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USPS Worker Says Current Delays Are "The Worst I've Ever Seen"

She claims new changes at facilities are creating problems with the postal process.

Waiting longer than expected for your mail? Just know you're not alone. Over the last several years, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has earned something of a reputation for its slow shipping. Customers in several parts of the country have already reported delivery delays in 2024, with some claiming that they are receiving their mail, at most, once a week. But if you're hoping for quick relief, you're likely to be disappointed, as even USPS workers are speaking out about how bad the current delays are.

RELATED: 6 Major Changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Has Made to the USPS.

Christine Pruitt, vice president of the American Postal Workers Union's (APWU) branch in Wichita, Kansas, has spent nearly four decades in the industry, local ABC-affiliate KAKE said in a new report. She recently visited the Wichita Processing and Distribution Center in mid-March after receiving complaints from the over 250 USPS employees working there that she represents, according to the news station.

"I wanted to see it for myself," Pruitt told KAKE. "Because the frustration in some of their comments was really about why things weren't moving."

She found the warehouse packed with pallets of mail that were stacked to the ceiling and overflowing into walkways. Much it had been left untouched for days, and even weeks, at a time, according to Pruitt.

"This is the worst I've ever seen it," she recalled to KAKE. "And probably the most dejected employees I've ever walked around."

Not only that, but Pruitt also found a container with live chicks in one of the aisles.

"If we hold them the extra day, they die," she said. "They can't survive without being delivered."

RELATED: Customers Are Abandoning the USPS, New Data Shows—Here's Why.

The USPS has repeatedly blamed its delivery delays on ongoing nationwide staffing shortages. But Pruitt told KAKE that the Wichita center has enough workers to keep up with the current demand. So, why the delays?

Pruitt is pointing fingers at a new Package Sorter Machine that was installed at the facility in 2021. At the time, the USPS said this was one of 118 new package sorters being distributed nationwide in order "to provide more reliable service" to customers. These new machines are able to process thousands of packages in just an hour, which is up to 12 times faster than manual sorting, according to the agency.

But the USPS union worker said the new Package Sorter Machine has actually caused things to slow down instead. Showing documents to KAKE, she said reports from the facility indicate that management is shutting down the machine for around 10 to 12 hours every day on average.

"They're just holding [mail] for this new machine that they're not using," Pruitt explained. "It's like, why aren't you letting them work it manually? If you're not going to use the machine, let them get it out."

In fact, Pruitt said that the Wichita center has USPS workers on the clock 24 hour a day, seven days a week—even when the machine isn't working. And they are all trained to process parcels by hand, since that is how they operated before the new machine was installed in 2021.

"We've always still had manual operations," she told the news outlet. "It's just part of the the nature of the beast, if you want to call it that. But they're not letting them do it."

RELATED: USPS Slammed for Massive Delays: "We've Had Mail Delivered Twice in 2 Weeks."

As a result, the facility is getting stuck with mail that just sits there for hours when the machine is down, creating backed-up piles that employees cannot catch up on, even when the machine is running again.

"Employees take great pride in knowing we got it all done," Pruitt told KAKE. "They take great pride in knowing that they're serving the customer. Right now, they're so frustrated they can't see anything. It doesn't look like they're getting ahead. Because they're not."

Best Life reached out to USPS about these complaints, and we will update this story with its response.

But in a comment to KAKE, the Postal Service said that while its Wichita Processing and Distribution Center processes mail and packages seven days a week, "the volumes of mail and packages can fluctuate during processing times."

"Our Wichita postal employees do an amazing job to reduce the possibility of delays, however, we thank you for bringing this to our attention," the agency told the news outlet. "The Postal Service is committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and we're proud of the efforts of our Wichita Postal Team to keep America's mail moving."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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