USPS struggles to keep up mail deliveries in Chicago amid pandemic

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
USPS struggles to keep up Chicago mail deliveries amid pandemic
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Some people say its been weeks since they've received U.S. Postal Service mail.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed how society functions, and that includes the US Postal Service. Some customers have reached out the ABC7 saying it's been weeks since they've received mail from the agency.

"This is ridiculous. I just want my mail," Marshanika Adams said.

Adams is just one of the many residents who had to go to the Auburn Park Post Office in person to get their mail.

"This experience was way too long, I mean, two hours and then you wait another 20 minutes," said JR Rogers.

"This was a gas bill issued on July 8," said Stephanie Carter. "Where is the rest of my mail?"

The issue doesn't seem to be isolated to just one area. Residents from other Chicago neighborhoods complained about their missing mail.

"We're experiencing situations where you have a lot of routes that aren't going out," said postal worker Mack Julion.

Staff shortages, later start times and more customers relying more on the service due to the pandemic has resulted in the mail piling up, according to the Branch 11 President of the National Association of Letter Carriers. They also added that those who are working, are working even harder to make the deliveries.

"They are working in a pandemic [and] they are working in extreme heat; they're working at a disadvantage with a shortage of staff," Julion said.

The spokesman for the US Postal Service in Chicago declined a request for an interview, but did respond to our initial inquiry saying that "there are no disruptions in mail service " in the neighborhoods we asked about.

The Postal Service spokesman also urged residents with complaints to call with their specific address to the US POSTAL Customer Affairs office at 312-983-8403.

USPS released a statement Tuesday that reads in part:

The Postal Service is a responsible employer that matches our workforce to an evolving workload and adjusts staffing continuously to serve our customers with consistent, reliable service. That includes some operational changes in the last few weeks for some locations in Chicago. There has also been about 200 additional letter carriers hired in Chicago since the pandemic.

The Chicago District has a dedicated workforce that services nearly 1.3 million delivery points daily. We gladly work to address any specific issue reported from the community. As any service organization, one customer complaint is one too many. We encourage any customer that has a concern with their delivery of mail to contact their local Postal station or our Consumer Affairs office at 312-983-8403.

USPS said out of more than 630,000 employees nationwide, 4,280 have tested positive for COVID-19, including some who have lost their lives .