ST. LOUIS – St. Louis residents fear an ongoing shortage of workers, from home improvement contractors to restaurants, is now hitting them in their mailboxes.
There’s a job station now at a south St. Louis post office. It’s part of a yearly hiring effort before the holiday season. But a staff member is telling applicants that there’s a “dire” need for letter carriers.
In most of the neighborhoods we’ve checked, people tell us they are still getting their mail every day. They may be getting it late, even at night, but they are still getting it.
That’s not the case in parts of the LaSalle Park and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods of South St. Louis.
“I got mail one time last week. I haven’t gotten anything else, yet,” said LaSalle Park resident Antionette Jones.
“It will go sometimes two to three days without anything in there,” said Mark Westlock of Meramec Valley Property Management. “Then, boom, we’ll get a load of stuff.”
In addition to his Mount Pleasant address, Westlock also has a P.O. box at the local post office.
Delivery had been spotty at both, he said.
Thursday’s mail included a bill sent from Ameren Missouri and postmarked Friday, Aug. 20. His box had been empty since Monday, Aug. 21.
“That’s not acceptable. Our business is big enough that we get enough Ameren bills, Spire, that there would be something coming in daily,” Westlock said.
United States Postal Service (USPS) employees are often putting in overtime to keep up as COVID-19 and a high turnover rate continues to impact the workforce.
A Postal Service spokesman gave the following statement:
The Postal Service is committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and we apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced. Local management is aware of delivery issues in St. Louis and is taking steps to address the concerns. We appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees during challenging times.
Our workforce, like others, is not immune to the human impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We will continue flexing our available resources to match the workload and we are proud of the efforts of postal employees in St. Louis, and the nation, as they define essential public service every day.
Customers are reminded that, if they need assistance with mailing or shipping concerns, they have a variety of options for reaching us. Customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on “contact us” at the bottom of our homepage, or utilize this direct web address: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/. Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service. In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the social media staff at usps hq, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @uspshelp.
The current job fairs will help meet local hiring needs. Nationally, from January 2021 through January 2022 we expect to hire approximately 100,000 employees. This number covers normal attrition and our peak holiday season. This effort is one part of our Delivering for America plan, through which the Postal Service is investing $40 billion over 10 years in infrastructure and our employees. Next week, we will begin hiring more than 40,000 employees for peak season.
“They need to hire people that’s going to be responsible for this mail,” Jones said. “We have utility bills coming in. We don’t know what’s going on unless you call them. We need our mail.”
Starting pay for letter carriers in St. Louis is about $18.50 an hour.