by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times
September 10, 2021
CHICAGO — Postal carriers have had enough and are staging a protest in response to unsafe working conditions.
Postal carriers typically begin their day at 6:30 a.m., yet, due to safety concerns they will now begin two hours later in Chicago. Employees of the United States Postal Service point to the shooting of one of their own last year in broad daylight on 91st and Ellis.
Postal carriers in Chicago, Evergreen Park, Cicero, Harwood Heights, and Niles will now work 12 hours a day, starting later. Some communities with higher levels of violence may be exempt, but Chicago violence has exploded, according to Mack Julion, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers Local Branch 11.
“We are subject to everything that goes on in the community . . . They are passionate about not working at night for a reason.” Julion stated.
The USPS did respond to workers’ concerns, issuing the following statement:
“The United States Postal Service is a responsible employer that prudently matches our workforce to an evolving workload and continuously adjusts staffing. Later start times do not imply later delivery times. Start times are determined by the amount of mail available for processing and delivery. An earlier start time, for example, with no mail to process, results in wasted employee resources and diminished customer service. The Postal Service respects our employees’ right to peaceful demonstrations. Employees are our most valuable resource, according to one of the Postal Service’s guiding principles. We are deeply committed to incorporating safe work practices into all of our services, and we make certain that all employees are trained to work in a safe and responsible manner. Employees can report unsafe working conditions at any time without fear of retaliation.”