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Postal Service workers to protest in Twin Cities as a part of nationwide union effort

Postal workers will protest outside of the Eagan post office Saturday to call attention to staffing shortages and what they call "hostile" conditions.

EAGAN, Minn. — Twin Cities postal workers have organized a protest Saturday morning outside of the Eagan post office at 10 a.m., as a part of a two-day, nationwide union demonstration alleging understaffing and poor working conditions.

To commemorate "Workers' Memorial Day," the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) kicked off events on Friday in cities like San Antonio, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. 

Peggy Whitney, the president of the Minneapolis AWPU branch, said she plans to attend the Eagan protest on Saturday.

"Here in the Twin Cities, there have been many news stories about no mail, or delayed mail, and it's directly as a result of staffing — or lack thereof," Whitney said. "Unfortunately, there's a secondary issue, that is, a toxic work environment."

According to a USPS Inspector General audit often cited by the union, the turnover rate for temporary employees jumped to 59 percent in 2022, an increase of nearly 20 points compared to 2019. 

"We believe that the first thing that needs to happen is a change in the work environment," Whitney said. "Recognize that lack of staffing results in poor service. Don't create a negative atmosphere for the employees you do have."

On a national level, the Postal Service has not issued a direct response to the union about this weekend's demonstrations. 

However, USPS issued a press release this week with new delivery statistics from April, "showing consistent or improved delivery performance across all mail categories." According to the USPS, "the average time for the Postal Service to deliver a mailpiece or package across the nation remained at just 2.5 days," and "98% of the nation's population receives their mail and packages in less than three days."

Desai Abdul-Razzaaq, a spokesperson for the USPS in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, declined an interview request but issued the following statement to KARE 11: 

"The position being presented here by the leadership of the APWU is absent of anything based in reality.  The facts are… that over the past two years, we have worked diligently with our union and management associations to address our shared goals of employee recruitment and retention, workplace safety, and career training and advancement.  We have focused steadily on stabilizing our workforce resulting in employee availability and overtime requirements being at the most favorable levels in many years. We have converted 125,000 pre-career workers to full-time career employees since October 2020, including 50,000 conversions between April 2022 and March 2023.  We have already reversed years of declining service reliability and now 98 percent of the nation’s population receives their mail and packages in less than three days, and we are working hard to correct service-related issues in the other limited areas.

By developing the high-performing operation envisioned by our Delivering for America 10-year plan, we will create the safest and healthiest environment possible for our employees. For additional details on our progress, please see our Delivering for America Second-Year Progress Report released this week."


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