Gas station without pumps

2017 October 8

Mail delivery problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 23:19
Tags: ,

For decades we had excellent service from the USPS, with prompt deliveries to our door 6 days a week.  USPS has the lowest prices for small items (I don’t know any commercial service that will deliver anything for under 50¢, as USPS still does for first-class mail), and the service used to be great.

In the past two years (since our long-time mailman retired), delivery has gotten a bit unreliable.  I hear from neighbors that the problem is occurring all over Santa Cruz—the USPS is understaffed locally, and they can’t cover all the routes, so they drop routes on a rotating basis, providing approximately 5 day a week service.

This is mildly annoying, but what irks me is not the reduced service so much as the way that they report it on their tracking service “Informed Delivery”.  Instead of something honest like “understaffed—route skipped”, they report the non-delivery as “receptacle blocked”, blatantly lying about the problem and blaming the customer for their failure.

Even in the past, when delivery was routinely good, I noticed a tendency of the Santa Cruz Post Office to push the boundaries of honesty.  For example, when you paid for 2-day delivery, they were very careful not to scan the packages when they were handed over the counter at the post office, but waited until the post office closed at the end of the day to scan the package, giving themselves an extra 24 hours to make their delivery promises.

I imagine that the USPS pay scales are set based on cost of living in some cheap part of the country and are not really living wage in Santa Cruz.  They have job ads out for “City Carrier Assistant” at $16.41 an hour, which just meets the City of Santa Cruz definition of a living wage (they require $16.21 an hour with benefits for anyone hired by a city contractor, or $17.68/hour without benefits).   These aren’t even permanent jobs: “This is a non-career position through which employees are hired to serve a 360-day term, with the possibility of reappointment to additional 360-day terms.”

The pay is a little better than entry-level jobs in retail (which everyone is having a hard time filling, because the pay scales are so low), but less than shift supervisors or assistant managers.  Anyone with skills (apprentice electrician, plumbing installer, automotive technician, …) can expect higher entry-level pay.

Incidentally, I don’t see $16.41/hour on the postal-workers’ union pay-scale chart—the closest I can find is Pay grade 4, Pay step GG at $16.4688/hour.  Does the less-than-a-year contract circumvent union protections also?  I’m beginning to see why there is a shortage of postal workers locally.

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