After months of severe staffing shortages of postal workers on Vashon, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, in Vashon Library’s meeting room.
The fair is intended to help fill numerous open positions on Vashon, as well as in other areas in Washington — part of USPS hiring drive that has a goal to hire 1,000 new employees across the state over the course of the next few months, according to USPS spokesperson Kim Frum, who is based in Federal Way.
The need is especially urgent for mail handlers, clerks, and mail carriers, said Frum, who urged those seeking both part-time and full-time employment to attend.
At the fair, she said, Postal Service Human Resources employees will be available to help attendees with benefits, qualifications, and application questions. Laptops will be available on the day of the event for immediate application submission.
A press release for the event provided further detail, stating that applicants must be 18 years of age and be able to pass drug screening and a criminal background investigation. Applicants must be available to work weekends and holidays, the release said.
Currently, the job site of USPS, usps.com/careers, lists openings on Vashon for rural carriers associates (RCA) positions, 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. To see the specific USPS listing for RCA Vashon, visit tinyurl.com/cn7zunbm.
Thin staffing on Vashon continues
On Vashon, the need for mail carriers is particularly great. A source with direct knowledge of current staffing at the Vashon Post Office told The Beachcomber, last week, 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 also 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, typically arrive for delivery each day on Vashon.
Throughout December and continuing into January, islanders have formed long lines at the Vashon Post Office, with many attempting to retrieve packages after they received alerts informing them of the packages’ arrival on Vashon.
The hiring fair this week on Vashon, said Frum, is an attempt to solve the ongoing staffing shortage on Vashon, while also providing islanders with the chance to apply for what she described as stable jobs, with competitive wages and benefits, and career advancement opportunities.
Community Council takes on issue
Vashon-Maury Island Community Council (V-MCC), has, at its last two widely-attended meetings, listened to islanders’ complaints about postal delivery and compiled a list of recommendations to help smooth mail delivery on Vashon. The list is published at tinyurl.com/y3ktuzjb.
At its Jan. 19 meeting, Palmira Figueroa, Deputy District Director for Rep. Pramila Jayapal, was also in attendance.
After hearing from attendees with concerns about USPS district management of the Vashon post office, Figueroa said that Jayapal’s staff could tour the facility and talk with management and that she would propose that idea to Rep. Jayapal, as well as inform her about what she had learned at the meeting.