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 (105)

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  • anon

    The USPS provides THE best, cheapest, and most comprehensive parcel delivery service in the US. But, for some reason, it gets terrible press. Companies somehow imagine that UPS and FedEx provide superior and more reliable service. I think the slouchy changes in uniforms contribute to this misconception. The other carriers have standardized uniforms, colors, and an overall impression of professionalism. My USPS carrier delivers our mail from the trunk of her broken down 1999 Toyota corolla and wears a raggedy blue shirt with shorts and timberland boots. I understand that the USPS has had to make due with lower revenue, lower government support, and a demand for more services. I think, however, that a sharp, crisp, even vintage standardized uniform will restore the dignity and public image of postal workers. In general, as a veteran, I think postal workers in particular (as well as other government workers) should be respected because of their public service. I think the government in general has an image problem....and it needs to reassert its institutions as reliable, trustworthy, and respectable...even despite the wide-spread corruption of right-wing tea-party republicans. I say, go old fashioned with the uniforms...it can't hurt....it can only help...even if it is just for creating a niche market for usps services.

    Apr 11, 2017
  • anon

    I my self am a rural carrier. I take pride in what I do for god sake I have the honor to say I work for my country. I can't help but think that my position is like the pony express. I have been working for the postal service for roughly 7 years. When I first started my out look was high expectations I can be proud when people ask what you do for a living. After working hard as a mail handler then a rural carrier I came to realize that no one cares. From the newest employee to the post master of the district. A few of us that feel the same have a standing joke\question "I wonder what the flavor of the day is today?" Our supervisors are very out of touch of the rules and to concreted in there positions to care about the worker. Which in turn makes the worker not care about the position. For example there is food eatin anywhere and clothing on carriers that show to much and decals on clothing that should never be warn in a professional setting but yet nothing is done and those are pretty easy rules to enforce. So you could imagine the rules that they overlook or chose to side step. Instead they are telling us that we need to do this that way and that this way usually opposite from what we where taught in the training or the way that causes the most stress. We have come to realize that there is no sense asking any questions or giving any suggestions. Because any thing we ask won't be answered truthful or we will be told we'll take care of it another day just make due today and nothing changes and if we suggest anything we are wrong and the opposite will make more sense to them. Its sad to say I won't make it to retirement I might not make it to the end of the year. I do think a uniform for the rural carrier would be a good start but one designed with the rural carrier in mind. I know this might fall on deff ears but I have gotten to the point that the only thing that makes me go to work is to see the the few people that still respect me doing what I can to get there mail there neat and in one piece with out having a stroke from stressing out over sitting on a 45 mph road sorting DPS because some genus sitting in a climate controlled office decides it go to the street. Or that the office temp should be 76° in the winter when the carriers are dressed for 25° weather and 60° in the summer when the carrier is dressed for 95° weather. I could go on but I will just sound like I'm a winer. Thanks for listening and I feel a little better I got that off my chest.

    Mar 22, 2017
  • anon

    I am a rural carrier. I believe the post office should provide us with a uniform.

    Mar 12, 2017
  • anon

    I cant believe this is even a question... small local plumbing companies have uniformed employees to not only identify themselves for customers safety and peace of mind, but to convey professionalism. And your telling me a multi billion dollar government, whom by the way is trying their hardest to remain relevant against UPS and Fed Ex, all of whom wear uniforms, doesn't employ this practice? Shameful. Its a terrible look, its unprofessional, and the customers deserve to know who is at their door so they don't fear for their life that some unmarked unknown man is trudging down their driveway unannounced banging on their door. Especially for packages that require a signature... no wonder why so many packages remain undelivered due to lack of signature... the customers are to afraid to open their doors and sign for it!

    Feb 15, 2017
  • anon

    the difference between a undicover cop and a uniformed cop is uniform and unmarked cars. The difference between a rural carrier and city carrier is uniform. As long as the job gets done who cares what you debt horders think.

    Feb 11, 2017
  • anon

    I am an RCA in Virginia and I have decided to order some shirts with our logo through pjsigns.com.

    Feb 10, 2017
  • anon

    I would love to have a uniform with the USPS logo on it. I'm a rural carrier for Columbus, Georgia. I feel it would be safer for us especially during Christmas time with the increase of pkgs. we had to deliver.

    Jan 30, 2017
  • anon

    I"m an rca, a little over a half a year in. Does anybody know where I can order postal uniform gear online. Every place I tried they have said you have to be a city carrier and have an expense card thru Citibank. I have tried just about every online website. I have told them I have an Ein nb, and I work for the poet office, but they still won't take my monies, which is so crazy to me.

