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USPS struggles to staff deliveries amid pandemic

U.S. Postal Service employees, who become infected with COVID-19 or exposed and become quarantined, are leading to shortages but postal employees are finding flexible and creative ways to continue to deliver mail daily.

“Like many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted staffing periodically at some postal facilities,” said Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, a USPS spokesman.

“Due to the incredible flexibility of our workforce, we are able to reallocate personnel as needed to ensure continuity of operations,” he said.

The pandemic has resulted in a carrier and clerk put under quarantine in a local office and workers needing to fill in, said Linda Sosniak, a retired postal employee and resident of Picture Rocks.

Whenever postal employees get a positive test they are off for several weeks and must receive clearance from the postal service nurse, said Sosniak, who spent 29 years with the postal service and whose two sons are postmasters.

“That creates a shortage,” she said, adding, the service always makes every effort to ensure mail is delivered promptly.

“There are carriers right now who are so stressed out. It’s just terrible working conditions,” said Paul Nyman, a Loyalsock Township resident, township supervisor, retired postal worker and secretary of the state Association of Letter Carriers. Nyman said the problem is “there are not enough workers. … There are employees who have already have hit their limits on overtime. They’ve maxed out their hours. Last Friday, they did not deliver to one of the business routes downtown.”

The last time there was a shortage was in winter 2019 and early 2020, according to the Postal Reporter, a national publication for letter carriers and postal employees.

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