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Mail delivery woes continue

"It used to be neither rain nor sleet nor snow will stop the mail, and we hadn't had a problem before this last year," one Cape Elizabeth resident said.

PORTLAND, Maine — Many people across the state have been expressing frustration about the lack of mail they report receiving from U.S. Postal Service. Some Maine residents have said this issue has been going on for six months to a year now, with no sign of it getting any better after the winter holiday season. 

Kathy Johnson from Cape Elizabeth is waiting to receive checks and her husband's heart monitor, which has taken days to weeks to arrive.

"It's the end of the month, and [we received] no mail yesterday. It's just so frustrating. We have bills and checks and medications and a million things," Johnson said.

"It used to be neither rain nor sleet nor snow will stop the mail, and we hadn't had a problem before this last year. Even during the pandemic, it may be we [would] go a day without mail," she added. 

Mark Seitz is a mail carrier for USPS, and he serves as president of The Maine Association of Mail Carriers. Before Christmas, he and other carriers organized a demonstration to call for better working conditions. A month and a half later, and he said not much has changed.

"People typically coming in are working six to seven days a week, probably 65 to 70 hours a week right now," Seitz said.

USPS employees are overworked and underpaid, he added, with the starting wage for a city carrier being $19.34. 

"To have somebody come in and then work them 11-and-a-half hours a day, six to seven days a week, you're not going to keep anyone [employees]," Seitz said. 

"The postal service is engaged on an aggressive hiring campaign with the goal of bringing all of our local stations up to the staffing levels required," Steve Doherty, strategic communications specialist for the USPS, told NEWS CENTER Maine. 

According to Seitz, it can take up about three to four months to onboard new hires to follow national protocol. But by then, he argued, employees often have found jobs elsewhere.  

The USPS is always trying to hire workers, Seitz said, and they hope to be able to bump up their starting wage to get more employees when their national contract is up in four months.  

In the meantime, delays in mail delivery are expected to continue.

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