USPS still battling perfect storm of mail volume

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The record-shattering number of letters and packages the postal service has been trying to process is only one reason for a delay in mail delivery.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 100 postal workers across the country have died from the coronavirus.

Officials from the Postal Workers Union say, just last week, 18,750 postal workers were under quarantine because they were either diagnosed with COVID-19 or exposed to it.

Nick Casselli, president of the local union chapter, says the Philadelphia-area is no exception.

He says several positive cases are being diagnosed and reported every day.

"When you come to work and your co-worker comes up positive with coronavirus as dangerous as it is, and how harmful it is. It's scary to come to work," Casselli said.

The Postal Service was already dealing with a backlog in November after prioritizing the avalanche of mail-in ballots leading up this year's election.

A result is an untold number of people still waiting for the arrival of their holiday packages nearly a week after Christmas.

That's twice as stressful for small businesses that rely on customer satisfaction.

Tara Lieberher, of Harleysville, Montgomery County, launched a silk pillowcase and scrunchie business just five weeks ago.

"When I should be focusing on getting more orders and getting this out to people. I'm spending all my time on the phone with the post office trying to figure out where everything is," she said.

But Casselli says even though they are under-staffed and over-burdened, postal workers continue working around the clock.

"We are trying to ride this ship but right now, but the perfect storm has really put us behind the 8-ball," she said.

Postal officials say they are gaining ground on delivering the backlog of parcels, but they do not expect to be entirely caught up for a few more weeks.
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