ROCHESTER — After another holiday season in which the U.S. Postal Service in Rochester struggled to deliver mail on time, often leaving mailboxes empty for days at a time, the Rochester office has launched in an intensified effort to fill dozens of jobs.
Currently, the U.S. Postal Service is seeking to hire 61 entry-level carrier positions to cover routes and perform other work in Rochester, including eight assistant rural carriers, 20 urban carrier assistants, 28 rural carrier associates, and five sales and service clerk, said U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Tashi Lama.
Lama was unable to say what the more than 60 job openings represented as a percentage of the total postal workforce in Rochester, but said the Rochester District was a priority in terms of employment. hiring.
But even without knowing the full complement of licensed postal workers, the 61 unfilled jobs suggests Rochester has been severely understaffed for some time.
To highlight the aggressive search for carriers, the Rochester Main Post Office at 1445 Valleyhigh Drive NW is hosting four job fair-style events to generate interest in the profession. The first began on Wednesday and will run through January 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Three more are planned for January and February.
The hiring drive in Rochester is part of a nationwide effort called “Delivering for America” that aims to create a “more stable and empowered workforce,” a press release said.
The campaign to hire more carriers comes as the Postal Service emerges from another deadly holiday season in which it struggled to deliver packages and mail in a timely manner due to staffing issues. Some Rochester residents have complained of not seeing a mailman on their streets for days.
Retirements and the COVID-19 virus are among the top factors leaving the Rochester Post Office and elsewhere understaffed, an official said.
“Right after we were hit by (COVID-19), some senior managers in the (postal service) retired,” Lama said.
Matt Groshek of Rudolph, Wisconsin, said he recently sent a Priority Mail package to his sister who lives in Rochester. Priority mail means that a delivery is usually made between one and three days.
The package only arrived 10 days later, with the box partially crushed but the contents intact. Groshek said he was given a tracking number to follow the progress of the package, and for at least three days he marked the package as “in the process of being delivered”.
“So basically he sat on a truck for several days. I tried to call the Rochester Post Office. Forget it. You couldn’t get through. It would ring and ring and ring and ring,” did he declare.
Groshek said he understands the Postal Service is understaffed and facing extraordinary circumstances. But for people waiting for an urgent bill or package, such delays can create more than an ordinary hassle.
“I don’t know what to expect anymore,” he said. “What do you do if you don’t have workers?
Troy Fredenburg, a national sales agent for the National Letter Carriers Association representing Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota, said he was aware that Owatonna carriers had been relocated to the area of Rochester to handle the influx of requests during the Christmas season.
But he said carriers were worse off last year.
“This year compared to last year, I would say the postal services have done much better,” Fredenburg said. “Did they do pretty well in a time of a pandemic? Yeah.”
Lama said the Postal Service faces a competitive disadvantage in the hunt for workers compared to companies and agencies because they can offer bonuses and the Postal Service, a government entity, cannot.
But he said the service offers “great benefits”. Entry-level city transporter assistants start at $18.92 per hour, or $38,000 per year, and can eventually reach $30 plus per hour or over $62,400. Benefits include federal health insurance, dental and vision insurance coverage, savings program, and pension.
The position also offers potential for mobility. A carrier may start their postal career in Rochester and then move to Florida or Hawaii to work if jobs are available in those states.
“You can always take your work with you when you move house,” Lama said.
In addition to the job fair which runs until January 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., others will take place from January 24 to 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and February 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To assist potential applicants, USPS staff will be on hand to answer questions about openings. Applications are only accepted online at
. Laptops will be on hand for application assistance.