Lack of adequate staffing at the Savoy, Ill. post office has resulted in shorter and sporadic business hours for customers in recent months.
At times, hand written notices posted on the post office doors is the only warning customers have that the post office is closed or will open later.
With only seven workers at the Savoy USPS location, workers are sometimes required to work long shifts such as up to 70 hours per week, said an employee, who wished to remain anonymous.
“We’re doing about as much as we have available to us. I mean, we have signs up,” the Savoy worker said. “I know, they’re sending out direct mailers to every door here soon to try and raise awareness.”
One reason behind this is the lack of individuals wanting to work for the United States Postal Service (USPS), said the employee at Savoy, just south of Champaign.
The employee said staff shortages have been a problem even before the pandemic, and that this is an ongoing issue nationwide and not exclusively in Savoy. A recent article in The Spokesman-Review, based in Spokane, Wash., said increased mail carrier shift times and an “unfair pay system” contributed to staff turnover and shortages in addition to COVID-related issues.
In Springfield, Ill., the post office released a statement on April 1, 2022 apologizing for recent delays.
“We have experienced staff shortages at locations and are currently using available resources to match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” the statement said.
A spokesperson for USPS declined to be interviewed but forwarded a statement about hiring more employees.
“We are rightsizing our workforce to improve service performance and predictability. In 2021 we hired more than 185,000 employees – including converting 63,000 pre-career positions to career employees,” said Dave Partenheimer, director of public relations of USPS.
Yet , a current local employee said the lack of people applying is impacting productivity.
“It’s a lack of people applying for jobs. Lack of us getting them through the door,” the employee said. “I mean, obviously, we can’t do everything that we used to be able to service our clients.”