    Jan 20, 2017
  • anon

    You can order stuff on ebay.com. they aren't the uniform, but you can get goodies, t shirts, and polos with the logo on it.

    Apr 09, 2017
  • anon

    My carriers do no not wear uniforms and the image they portray is so unprofessional. I'm not going to blame the carriers for that though, when they don't receive a uniform allowance. Rural carriers are more and more frequently operating in highly populated suburbs, and the lack of a uniform not only portrays the postal service as sloppy and inferior to FedEx and ups, to me, it's a huge safety issue. How can I tell if a postal carrier is delivering mail, or a thief is stealing it when there is no uniform to distinguish? How easy is it to attack a carrier on his route when he has no uniform to identify him or her? Get with the times, and at least provide them with a decent Polo shirt that they can wear. I've never seen a team all wearing their own thing... So to me, the message you are sending is the postal service is not one.

    Jan 06, 2017
  • anon

    I'm a contract carrier out in the woods of WV. I depend on my jeans and "construction worker" attire to do my job. This year I used a chainsaw twice to cut trees from my path because there was no alternative, waded through chest high brush to collect a signature, and chased cows and other livestock out of the road nearly bi-weekly. Uniform? I'll wear a uniform when you buy it, clean it, and replace it when its been ripped on barbed wire. I enjoy my job, make no mistake about that. But I won't tolerate any nonsense like this.

    Jan 03, 2017
  • anon

    Being a rural carrier has nothing to do with it. Carriers in major metropolitan cities are not wearing uniforms.

    Jan 14, 2017
  • anon

    I live in Houston Texas and do not have a permanent carrier. I have different carriers on a regular basis that do not wear uniforms and they dress like they live in a dumpster. Besides looking unprofessional, they look like porch surfers who steal mail masquerading as mail carriers. If UPS and Fedex employees wear uniforms, so should USPS. Besides looking tacky, I constantly receive misdelivered mail and packages. My neighbors complain of finding dropped mail in their yards and in the street. What kind of people are you hiring? Obviously they are unsuited for the job--and probably just don't care about the performance of their duties either. If you guys working in the "real world" you would have been fired a long time ago.

    Dec 29, 2016
  • anon

    Yes, I think that rural carriers should wear a uniformed shirt. I recently moved to an area where carriers do not wear a uniform and I think it looks very unprofessional. I also think the employees would feel more professional as well.

    Dec 26, 2016
  • anon

    I think all USPS employees should wear some type of uniform. I work in a small rural post office. I am the only employee. We were told to dress dressy/casual. Most all employees of the USPS do not get a uniform allowance until after 120 days of employment. Depending on your job you still may not be required to wear a uniform. I prefer a uniform and I think it looks more professional. Because I am in a rural area i dont fulfill the required daily hours to be eligible for uniform allowance. I think everyone employed by USPS should be required to wear a professional looking uniform. I prefer to buy my own and they are expensive. I feel better and look better in uniform. I grew up with a mailman in uniform. What kid wants to grow up and be a mailman without a uniform. Let's take pride in our jobs and look as good as UPS or Fed Ex. Please USPS provide everyone worker with uniforms and let us be proud to represent the great company that we work for!!!!

    Dec 09, 2016
  • anon

    I'm not so worried about the uniform as the vehicle should be clearly labeled from the back and sides as a mail carrier. And why, why are rural carriers not given right hand vehicles. My mother at the age of 61 was in a single vehicle crash on the job-gravel road was overly saturated from heavy rains the previous night before and the road was pulling her in the ditch she tried to correct and rolled and suffered TBI broken neck, broken neck, and lower spine. She had no seatbelt on but they don't wear seatbelts because they can't! Not when the mailbox is on the right and the steering wheel on the left-their body is so far stretched to be able to drive and deliver that to wear a seatbelt is impossible.-unless you have a personal right hand vehicle. Why is the USPS not looking out for their rural carriers???? Why do city carriers get the uniforms and right hand vehicles??? And I hope the USPS TAKES NOTICE BECAUSE I am alerting AWARENESS and CHANGES for rural carries

    Nov 26, 2016
  • anon

    Completely agree! It's very difficult for smaller offices to hire and keep substitute rural carriers (RCAs) because USPS does not provide RHD vehicles. There are wonderful small vans made overseas (especially Japan) that USPS could purchase for its fleet. Or get the rules changed to allow mail carriers to import newer RHD vehicles -- currently a vehicle has to be an antique (over 25 years old) before it can be imported and driven on the roads. (Canada allows importation of newer ones for their postal service.) Since Subaru and Saturn stopped making RHD cars in the US, the only choice is a very expensive Jeep, which is a gas hog and requires lots of maintenance. No RCA who works 2-3 days a week (or less!) can afford that. I say forget the uniform issue and address the vehicle issue if you want a better presentation for rural carriers!

