CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago residents stood in the bitter cold Friday trying to track down mail that is not being delivered to their homes. For many, it's an issue that's been going on for months.
Deetreena Perteet and others who live here in her Bronzeville building said they haven't gotten mail deliveries in more than a month.
"I got money in that mailbox. I want it. I got bills in that mailbox, I want to take care of my bills," Perteet said.
She wants that most basic of services afforded to all Americans: USPS mail delivery.
"All we want is our mail. We're not asking you to do anything other than deliver us our mail, please," she said.
Chicago woman shares her frustration with mail delays
Over at the post office on 74th and Exchange, frustration has been mounting for weeks as people brave the cold and COVID-19 for a chance to find their letters and packages. Some have been waiting for three weeks.
"I'm waiting to pay my bills, I need my check to pay my bills with, so now I gotta pay late charges. You know, it's terrible," Telfrieda Watson said, adding she's been waiting for her mail for nearly a month.
What's behind USPS mail delays?
There are several things the United States Postal Service said are to blame for these major mail delays. One is staffing shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic. USPS says it's bringing in extra resources, but learning a new route takes time. Also, weather. Winter snow and ice can slow mail carriers down.Later start times for letter carriers to cut down on overtime may also slow down service.
"Right now those staffing shortages are even more amplified," said Chicago Letter Carrier Union President Mack Julion, referencing COVID-19. He said the union has been talking with USPS about staffing shortages for two years.
Friday, Julion said he asked for weekend help from districts outside of Chicago to triage the slowest city areas.
"To help us out to get some of this mail delivered," he said. "We deserve better in Chicago, and we're gonna get it."
As postal carriers wait for more reinforcements from outside of the city that could come this weekend, Julion said more jobs could be posted next week.