4 ft of snow, while others have skipped us when there were a couple inches.

Asked by G.C. almost 5 years ago

I don't know the regulations exactly when it comes to curbside delivery. I can assure you it is printed somewhere, possibly on the USPS website. I think that the carrier has to be able to approach your mailbox, deliver and then drive away without leaving the vehicle. That said, some carriers I know would rather deliver the mail and not have to bring it back to the PO and then attempt delivery the following day. I understand the frustration with the inconsistency, but If I had to pick one way or another, it is acceptable for a carrier to skip a delivery if he can't get to a mailbox for the reason of too much snow or a car blocking the mailbox. The school of thought might be that if we deliver when there is 4 ft. of snow on the ground, what incentive does the resident have to clear a path to so the carrier can drive his vehicle directly up to the curbside mailbox?

Isnt it hard only having 1 day off a week? Do you have vacation time besides paid holidays?

Asked by cjz about 4 years ago

We actually get 2 days off per week. If you are a "regular" carrier, which means not a substitute or PTF (part time flexible) carrier, our National Agreement with the USPS says that we can work 8 hrs per day 5 days per week. Mail is delivered 6 days per week. On our day off, a "floater" carrier will deliver our route. Some offices have rotating days off which means I'll be off Mon one week, then Tues the next week, then Wed. the next week, etc. Other POs have fixed days off meaning a certain route or carrier would be off every Thursday. We always have off on Sunday. I don't mind the schedule and have been doing it for about 14 years. Besides 10 paid holidays per year, we have between 13-26 days of paid vacation per year depending on length of service. In addition we receive 13 days of paid sick leave per year which can be carried over if not used in a certain year. I feel that the amt. of time we have off is very fair. I have had a few episodes in my career where I have been sick for a couple of mos. at a time. During this period, I was never concerned about getting paid or possibly losing my job. There are protections due to being a government job and working under a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the USPS and the National Association of Letter Carriers. You may also be allowed to take a certain amt. of Leave without Pay if you need time off, but don't necessarily have to get paid. I am conservative with my savings so I have used this option at times to save from having to use sick leave.