If you live in a southern area of Santa Fe, you might notice your mail arriving even later than before.

Mail carriers have been ordered to start their shifts at 9 a.m. at the Pacheco Street post office, causing some to complain of working into the night and delivering items late to customers.

Carriers previously started work between 6 and 7 a.m., and now with the later start time, many find themselves working until 9 p.m.

That is leading to businesses receiving mailed checks too late to cash that day and other items they required during regular hours, said two carriers who didn’t want to be identified because they feared retaliation.

Because the Pacheco Street post office employs rural carriers, who are on a different contract than city postal workers, they are on a set salary and receive no additional pay for longer, later hours, they said.

Ellen O’Dowd, who knows some affected carriers and receives her mail through the Pacheco Street post office, said this policy change is “a thorn in the side” for everyone involved.

“The late start just kind of pushes everything later for everybody,” O’Dowd said. “It doesn’t make any sense, not for the employees or for the people of Santa Fe.”

A regional U.S. Postal Service spokesman in Denver declined to comment, saying each local office is in charge of its scheduling.

Union officials at the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, which represents Pacheco Street workers, also wouldn’t comment.

One of the unnamed workers said the post office manager imposed the later start time after a carrier demanded to be paid for the time he stood around as parcels were prepared for delivery.

That angered the manager, who imposed the mandatory 9 a.m. start time to prevent carriers from having such wait times, the worker said. But that’s punishing everyone for one worker complaining, he said.

Rural carriers in this office have a set wage, which is supposed to be based on volume, he said. So they’re paid the same, whether it takes them eight hours or 10 hours to deliver their loads, he said.

They also have received no hazardous duty pay during the coronavirus pandemic, as city postal workers do, he said. And each carrier’s volume has increased drastically since the U.S. Postal Service landed a contract to deliver Amazon parcels, the worker said.

He estimates he has gone from delivering 30 parcels a day to 200, with no pay raise for the longer days.

The managers are supposed to increase staffing, but they don’t so they can keep labor costs down, he said.

Ken Fajardo, president of the American Postal Workers Union’s Albuquerque branch, said rural carriers are more like contract workers.

“They are more salaried employees as opposed to an hourly rate, which are the city carriers,” he said.

Fajardo said parcel shipments, especially through Amazon, have increased exponentially during the pandemic, with more people ordering online instead of shopping at stores.

That’s resulted in mail carriers working harder, with longer days, he said.

“It’s like Christmas volume, but for the whole year,” Fajardo said.

O’Dowd said the higher volume of packages and the later start time means rural carriers are working at night in vehicles not equipped for them to work in the dark. And they get nothing for the additional hassle, she said.

“It’s been an eye-opener for me to learn about the post office,” O’Dowd said. “They don’t treat their employees very well.”

(11) comments

pooky bear

Just how slow can it getting? The USPS mail delivery is already slower than a snail. It would just be nice to receive MY mail and not everyone else's--under the best of circumstances the carrier in my area can't seem do his job properly (or doesn't care to) and the USPS can't discipline or terminate employees. Maybe the USPS should be privatized?

Lynn k Allen

The planned slowdown of the US POSTAL Service will affect ALL mail from All Federal agencies, as that is the only way they contact you.

Watch out for delays in mailed in filing Taxes, notices from them, and mailed checks.

Biden has been working on this, but only the overseeing board can vote to fire the current Trump PostMaster General.

David Gordon

They are complaining because they want to be paid to stand around until their mail is sorted. Um. Why do we expect the Postal Service to purposely allow this? You get your mail every day. When it arrives is not a big deal. We don't complain when Amazon or UPS or Fedex delivers.

Henry and Mooshe Taylor

I sympathize and mostly agree with all the other comments. I would add that a quotation from the manager, or a refusal to offer one, is noticeably absent from this story, and I think I understand that. I was told some months ago by a person at a window in the Pacheco (Coronado) branch, when I asked why the phone was never answered, that they have no staff member detailed for that task.

Andrew Lucero

I avoid the Pacheco Street location like the plague... Just walking inside reminds me of the 9 circles of H*ll in Dante's Inferno... In fact, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" should be inscribed above the doors!

DeeDee Downs

Worst run PO in America... sometimes they just don't even close the front of the entire bank of mailboxes (approx 24 boxes), and leave it swinging in the breeze, open to the public park next door... and then our mail gets stolen. We have complained and begged and pleaded for YEARS... but the Pacheco PO just does. not. care. they should receive a black ribbon for being the worst. And now they're abusing their contracted workers because some manager wants to have a sleep-in? Shame on them.

Kim Griego-Kiel

I live in this rural carrier area of the Pacheco post office. I frequently do not receive my mail until after 6pm and as late as 8pm. I feel for the carriers as I recognize this as a problem and have recently heard that they don’t receive overtime pay. Honestly, I expect to hear in a future article that someone has been caught dumping mail in order to get home at a decent hour. It is not only the carriers who will suffer with this problem.

Dan Frazier

You can tell just by looking at the Pacheco Post office that it is poorly managed. This week there have frequently been only two or even one clerk on duty in the lobby, with the line of customers extending far out the door. Meanwhile, a scanning machine provided in the lobby for customers to scan their own packages stopped working. Outside the building, the main sign is stained and rust colored, probably from the same electrical malfunction that prevents the sign from illuminating at night. Half the lights in the parking lot don't light at night. Some of the short pedestrian lights also don't light. Some of the concrete bumpers for cars are cracked all to pieces. The lines in the parking lot are desperately in need of repainting. The air-conditioning has not been turned on and probably won't be turned on for months despite the rising heat. Very poorly managed!

Michael Kiley

Nonsense. The Trump postmaster general is to blame, the President needs to replace the Postal Commission members, to fire and arrest him for obstruction of the mails. Every mail carrier is warned by the local postmaster to finish on time, else they are subject to surveillance by the US Postal Service Inspection Service. Not only does late arrival slow that days delivery, it prevents the collection of mails on the route and return to the station for the six p.m. truck to the main office, slowing that mail for a day. President Biden, take extraordinary steps to fire and arrest the postmaster general. Retired US Postal Service Mail Carrier;

Lynn k Allen

So True. Trump appointed a CEO from a competitive shipper who has done his best to dismantle the US POSTAL system. He dismantled sorting machines, cut hours & overtime and mandated LATER START TIMES FOR MAIL CARRIERS.

Contact your federal representatives.

pooky bear

I didn't even notice short pedestrian lights in that area, but a lot of this sounds a lot like the DOH covid website and when you call, none of the voice prompts work. I wanted a vaccine and registered, but I have since given up...maybe we need less government.

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