Americans love a man, or woman, in uniform.  Even in the postal world. In fact, many folks would like all postal workers to have uniforms.

Five years ago we ran a blog on rural letter carriers and whether they should wear a uniform, or at least a uniformed shirt – they currently aren’t required. Given that rural routes are increasingly suburban and rural carriers more visible to the public and rural letter carriers serve as something of a post office on wheels, it seemed a logical question to ask.

The overwhelming majority of responses to that blog were in favor of uniforms for rural carriers. And we got a lot of responses: 108 and counting, with comments continuing to roll in half a decade later.

Uniforms were in the news again with a recent agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which approved a uniform allowance for career clerk employees who are assigned to a post office that is open only part-time (the so-called POStPlan offices). Prior to the agreement, they did not get uniform allowances. As one APWU official noted, “A postal uniform provides respect to the institution, respect to the customer, and respect to the postal worker performing work on behalf of the Postal Service.”

With the Postal Service employing so many temporary workers, this question of a uniform approach to uniforms isn’t going away. USPS uses non-career workers, as these temporary workers are called, throughout its operations ― 130,000 in fiscal year 2016, according to our audit on the topic. Some of these positions get a uniform allowance after a certain amount of time on the job; others do not. Of course, some positions have no contact with the general public, such as the postal support personnel that process mail in plants, making a uniform less necessary perhaps.

Where do you stand on the great uniform debate? Do you think all postal workers, whether city or rural, part-time or full-time, should wear a uniform, or at least a uniformed shirt? Or only those workers visible to the public? Is the idea of a uniform old-fashioned or a way to give employees a stronger tie to the Postal Service mission and brand? 

Comments (96)

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  • anon

    I totally agree, I'm also a rural carrier and it's so hot in those LLV's I definitely need my loose clothing. If we had to wear the uniforms the city carriers wear could you imagine how hot we would be.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    I do not want uniforms in rural craft. They are extremely uncomfortable & very hot. I am in a LLV all day not in & out, it's much hotter inside the truck. I need my loose clothing.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I am a rural carrier and I strongly believe we should be able to wear uniforms, I get scared some days going ringing people bell for certified or express that need a signature. I have read many article about postal workers getting stab and everything else done to them, I purchased many t-shirts with the postal logo on them so the customers now I work for the Post Office. I use to wear city carriers shirts just to have something on to represent the job that I am working for I don't see what the problem is with the Rural Carriers wearing uniforms, don't we all work for the same company or you all just don't care about our safety. I just wish one day we will be able to wear the postal uniform with proud. Please consider us!!!!!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    With walk up crime being what it is if we go to deliver anything it should be by a uniformed employee. Also all deliveries should be made in a post office vehicles

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    It should be one policy for all workers who represent the post office. More importantly, the nature of the uniform needs to change drastically to suit the climate. It is entirely indecent to expect workers to wear double layer polyester uniforms in the heat, especially when driving those non air-conditioned trucks all day. The heat we endure is unbearable during the summer months and for those working in the south, the summer lasts a good six months.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Yes I believe all employees should wear uniforms to look more professional. Rural carriers at least a shirt, some carriers look like slobs when they deliver the mail. We should be representing the USPS!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    As a female,rural carrier in mid-michigan, I would love it if we all wore uniforms. While I love being able to wear what I want, when I am not on my normal route, or running express, I think the uniform would help customers feel more at ease with this unfamiliar person at the door, especially when I am in my own vehicle. It would also make me feel safer by being recognizable as a postal worker, not just some strange lady in a big, red, truck.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all carriers should have a uniform shirt. It looks more professional. My customers are concerned when the see a cca not in uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Me being a military veteran, I think uniforms for all would bring back some of the pride that seems to be diminishing. I my self would be proud to wear the postal uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    no, for rural carriers, we wear clean clothes, some wear postal shirts we get on several postal web sites, we wear badges and thats enough. i dont wear shorts, or tank tops, or tennis shoes or sandals, i wear non slip boots and postal logo tee shirts and long pants.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Yes...I believe that any employee that is seen by the public should be in uniform. Represent the company and the brand! I am a postal employee that wears a uniform and PROUDLY. As I was always told...our competitors wear their uniforms...why shouldn't we?

