Local postal workers union says employees are hustling while dealing with staffing shortages

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team uncovered new pictures of your mail piled up and waiting to be delivered.

Now, the local postal workers union is speaking about what has led to massive backlogs and when the problem may be fixed.

At the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport postal complex, you can see a lot of mail waiting to go out. We saw that after we had already revealed mountains of mail backlogged and sitting in large bins at the downtown Cleveland post office.

The U.S. Postal Service has blamed workers sick from COVID-19, plus a spike in the amount of mail because of the outbreak.

But, we asked the local postal workers union how much of the problem can be blamed on COVID-19? And how much can be blamed on the postal service not thinking ahead?

“The pandemic, I want to put largely to blame, the COVID,” said Daleo Freeman, president of Local 72 of the American Postal Workers Union.

Freeman told us some departments have a third of employees out. Workers are out sick themselves or because someone in the family is sick.

But, the union also said, leading up to now, the postal service didn’t get enough money from the government.

“We do have chronic staffing issues, which can be addressed. But it takes time to train people. And, you can’t just pick up people and throw them in there,” Freeman said.

This week, we went to see the local postmaster. No one in management came out.

Meantime, your holiday mail is missing and we’ve shown you businesses having trouble shipping. So, what are the chances you’ll start seeing more mail show up at your home? Or, where you work? Or, wherever you’re sending something? Any hope at all?

The postal workers union said expect progress.

“We got some heroes down there, Ed. They’re working very hard,” Freeman said.

He won’t promise postal workers will completely catch up before Christmas. No way. But, he said more people have been hired and everyone is hustling.

“They’re busting their butts. On average, six to seven days a week. Ten to 12 hours a day

Still, looking at the piles of mail downtown and at the airport, it may take many, many long days to get it all to your mailboxes.

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