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KING 5: US representatives call on Postal Service to fix 'mail failures' in western Washington

Conner Board, KING 5 News

U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene sent a letter to the head of the United States Postal Service saying efforts to increase staffing are insufficient.

Recently, people in many areas of western Washington have had issues with the United States Postal Service.

Those issues include long lines and mail delays in many counties such as Whatcom, King, and Snohomish. Now, state leaders are getting involved.

This week U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene sent a letter to the head of the United States Postal Service (USPS) calling on it to address what they are calling “mail failures.” This comes as the postal service is trying to hire on more staff.

USPS held a job fair Friday in Tacoma.

“We’ve been aggressively hiring since last year, even before peak season of last year,” said Kim Frum, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service.

Frum said their goal is to hire 1,000 people in Washington in the next few months. They are especially looking to hire mail carriers, clerks, mail handlers.

“Staffing is a very large part of what we do,” said Frum. “You need a physical carrier in your neighborhood to deliver the mail.”

In the letter to Postmaster General Louis Dejoy from U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene, they said the postal service’s hiring efforts are insufficient as mail delays continue. In the letter they say people in their districts have experienced "significant daily mail delivery delays and complete lack of service" in some areas. They added that in mid-December they were told packages were being prioritized over letter mail which they say caused people to report "missed paychecks, medication, court notices, and other important items."

Frum said that due to some areas being more understaffed than others, they have been trying to get creative to fill needs.

“When we do not have enough staff available in one location, what we are doing is we are actually borrowing employees from other nearby locations to help get the mail delivered because timely, consistent delivery is what we do and we want to make sure we do that for our customers,” Frum said.

She said they will continue to hire aggressively until they are fully staffed.

“We understand the frustrations and we appreciate the patience and the understanding for all of our communities.”

USPS will hold more hiring event in the area and is also accepting applications online.

Click here to read the full article on KING 5 News.