USPS OIG: Uniformity on Uniforms?

July 10, 2017

Americans love a man, or woman, in uniform. Even in the postal world. In fact, many folks would like all postal workers to have uniforms.

Five years ago we ran a blog on rural letter carriers and whether they should wear a uniform, or at least a uniformed shirt – they currently aren’t required. Given that rural routes are increasingly suburban and rural carriers more visible to the public and rural letter carriers serve as something of a post office on wheels, it seemed a logical question to ask.

The overwhelming majority of responses to that blog were in favor of uniforms for rural carriers. And we got a lot of responses: 108 and counting, with comments continuing to roll in half a decade later.

Uniforms were in the news again with a recent agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which approved a uniform allowance for career clerk employees who are assigned to a post office that is open only part-time (the so-called POStPlan offices). Prior to the agreement, they did not get uniform allowances. As one APWU official noted, “A postal uniform provides respect to the institution, respect to the customer, and respect to the postal worker performing work on behalf of the Postal Service.”

With the Postal Service employing so many temporary workers, this question of a uniform approach to uniforms isn’t going away. USPS uses non-career workers, as these temporary workers are called, throughout its operations ― 130,000 in fiscal year 2016, according to our audit on the topic. Some of these positions get a uniform allowance after a certain amount of time on the job; others do not. Of course, some positions have no contact with the general public, such as the postal support personnel that process mail in plants, making a uniform less necessary perhaps.

Where do you stand on the great uniform debate? Do you think all postal workers, whether city or rural, part-time or full-time, should wear a uniform, or at least a uniformed shirt? Or only those workers visible to the public? Is the idea of a uniform old-fashioned or a way to give employees a stronger tie to the Postal Service mission and brand?


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Kasandra Yzaguirre

Nesha Wilder

David Andrew

They should be provided to everyone the public sees. Couldn’t tell you how many times people don’t believe me that I am a mail carrier even with my ID hanging around my neck

Shani Kin

Are you going to pay for them? I’m not and all of my customers know they’re on a rural rt. They understand the concept that area used to be pasture or farm ground

Sheila Waldrip

They aren’t provided for no one. If you want to purchase one I’m sure you could do that. But I like my own choice of attire in this miserable summer heat.

David Andrew

??‍♂️ Lol. Old school thinking like this is what is dragging the post office down! I also said provided so not sure where the confusion lies with y’all.

Employees may have to place an order but they aren’t paying out of pocket. They have an allowance provided by the USPS to purchase their uniforms..

Tiffany London

Actually, I read in a different state a city carrier filed a grievance (and won) on a rural carrier wearing their uniform. We should be provided an allowance just as city carriers are. We should all be in uniform. It’s professional.

Kathy Lee

No, if I’m in my own car, I’m in my own clothes!

Shani Kin

Absolutely! They can provide me with a 4wd postal vehicle too if I have to wear a uniform

Carol Cummings

This job gets more ridiculous every day…do these people just sit in their air conditioned office and think of ways to screw us over. I do not have time or want to buy/wear a city carrier uniform. I drive your piece of shit vechile so my customers already know who is in their driveway!

Tony Duke

just find another job if you don’t like it

Carol Cummings

Just keep you employment advise to yourself Tony Duke as the question was asked about uniforms not if I need another job or not!

Tina Marie Greiner

No, shit
But they don’t have any $$
Put it towards new trucks!!

Jesse Koleszar

I’d prefer not

Mark Taylor

Anything to fight against the whole “rural carriers aren’t real carriers” problem is fine with me.

Shani Kin

What do you mean rural carriers aren’t real carriers?

Mark Taylor

Shani Kin it’s something you overhear city carriers say occasionally when you work in an office with both. And considering the pay and benefits they receive, I think the higher ups think the same.

Dave Di Maggio

Never had a problem in my office,hell they’ve tried to recruit me to join the dark side.

William Mcintyre

I make more than my wife (a city carrier)

Shani Kin

They didn’t ask this rural carrier. Hell no! I bet everyone that responded to their “blog” was city, clerk or mgmt. the only way I will wear one is if I’m given a uniform allowance. Why do you think we have RURAL CARRIER MAGNETS on our vehicles? It identifies us

Nena Bowers

Yes! Magnets that we pay for! The uniforms do not look comfortable, and they don’t give the city carriers enough of a clothing allowance to keep them looking professional.

Marla Mayhar

I would rather have an air conditioner in the llv or be paid for all the Amazon that came in 2 weeks after mail count than given a uniform allowance. Or be forced to wear one.

Lynn Hansen

I vote no. I think a better idea would be to clean and repaint the LLV’s.

William Mcintyre

Or issue fire extinguishers

Christine Mather- Hinkle


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