Last week, a steady stream of would-be postal workers attended a hiring fair, presented by the United States Postal Service (USPS) at Vashon Library, according to Steve McMullen, who works in the agency’s workplace planning department and helped run the fair.
The fair was a full-day event, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, in the library’s meeting room. McMullen, along with two other USPS employees staffed the fair. These included Veronica Rodgriguez, who works with Brian Zinser, the district manager in charge of the Vashon post office.
The trio greeted attendees and helped walk them through the application process for entry-level jobs at the post office.
In a mid-day interview, McMullen said that three or four applicants had been waiting when the doors to the fair opened — and that there had not been a time in the day since when at least one interested job-seeker had not been in the room.
All of the attendees, he said, had been interested in working on Vashon, though the job fair also provided information about other available positions throughout the state of Washington.
Acknowledging USPS staffing woes on Vashon, McMullen said that he was hopeful that all available positions on the island would be filled as a result of the day’s hiring fair, but if not, USPS was “committed to coming back until we get all those spots filled.”
One applicant, Aaron Brockschmidt, spoke to The Beachcomber, saying that he had first moved to the island in 2020. After attending college for one year during the pandemic, he had taken some time off to figure out what he wanted to do next and had just moved back to Vashon last week.
When asked why he was interested in working for the post office, Brockschmidt clarified that he was interested in working, period.
“There are not a lot of jobs here,” he said.
The hiring fair was announced in the aftermath of severe staffing shortages at Vashon’s post office in recent months, culminating in significant delays in the delivery of mail throughout December and into January.
A source with direct knowledge of current staffing at the Vashon Post Office recently told The Beachcomber that there are currently three regular postal carriers in place on Vashon, to fill eight regular routes and one auxiliary route. The rest of the routes are now being delivered by temporary workers, who commute to Vashon from the mainland.
Vashon’s postal problems have been exacerbated by a volume of package delivery that is higher than in many similarly-sized communities, said David Rupert, who is in charge of USPS communications for the western United States.
In mid-December, Rupert told The Beachcomber that approximately 2,500 packages, from Amazon and other shippers, arrive for delivery each day, while other knowledgeable sources on Vashon reported that the number of packages was even higher, on some days.
The hiring fair on Vashon, said Kim Frum, another USPS spokesperson, was an attempt to solve the ongoing shortage of workers, while also providing islanders with the chance to apply for what she described as stable, with competitive wages and benefits, and career advancement opportunities.
Currently, the job site of USPS, usps.com/careers, lists openings on Vashon for rural carriers associates (RCA), described as “a non-career position that may lead to a career position.”
The salary listed for the job is $19.94 per hour paid bi-weekly, with the opportunity to immediately enroll in the USPS Health Benefits Plan with a Postal Service premium contribution. After a year on the job, RCAs may become eligible for most expanded health care benefits.
See the specific USPS listing for RCA positions on Vashon online.