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Me being a military veteran, I think uniforms for all would bring back some of the pride that seems to be diminishing. I my self would be proud to wear the postal uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all postal carries should at least wear a uniform top . It helps the public to know that you represent the Postal Service.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all postal carries should at least wear a uniform top . It helps the public to know that you represent the Postal Service.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all carriers should have a uniform shirt. It looks more professional. My customers are concerned when the see a cca not in uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I myself am a rural carrier and most of my tee shirts I wear do have postal worker or rural carrier on them I like for my customers to recognize me as an employee of the usps so I think maybe a teeshirt type with usps rural carrier would be great

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    As a retired city carrier for over 32 years and as silly as this may sound... but the customer's themselves are more comfortable with a delivery person in a uniform. I can't tell you how many times after I came back from a week of vacation, how many of my customer's would comment on not knowing who it was walking up to their house, because the person wasn't wearing a uniform or any other visible means of identifying themselves as a carrier for the USPS. Even just a shirt with a USPS patch would help.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    From Robert M Cohen, U.S.P.I. S. Retired Victim/Witness Coordinator, New York Division. I can honestly say that the appearance of Rural Carriers, as well as letter carriers who are required to wear approved uniforms while on duty has sunk to an embarrassing low. When I worked in New York many carriers wore whatever they wanted , including non approved items. Station managers and supervisors often did little about it because they were " Hapoy to have the bodies". I have lived in Wimauma, Florida since retiring in 2007. During this period I was employed by the O.I.G. as a Workers Compensation Fraud Analyst. I have seen rural carriers as well as letter carriers wearing items of clothing that are actually beachwear.Some wear shorts, tank tops, sandals, etc. Even in Brandon and Tampa uniform supplied letter carriers often wear uniform shirts without uniform pants. Another item in question are the vehicles rural carriers drive. Almost none in my area have marking that identify them as U.S. Postal Service related.Many are not clean. People have asked me how do you know the difference between a postal employee or a thief stopping at the box and I am unable to say anything other than " You cannot". I vote for uniforms, complete and neat as well as marked vehicles. If UPS and FedEx supply uniforms to their part timers and temporary workers we need to do the same otherwise we will continue to look like a second rate-under managed delivery service. Thank you, Robert Cohen

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Agreed! If you are going to work for the Post Office wear a uniform. This is the same rationale for any workplace dress code.

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    my customers know who i am no matter what. i dont need a postal monkey suit to say who i am.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Before usps I worked for places which rented uniforms. Employees got uniforms with their name in them. One day a week tge company pickexvthe dirty ones up for cleaning, and left the ones which had been cleaned. Upon separation employees had to turn them in. Might be more cost effective fir large facilities than buying them for employees who might not stay.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    My mother was a career Part-Time Flex (for 20 years) and she NEVER got a uniform and would've liked to have had one. She had to buy her own clothing of white shirts/blouses & blue pants to wear during work hours. If she had been allowed the uniform allowance she wouldn't have had to spend so much on "uniforms" to wear to work. At a minimum all Postal Employees unless working the counter in the Post Office should be required have a uniform shirt. The uniforms for the temporary employees should be issued & returned daily with an indication that this is a temporary employee.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Personally, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to professional symbolism and as far as a ‘Uniform Allowance’ by all means. If you don’t take care of your employees than who will?!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think Rural Carriers should at least have USPS Shirts

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    USPS LETTER CARRIER Is not expensive to have put on a T-SHIRT! All carriers REGARDLESS of where they live...should have AT THE VERY LEAST a t-shirt that identifies them. If they are seasonal...same applies. When they're done, turn the shirt in.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    Did you know that most HCR contracts require the HCR Rural route carrier to wear a dark blue shirt and dark slacks, yet this is not enforced? As stated on the Statement of Work, on most contracts, the Supplier is supposed to purchase 5 shirts for each driver. The issue is this is not enforced by the Administrative Office sadly to say.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    We have had carriers without uniforms (both CCAS and rural) mistaken for someone stealing trucks or mail. In one case police were called, guns drawn and handcuffs used. For safety's sake I say everyone should have a uniform. It's also more professional and identifies us.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I COMPLETELY agree. During the holidays a "temp" employee was delivering our mail. All I saw was some strange man on my porch dressed in regular clothes. He had NO identification (visible). I was NOT opening my door to ask him who he was...

