Union members protest over United States Postal Service work conditions

U.S. Postal Service workers across the country protested on Friday, demanding better working conditions. That includes one protest in Waterloo.
Published: Apr. 29, 2023 at 9:53 AM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - American Postal Workers Union Members stood on the corner of Fourth and Commercial Streets to alert the community.

Kimberly Karol, president of APWU Iowa, said they are understaffed and have more deliveries to more locations. The union wants to see change, including how rural postal workers are treated.

“I think it’s really important that, especially in states like Iowa where we have a great deal of rural communities, that the public understands that we are not second-class citizens,” Karol said.

Members said they don’t have enough workers and have more packages to deliver than ever before, and that the community doesn’t know what’s happening with USPS.

“The toxic environment has got to stop. We do not think that the [Postmaster General] is paying enough attention to what really needs to happen for us to give the right service, the best service, prompt service hasn’t happened in a while,” Debby Szeredy, executive vice president of APWU, said.

Although finances improved after the Postal Service Reform Act became law in 2022, the union said they’re still seeing problems. They say there are new hires, but they don’t stay.

“I can tell you from 30 years of experience, the employees are here ready to provide the service. We just need to get the support from the USPS and get the right people in the right training to do so,” Karol said.

Members of the union said they did have a meeting with the Iowa Legislature. Karol said the legislature told them that they are committed to maintaining services so that they’re protecting small communities in Iowa.

In a statement, USPS Communications Specialist Mark Inglett, said “the Postal Service certainly respects the right of our employees to participate in off-the-clock informational picketing on issues of concern to their membership.”

“The position being presented here by the leadership of the APWU is absent of anything based in reality. The facts are… that over the past two years, we have worked diligently with our union and management associations to address our shared goals of employee recruitment and retention, workplace safety, and career training and advancement. We have focused steadily on stabilizing our workforce resulting in employee availability and overtime requirements being at the most favorable levels in many years. We have converted 125,000 pre-career workers to full-time career employees since October 2020, including 50,000 conversions between April 2022 and March 2023. We have already reversed years of declining service reliability and now 98 percent of the nation’s population receives their mail and packages in less than three days, and we are working hard to correct service-related issues in the other limited areas,” said Inglett.

By developing the high-performing operation envisioned by our Delivering for America 10-year plan, we will create the safest and healthiest environment possible for our employees. For additional details on our progress, please see our Delivering for America Second-Year Progress Report released this week,” Inglett added.