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Confessions of a U.S. Postal Worker: “We deliver Amazon packages until we drop dead.”

How the Post Office’s deal with Amazon has made life hell for mail carriers

(missing author)

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by Brendan O'Connor

? (2018, October 31). Confessions of a U.S. Postal Worker: “We deliver Amazon packages until we drop dead.”. Medium. https://medium.com/s/powertrip/confessions-of-a-u-s-postal-worker-we-deliver-amazon-packages-until-we-drop-dead-a6e96f125126

Something I’ve been thinking about is just like, if the U.S. government gave the Postal Service 0.0001 percent of the military budget we wouldn’t have to depend on Amazon. If we even had like a dime of federal funding, we wouldn’t be breaking our backs all the time. We could take a step back and reorganize the whole way the Postal Service works in a better and more humane way.

The workers themselves are so tired and beaten down that they haven’t been organizing to push for something like that. It’s a constructed funding shortage that Amazon has exploited for its own purposes. This instituted austerity regarding the Postal Service was the perfect opportunity for Amazon to come in and transform what was at least a mildly public institution into a fully private one.

missing author 1 year ago

Something I’ve been thinking about is just like, if the U.S. government gave the Postal Service 0.0001 percent of the military budget we wouldn’t have to depend on Amazon. If we even had like a dime of federal funding, we wouldn’t be breaking our backs all the time. We could take a step back and reorganize the whole way the Postal Service works in a better and more humane way.

The workers themselves are so tired and beaten down that they haven’t been organizing to push for something like that. It’s a constructed funding shortage that Amazon has exploited for its own purposes. This instituted austerity regarding the Postal Service was the perfect opportunity for Amazon to come in and transform what was at least a mildly public institution into a fully private one.

missing author 1 year ago

We have a lot of instances of heat stroke. Every morning, when it’s gonna be hot, the postmaster walks around, reads his little spiel like, “Stay hydrated. If you need to take a break, take a break in shade. Safety’s your responsibility.” But when they yell at you to your face about being faster and faster every single day—when the fuck are you supposed to take a break? So it’s like, “Do you want me to be fast, or do you want me to not get heat stroke?” They just tell you these things so that the blame isn’t on them. No matter what, it’s your fault. You’re either slow, or you’re dead. It’s very dystopian. It’s kind of a nightmare right now.

missing author 1 year ago

We have a lot of instances of heat stroke. Every morning, when it’s gonna be hot, the postmaster walks around, reads his little spiel like, “Stay hydrated. If you need to take a break, take a break in shade. Safety’s your responsibility.” But when they yell at you to your face about being faster and faster every single day—when the fuck are you supposed to take a break? So it’s like, “Do you want me to be fast, or do you want me to not get heat stroke?” They just tell you these things so that the blame isn’t on them. No matter what, it’s your fault. You’re either slow, or you’re dead. It’s very dystopian. It’s kind of a nightmare right now.

missing author 1 year ago

They [the USPS] do a computer-generated route every Sunday, so you show up, and depending on who has ordered packages, they hand you a paper sheet of turn-by-turn directions of what the computer has generated as the most efficient route. It’s wildly inaccurate most of the time. I generally know some of these towns now, so I look at these directions, and I’m like “Well, that’s not even remotely the most efficient path.” But you just have to use it because you can get in trouble if you go off route.

quoting the anonymous USPS worker.

classic case of there being no feedback loop, leading from the actual frontline workers to the software engineers. it's funny that this is something i sought to tackle with MM and actually managed to (ofc, we never really scaled, plus i wasn't exactly solving a pressing problem)

missing author 1 year ago

They [the USPS] do a computer-generated route every Sunday, so you show up, and depending on who has ordered packages, they hand you a paper sheet of turn-by-turn directions of what the computer has generated as the most efficient route. It’s wildly inaccurate most of the time. I generally know some of these towns now, so I look at these directions, and I’m like “Well, that’s not even remotely the most efficient path.” But you just have to use it because you can get in trouble if you go off route.

quoting the anonymous USPS worker.

classic case of there being no feedback loop, leading from the actual frontline workers to the software engineers. it's funny that this is something i sought to tackle with MM and actually managed to (ofc, we never really scaled, plus i wasn't exactly solving a pressing problem)

missing author 1 year ago

Amazon declined to comment for this story, but the USPS issued the following statement: “Dedicated Postal Service employees across the country are committed to delivering for the American public and have fostered the recent package growth through exceptional performance. Growth in our package business partially off-set the significant decline in mail and is essential to help stabilize the finances of the Postal Service and pay for our infrastructure that enables us to fulfill our universal service obligation. Like any prudent business, we do not publicly discuss specifics of our business relationships.”

this is a FASCINATING statement that deserves unpacking. businesses exist in a fog of opacity which we just accept, even if the decisions they make impact us all. but the lack of democratic control over their decisions feels normal, even IF what they're doing should really be a public service (and has been in the past!!)

missing author 1 year ago

Amazon declined to comment for this story, but the USPS issued the following statement: “Dedicated Postal Service employees across the country are committed to delivering for the American public and have fostered the recent package growth through exceptional performance. Growth in our package business partially off-set the significant decline in mail and is essential to help stabilize the finances of the Postal Service and pay for our infrastructure that enables us to fulfill our universal service obligation. Like any prudent business, we do not publicly discuss specifics of our business relationships.”

this is a FASCINATING statement that deserves unpacking. businesses exist in a fog of opacity which we just accept, even if the decisions they make impact us all. but the lack of democratic control over their decisions feels normal, even IF what they're doing should really be a public service (and has been in the past!!)

missing author 1 year ago