WASHINGTON (CN) – In post offices across the country, most city letter carriers have for decades spent the beginning of their shifts sorting mail and then the remainder of their shifts going out on specific routes for delivery.
The U.S. Postal Service changed that dynamic this past May, however, prompting a union for these workers to bring a federal complaint Thursday in Washington.
Pointing to the launch of these changes in May at a post office in Annandale, Virginia, the National Association of Letter Carriers says workers who were used as “involuntary guinea pigs” experienced extreme exhaustion, physical pain and mental stress.
The initiative has been dubbed the Consolidated Casing Initiative, and the union says it splits the carriers’ job in two, with some workers arriving early in the morning to sort mail for multiple delivery routes, and others spending their entire shift making deliveries, leaving them on their feet for longer periods of time.
Phase II brought the initiative to seven additional post offices in July, and the union says that number will grow by 58 in Phase III
The complaint states the radical changes to workers’ job description are prohibited by the workers’ union contract.