USPS Is Warning Customers About New Mail Delays
New and ongoing challenges could create issues for on-time deliveries.
With millions of gifts being shipped across the country, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is currently in the middle of its busiest season of the year. Thankfully, it's been preparing for this: Since Jan. 2022, the USPS has been implementing new strategies and improvements to help manage the increased holiday demand. That having been said, the Postal Service can't prepare for everything. Now, the USPS is warning customers about new potential mail delays over the holidays. Read on to find out why your packages might not make it to their destination on time.
People across the U.S. have been complaining about delivery issues.
Over the past month, mail complaints have piled up, with many upset over delivery delays during one of the most important shipping seasons.
"There are extreme delays every day," Mark Seitz, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 92, which represents about 700 postal workers in southern Maine, told the Portland Press Herald. Seitz said mail for about 15 to 20 routes in the area isn't going out for delivery every day.
And it's not just Maine. Residents in Colerain Township, Ohio, told NBC-affiliate WLWT on Dec. 15 that they are only getting their mail about once a week, and others have reported going as long as two weeks without having their mail delivered.
"I'm not sure what the Postal Service is doing, what's going on, but we need our mail," resident Swania Cunningham told the news outlet. "I'll check the mailbox every day. I look in there. I'll say 'oh, nothing.' So I've just got to a point where I'm like I'll just check every two weeks. And when I get do get mail, I get stacks of mail."
The Postal Service has confirmed that ongoing challenges are still causing problems.
Over in Camden, South Carolina, residents told CBS-affiliate News 19 on Dec. 13 that they've been dealing with regular delays for some time now. "For the past six months, I guess, maybe even more, we haven't been getting mail on a sometimes-daily basis," Camden resident Emily Volz told the news outlet. "When I called up there to ask, we don't even have a permanent driver for our route and was told because of the holidays they're not even gonna hire for our route yet."
The USPS confirmed to News 19 that staffing challenges are still creating delivery problems for some areas like Camden. "Like many other businesses right now, the Postal Service in Camden is experiencing temporary staffing issues," the agency said.
USPS spokesperson Mark Lawrence also recently acknowledged to the LNP that a similar problem is resulting in delivery delays for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as well.
"We are experiencing sporadic challenges with employee availability in some locations causing infrequent impacts to mail deliveries," Lawrence told the newspaper. "During these instances we continue to deliver packages daily, but customers may see an occasional delay in letter mail."
The agency is now warning about additional mail delays.
Continued staffing challenges aren't the only issues causing delivery delays this December. In Yakima, Washington, many residents didn't receive any of their mail or packages during the second week of the month. USPS spokesman David Rupert told the Yakima Daily-Herald that these new delivery delays are the result of heightened demand and winter weather hazards.
"We're just hitting limitations with hours at some point, and the volume," Rupert told the newspaper. "When the weather went south, it hampered our efficiency. You couldn't get to as many addresses throughout the day. So they did have more issues last week."
During a Dec. 19 interview with NewsNation's Rush Hour, USPS confirmed to the news outlet that winter storms could lead to shipping and delivery delays in the coming days. Add the pre-existing staffing challenges into the mix and you've got a recipe for disaster.
"The current hiring strain, combined with holiday volumes, can cause us to stretch our capacity beyond its limit and result in pockets of delays in our delivery network," Stephen Doherty, a spokesperson for the USPS Northeast Region, told the Portland Press Herald.
Winter storms have also led to full delivery suspensions.
The impact of bad winter weather is being felt all over. Just last week, the USPS temporarily closed roughly 200 post offices and suspended deliveries throughout five different states: Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. According to the agency, weather was to blame, as a massive storm had brought snow levels above a foot in these states, per CNN.
Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, a regional spokesperson for the Postal Service, told the Duluth News Tribune on Dec. 14 that mail carriers had also been pulled from their routes amid the Northern blizzard due to safety concerns.
"We wouldn't deliver mail in a tornado," Abdul-Razzaaq told the Minnesota-based newspaper. "When weather conditions are so bad and the safety of our carriers are at risk, then, yes, we do cancel until weather permits."