The union says in the past, criminals used to leave letter carriers alone. But now the union says letter carriers are now fair game, not only here in Chicago, but around the country. Now the National Association of Letter Carriers is calling on the U.S. Postal Service to do more to protect its letter carriers
Outside the Letter Carrier Union Hall, a flag is lowered to half-staff in honor of a Maryland postal worker who was shot and killed on the job last weekend. While nothing that extreme has happened in Chicago, there have been several recent incidents that have local letter carriers frightened to do their jobs.
"Before this incident, no, I was comfortable on the job. Now, I'm not comfortable, I don't want to go back. I know I have to, but I don't want to," said Consuelo Goodlow, letter carrier.
Goodlow was attacked by a mother and daughter on the West Side after she sprayed the women's threatening pit bull with mace. Leslie Barrett is recovering from a broken jaw after he was attacked by two armed men.
"It was a rainy day, so I had my hood on and I had somebody come from behind and punched me in the jaw," said Barrett.
Barrett delivers mail in his own Northwest Side neighborhood. In his 15-year career, the 60-year-old never worried about his safety until now.
"I'm not real comfortable, as before. As a matter a fact, I'm not even comfortable just being out," said Barrett.
The U.S. Postal Service says there has not been an overall spike in assaults against letter carriers in recent years. Despite that, the National Association of Letter Carriers says several recent attacks have the union worried, especially going into the busy holiday season.
"Letter carriers used to be respected and no one would mess with a mailman. But we don't see attitude out there anymore. We're fair game," said Mack Julion, National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 11.
Union president Julion is calling on the U.S. Postal Service to change letter carriers' hours so they don't have to deliver mail at night.
"I think we definitely should have an absolute cut-off time no later than 7 o'clock," said Julion.
The Postal Inspection Service says the majority of attacks have taken place during daylight hours, however, the U.S. Postal Service says it does want to take a proactive approach. Just recently, it started the Carrier Protection Program, which is a partnership with the Chicago Police and CAPS.