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    I am an RCA and have been with the postal service for 3 years and counting. In my opinion, rural carriers and RCAs should at least be given some shirts with the postal logo on them . I spend a lot of money buying them so I look professional for work. I don't necessarily agree on the full uniform, but we should be given an allowance to get shirts, preferably ones that will keep us cool during summer months.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I agree with having them wear a uniform, both full & part time, as it shows respect & getting uniform compensation for it can be an incentive for more hires too. Rural carriers can make good money for a job for providing good service to the public, and seeing your rural carrier in a uniform gains more public trust and respect. Why not a uniform when you get paid for it? What's wrong with wearing a uniform for servicing the public trust, just my opinion.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    People don't recognize us as a postal employees because we don't wear a uniform, once we approach them and they can see our ID badge and in some places our LLV then they change their mind. I think we should wear a uniform. It's a matter of perception, customer service and professional image. We should be more competitive, the "brown team" and the "white team" are using it in a daily basis. it doesn't matter if you're substitute carrier or regular.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    No, but some kind of identification showing who they are and maybe some kind ID.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Why would you not be carrying around your postal id?

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    In my opinion, all postal carriers who work with public should wear uniforms to show their work and pride, so people can know that they are postal carriers, not intruders. Postal workers who work in jobs that has no contact with general public should be not required to be in uniform, just badge. Postal carriers should wear uniforms, just like British schoolchildren.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think a postal uniform should be worn by all delivery personnel. It gives a more professional appearance. I think it gives the public a more confident feeling about the carrier. The public also will know the carriers are actual postal workers and not someone trying to steal their mail or parcels.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I had an off duty policeman come to his door with his gun when i attempted a certified! His reasoning behind bringing a loaded handgun to his door was that he feared for his safety! As a rural carrier i fear for my safety and the safety of my fellow carriers daily! Too many accidents happen all too quickly! An uniform would alleviate the worry for our safety when going to customers doors especially during the winter months when we're out past dark!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Uniforms are important for the safety of the carrier and the customer. Since the carrier is going to be near the customer's home, he/she will be identifiable,thus having a reason to be there. Some, not all, will push the limits of a dress code (especially in summer), or have unusual propensity for slogan shirts that will not express what the Post Office in general, stands for :-) Why not have a uniform?

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    No uniforms for Rural carriers & RCA's. RCA's come and go frequently and uniforms for them is an expense not necessary. Regular rural carriers, as a rule have minimal contact with their customers, and don't want or need uniforms. Better idea for spending money...put A/C in the vehicles used in hot climates and make them safe enough to drive!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I agree with you on this i been rural carrier for 35 wearing my own clothes if we had to wear a uniform i assure you the in the winter when i got to wear layers i wont have that thin uniform on

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Cca's in out offfice go up to a year without uniforms. Either cause management won't give them the vouchers to purchase them or Cca's don't know how to use it when management finally issues them a voucher. I think it's unsafe and very unprofessional. We never see a new ups or FedEx driver with street cloths delivering! Why should we, we are government and should be putting an example! But mostly for safely reasons should they be using uniforms!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Well i m a rural carrier and i have to buy tshirts with the postal label and i spend $12 a tshirt. While other rural carriers dont buy them and then we have to look at them wearing spadex and all kind of crazy clothes. And i am saying really i cant believe they dont get told anything about their stuff hanging out. I ve been told by many customers while dont we wear a uniform? I also believe we should wear a uniform for our safety and respect for the post office.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I'm a non career RCA. I have seen the City Carrier uniforms and have heard comments from those carriers. If you are going to require Rural Carriers to wear uniforms then please audit your current uniforms for fabric content. These need to be breathable and flexible for sitting in an overly heated delivery vehicle for 3-6 hours per shift. We need a fabric that won't stretch too much and be falling off us by the end of shift. We also need something that will wick moisture as we can get extremely sweaty during a shift on a hot day.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Regardless if they are city carrier assistants, rural carriers or part time/full time - all of them shoul be required to wear Postal Uniforms as all of them represent USPS!!! No exceptions. Letter carriers are very trusted and lack of unifomrs cause confusion, uncertainty among customers.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I've been a Rural Carrier since 1987. I drive my own car and don't wear a uniform. My customers are not "confused" or "uncertain" about why I'm at their house or mailbox. We are trusted and loved without a uniform. We wear ID badges to identify that we are Postal employees.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I personally experienced customer confusion due to the lack of uniform! If customers know you - there is nothing confusing about that. However, we should think about other new rca's or ccas who are switched from route to route each day. And by the way why would we use our own cloths???

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    well said and i totally agree with you.

    Jul 10, 2017

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