Postal service warrants more attention
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" - Slogan often associated with American postal workers
Etched into the granite atop a central post office in New York City, the slogan above doesn’t mention coronavirus. That phenomenon can certainly now be counted among the natural challenges facing postal workers as they go about their daily duties.
With more than three-quarters of a million newspapers pumped into the system annually, we know all too well the problems being experienced. Subscribers complain – understandably – about lengthy delays in receiving their papers.
Local delivery has remained solid, but once the papers start making their transfers to far-flung addresses, all bets are off.
We're not the only businesses and individuals experiencing the problems. We see lines outside local post offices. Prescriptions, checks and many other important packages and correspondence are delayed. There are far fewer complaints about delays in receiving bills, except from businesses that rely on the postal service to help keep their cash flow healthy.
Private mailing stores and services are helping pick up the slack and are thriving, but they can’t cover the universal service provided by USPS.
Coronavirus not only depleted postal worker numbers, it also created massive new mail flow prior to last November’s election with mail-in ballots from those fearing to go out to vote.
And then came the holiday season with a record number of packages – an estimated 1.1 billion – placed into the system. That all created a tremendous backlog which is only now starting to ease.
All of us depend on our postal system, and we celebrate the employees who work hard to swiftly complete their appointed rounds. They deliver for us, and keep an eye on our neighborhoods. They are an essential part of our culture and help keep us united.
The postal service performs a critical governmental function and deserves all the attention it is receiving – and more – to help it over its present hump and on to even better service in the future.