Mail carriers in East Bay working late into night due to staffing shortage

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Some East Bay communities aren't seeing their mail carriers until after midnight. It's an unprecedented situation affecting parts of Oakland, Concord and Berkeley.

A mail carrier, who asked not to identified, was delivering mail Thursday well after 6 p.m. -- that's the post office's typical delivery deadline. She's stuck in the middle of major Bay Area Postal Service problems caused by staffing shortages, increased online shopping deliveries, and high cost of living demands.

"It's pretty bad some days. Some days I work up to 15 hours a day," she said. "They just give you a head light and tell you to go out there."

Gus Ruiz is the postal spokesperson and he said it's not a good scenario for the customer or employees. "We're dealing with it, and we'll solve it very soon," Ruiz said.

In Oakland's Millsmont neighborhood, mail is on the street, and sometimes it makes it to the right mail box.

"Yesterday, I got five different people's mail from five different areas," said Oakland resident Tina Cavallero.

And in a South Berkeley community, a mailman working in the dark left one resident feeling unsettled.

"Is the mail carrier working long hours? Is the mail carrier feeling safe being out so late? So those are the major questions and it's election season, so are things coming on time," said Holly Fincke, a Berkeley resident.

The Post Office plans to hire 300 more carriers soon. Reps insist delivery issues should be resolved by Thanksgiving.
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