US Postal Service sets itself up for a fall in peak season

Even with fewer than half normal peak season staffing levels and being unable to access the temporary infrastructure it needs, the US Postal Service is confident it can achieve minimum service levels.

In a congressional hearing this week, the postal operator’s leaders said it was about to hire 20,000 seasonal staff, less than half the normal numbers for the peak season. Postal management pointed out it had converted 100,000 part time workers to career personnel since 2021 and has plans to convert a further 10,000 in the coming weeks. This will reduce the need for seasonal staff.

Overall staffing levels have dipped by 5%, even if the US Postal Service can achieve the numbers of seasonal workers it has set out to. Gregory White, USPS’ executive manager of strategic initiatives, promised the agency would be prepared. “The reality is this year we are less reliant on peak season heroics than we have been in the past,” White said.

An issue could arise with the postal operator being unable to get the temporary sorting and handling space it usually uses for the Christmas holiday season. According to the Inspector General it has only secured 28% of the space it needs – 25 units of the 88 required. There are contingency plans in place – such as the use of tents – to meet demand as required.

“We never have enough people, but we manage. We move people around and we use overtime,” said Edmund Carley, president of the United Postmaster and Managers of America. “It will be a successful season, I’m sure.”