The U.S. Postal Service delivery workforce consists of city and rural letter carriers, who perform similar duties, but have differences in compensation and work rules. City letter carriers typically work routes that are high density and low mileage. These routes are classified as either “mounted” routes (for those that require a vehicle) or “walking” routes (for those that are done on foot). City letter carriers are also given a $371 per year uniform allowance.

Rural letter carriers typically work routes that have a lower density of delivery points and higher mileage than those of city letter carriers. They work mounted routes, leaving their vehicles only to deliver to grouped mailboxes or to deliver an item that must be taken to a customer's door. However, rural routes have expanded to suburbs and exurbs, which are more densely populated and urbanized. These routes are similar to mounted “city” routes.

Because suburban areas in the country continue to flourish, the rural carrier craft is the only craft in the Postal Service still growing. Postal Service policy states that rural carriers must present a neat, clean, and professional appearance reflecting a positive postal image, but does not require rural carriers to wear uniforms like their city counterparts.

The 114,000 rural carriers and non-career rural carrier associates serve as a post office on wheels. They perform many of the services that a customer could receive at a retail counter. They sell stamps and money orders; provide Priority Mail flat rate boxes; accept Express and Priority mail; offer signature and delivery confirmation; and collect mail and parcels. Rural carriers provide their own vehicles to deliver mail on nearly half of the more than 73,000 rural routes. Now that the rural carrier craft is becoming more "urbanized," they are more visible to the public. Also, the past few years has seen an increase in the number of rural carriers delivering mail in Postal Service vehicles with the logo on the side.
[poll id="238"]
Do you think a uniformed shirt for rural carriers would be an overall positive change for the Postal Service as far as image, branding, marketing, and security? Would a uniformed shirt for rural carriers give employees a larger sense of unity and ownership to the mission of the Postal Service? Or is the idea of a uniform old-fashioned?

Comments (117)

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  • anon

    I recently retired as a Rural Carrier and for the last Fifteen years I wore a tie, not my idea. My kids got me a few for Christmas after their mother left and my customers wouldn't let me take them off. So yes a uniform and professional appearence would be approiate if the carriers recieve a uniform allowance.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    if i was given an allowance i would still need a deviation from what most carriers would wear because of all the dirt roads that my route has. you really can't keep clean a "uniform" approved for most carriers on this particular route.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    When the USPS gives me a postal vehicle they can require me to wear a postal uniform. Rural carriers are treated very differently from city carriers and at least in my office are disrespected by management and city carriers who seem to think they are superior. Will a uniform solve this problem?

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    We have rural carriers that look homeleess, tank tops, shirt sleeves cut off, not to mention they make 50 grand working 4 hours, should be 8 hours work for 8 hours pay!

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    I have always thought the Rural Carriers should wear a uniform......or at the least a shirt with a USPS Logo. They represent USPS just like the City Carriers and Clerks. We have an RCA in our office that wears tank tops, sloppy looking sweat pants, t-shirts that practically go down to her knees and jeans that drag on the ground. She also carries City mail and dresses the same. Very unprofessional and is just a disgrace to USPS. It's unacceptable in my opinion.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    I have served as a rural mail carrier for 47 1/2 years, my personal appearance is important to me and my customers; I dress neatly and professionally at all times. I work with city carriers wearing uniforms that look worse than slobs, uniforms do not ensure a professional appearance. ELM has requirements concerning dress of postal employees; if we are going to require uniforms for rural carriers we also need to require city carriers to clean their act-up. My vote is NO. We have many issues that need to be ddressed, if an employees comes to work dressed in atire that does not meet community standards, the supervisor can handle that issue.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    Anyone who deals with the public becomes a representative of their employer, we should take advantage of every opportunity to improve our public image.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    Absolutely they should. I have worked with rural Carriers (and been an RCA) for most of my 21 years in the USPS. In the real rural areas a uniform wasn't necessary, but in my city so many RC's look like slobs. I believe this image downgrades the overall image held of the USPS. A nice Polo type shirt with the USPS logo would be nice, at the very least.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    I have quite a no of postal tshirts and golf shirts that I wear thin in summer and heavier in Winter I do not mind a pullover with a logo but I would definitely not like the pants or the cotton shirts plus our pays have been cut so bad and the postal service has no money so they have to keep robbing us at mail count it doesnt seem like a win win situation for anyone

    Dec 18, 2012
  • anon

    If I wanted to wear a uniform, I would have become a city carrier. Rurals are less militaristic. We do not need uniforms.

    Dec 18, 2012
  • anon

    I think that uniforms should've been mandatory a long time ago. They show professionalism and represent the individual as a whole when walking up on someone's porch. It's better than some I have seen wearing flip flops, sweat pants, or flannel pj's!

    Dec 18, 2012
  • anon

    When the postal service decides to treat the rurals the same as the city carriers,as far as salary,per hour,not by some outdated count where it's the postal services job to school management on how to find ways to cheat to take away salary,providing a replacement vehicle when the rural postal vehicle breaks down,instead of sitting around the office waiting for someone else to finish their day so a vehicle becomes available,receiving overtime during xmas instead of being harassed to stay in evaluated hours,THEN,when the rural carrier is treated like a professional it's time for them to look the part.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    I have used "postal shirts" for years. I am all for the uniform idea ONLY IF the Postal Service gives the rural carriers the same allowance they give the city carriers.

    Dec 18, 2012
  • anon

    Not a great idea for a business cutting jobs because they do not have the funds.

    Dec 17, 2012
  • anon

    I think the shirts would be great! I am a rural carrier And I am at the door of my customers often.

    Dec 17, 2012
  • anon

    Do you wear a skirt while delivering now? You will be.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • anon

    I'm a rural carrier with a very rural route, but I still like to look professional when I'm carrying mail. I own several shirts with usps logos on them as an unofficial "uniform". I think it helps my customers recognize me and keep the brand at a high level. I would be in favor of mandatory uniforms with a provided uniform allowance.

    Dec 17, 2012

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