on Dec 17th, 2012 in Delivery & Collection | 31 comments
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. 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?


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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.

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

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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?

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.

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.

For one there is no way the usps will give money to us to buy a pencil never mind a shirt.and also the city carriers have uniforms how many of them do you think look representable in it, in my office probably 3 out of 16.

Good idea, if, and only if pay scale for rurals is equal to city carriers....meaning rurals go from Level 5 to Level 6 with a uniform allowance.

Both crafts deliver mail, both should wear a navy blus shirt. Light blue stains too easily. Ditch the uniform pants for all. They're expensive, fit badly. Is a customer really looking at my pants to see if I can take their letter?

Fed Up needs to understand the differences between city and rural carriers a little bit better and if he is not happy with his job, he should moveon. I was a city carrier, and many times I wished that I could have been a rural carrier (carried some of their routes when I was a PTF), but I realized the advantage of the strong union of the NAlC. Strength is in numbers and shown by the people that attend the union meetings, etc and make their voice heard.I watched the rural carriers "run their routes" and leave so they could enjoy their day, when we were out past dark. I have seen many that I probably would not have opened my door to, judging by the way that they were dressed. Suck it up and be happy that you HAVE A JOB!!!!! I am sure that there are many people that would be glad to fill it.


Well, if city or rural carriers start to work on tour one or adjusted schedule, like the rest of the post office craft, then I would recommend some type of fluorescent color like construction workers wear. Or, a material similar that which creates luminescence to protect workers. It should be standard anyway instead of the blue type because even the day workers could use it on cloudy/rainy snowy days to protect them. It's pretty much become a standard for the construction trades, and highway workers.

The comments that are "hidden" due to the "dislikes" need to be shown. Most all are simply "no's" to the yes or no question, and bloggers disagreeing with their "no" answer. Rural delivery has followed the population further and further and the USPS has failed to see the tank tops, sandals, and broken down vehicles that present the daily image of the rural carrier.

A little confused as to why the USPS has to even ask this question. If they are blue collar employees of the Federal Government then it is the responsibilty of the Agency to ensure it's workforce meet certain grooming standards which would include uniforms. But then again being a Federal Employee I realy do not associate USPS employees as Federal Employees but more under the guidlines of contrators with minimal obligations to federal guidlines.

This really shouldn't even be debatable. All postal carriers, as employees representing the United States government, should be required to wear uniforms as a way to reflect a positive image of our government and our Postal Service.
I believe to see a government employer dressed in casuals on the job (which could include inappropriate things like a beer reference or profanity) is an utter disgrace and could reduce the faith of citizens towards our government.
While I like the "casual wear" idea, if employees are not properly evaluated, it could end up creating a negative image.

Great post.
I am speechless. working as a dentist i am used to read such a blogs and posts which gives me re freshness.
Thanks for this post and a round of applause to the commenter as well.

I'm a brand new RCA who just started last week, so I'm still learning the ins and outs of my new profession. I work in a suburb of Dallas and I don't understand why we even have "Rural Carriers" in the city. There are no rural areas where I work, and we all drive LLV's and deliver mail in the city, so why do we even have so-called "rural routes" in the city? I guess it's cheaper to do it that way. That being said, my customers don't even know I'm their Mailman unless they see me get out of my LLV, and even then, they're suspicious of me because I don't wear a uniform. I feel like I'm a glorified courier because of that. I just don't understand why there isn't more uniformity in regards to delivering the mail.

I'm a rural carrier and I believe we should be given some kind of allowance for uniforms so we can be identified as postal employees. I have ruined a lot of my personal clothing over the years so I'm for uniforms.

I'm a RCA into my 4th year and last year ordered 6 t-shirts all with a very official USPS logo on the front. Have one on every day. I feel it makes a difference for customers who do business with me, many of whom don't know me from a regular basis as I constantly deliver different routes. I feel more proffesional and official as well. In addition to profesionalizm it really does add a level of safety. At times I am delivering in very rural areas and it is important to be identified as a business person rather than a random stranger driving onto personal property.

The mail carriers in Windermere, Fl look so sloppy. Their appearance needs to be addressed!