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 December 08, 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 over 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 over 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.

Is all mail screened for illegal substances?

Asked by g-ride over 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.

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

Asked by cjz over 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.

I'm sure you heard about that lunatic in Canada who mailed pieces of a dead body to some Canadian govt officials. They said that these packages stunk to high heaven and some were literally leaking blood - how did this get past their postal service???

Asked by naaaaasty over 5 years ago

I am not familiar with that story which you mention though it does sound disgusting. If we ever saw a package that was leaking fluids and/or had a noticeable strange smell, our procedure is to report it to a supervisor who could then decide whether to take any further action with re: to calling postal authorities or local police. I would hope if that same situation happened in the US that the package would be intercepted long before it reached its destination but you can never be sure as a lot of what happens depends on the personnel handling the package and how much they care or are paying attention.

As an employee, are you able to transfer to other areas in the US if you wanted to? Or are you obligated to stay in the same city you hired out in?

Asked by April over 4 years ago

After working A certain amt. of time in one office you can definitely apply for a transfer through eReassign, an internal website for USPS transfers. You might have to be a career employee to do that, meaning not a temporary hire. When transferring to another location, you might lose seniority when it comes to picking vacation days or bidding on job assignments, but you won't have your pay cut if you transfer as the same occupation. (Letter carrier to letter carrier, for example) Fromy I office we have had many employees transfer out over the years. It sometimes takes awhile, but it can happen. If you want to transfer its a good idea to have a good work record re:attendance and safety, as the office you are going tO will want to know about it.   Thanks for your question. 

Why have I never seen a mailman take a break?

Asked by Eugene65 almost 5 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.