    Feb 06, 2017
  • anon

    i live in Cincinnati and if employees are clean individuals naturally, the uniforms provided by the usps are worn properly. Unfortunately the district people in charge do not know the difference between warm and cold weather as is plays a role on a letter carriers day. They are requiring employees to wear long pants, long sleeves and ties even though the forecast for their so called cold weather month is starting out with temperatures in the high 70's and close to 80 degrees for the next week. Shouldn't they have other priorities for the salaries they make? It seems as if they can't keep employees and now they want to send home the ones who don't wear long pants on a warm weather day regardless of what the calendar says. I guess it's "Because We Care"

    Oct 30, 2016
  • anon

    we live in what I would consider suburb. Our letter carriers drive USPS vehicles, but do not wear uniforms. I think it's very unprofessional and a security risk. most of the time I see our carriers in sloppy clothing or sweat suits, not what I would expect from the USPS. I mean come on UPS and Fed-X employees wear uniforms and I believe that it reflex's in the manner that they do there job. They are proud.. are letter carriers are not

    Oct 21, 2016
  • anon

    I live in Johns Creek, GA a suburb of Atlanta. Our mail carrier drives a USPS truck but everyday looks like she just rolled out of bed. Not very professional.

    Oct 21, 2016
  • anon

    Definately a uniform. Aside from helping the public to identify the RCA as an employee of the USPS, and aiding in creating that professional image, I think it would give the RCA an increased sense of pride.

    Oct 20, 2016
  • anon

    I have been an RCA for about six months working 7 different routes between 2 offices. I started wearing a USPS hat early on to help people identify me when filling in. I still get the "and you are?" Or "what do you want?" Now I have started wearing a t-shirt with a large screen print USPS logo across the front and to my surprise have been poked fun at about the shirts from both of my postmasters. I think quick identification is key for everyone's safety, especially being a sub when customers only know who their regular carrier is.

    Oct 16, 2016
  • anon

    I'm an RCA and I would like to have something other than my truck and name badge to identify me as USPS. Your intro didn't mention the blocks of apartment buildings that we are required to dismount for, often keaving our trucks up to a city block away. Some branded USPS clothing or even a hat would make us more readily identifiable to postal patrons, perhaps helping reduce the number of 3849 slips left.

    Oct 09, 2016
  • anon

    Really, do we even need to ask this question. Yes, they should wear some sort of clothing to identify them.

    Oct 03, 2016
  • anon

    I do think a uniformed shirt for Rural carriers would bring us closer together as an craft and provide more unity than we have now. As an almost 20 year employee of the USPS and Rural craft, I think having a uniform shirt specific to the Rural craft would only recieve positive views. It would definitely have to be different than the city and clerk crafts to achieve that.

    Oct 01, 2016
  • anon

    Yes, I think rural carriers who deliver to peoples front doors should dress in uniform. Customers need to know the person knocking on their door is actually a Postal employee. But, I think all postal uniforms need an overhaul. These uniforms are outdated. They are hot, the fit is horrible and they just look horrible. Lets get with the times and get some uniforms that look half way decent.

    Sep 22, 2016
  • anon

    Yes I'm a regular rural carrier and I think it's a must because we have people pull weopons out on us because it looks like we are trespassing and we are only doing our job

    Sep 20, 2016
  • anon

    Check this site great prices for USPS Uniforms onlinepostaluniforms.com/ Online postal uniforms provides high quality postal uniforms and postal accessories for Letter Carriers, Retail Clerks, Maintenance and Mail Handlers USPS

    Sep 18, 2016
  • anon

    A uniform of some kind is the visual identity of company and professionalism. When in close proximity to the public, high confidence is placed in the uniformed individual(s). Immediate visual recognition by the public identifies the role of the uniformed person(s). In our current society, the public trust is weary of security and fraud. Having an official vehicle as the sole identifier without the quantifying uniform leaves the authority of the individual in question. A police officer wears a uniform with badge and sidearm. A firefighter has a helmet and turnout gear on. With each, one follows the other. Traditionally this has been the same for the postal carrier. An official postal vehicle is driven by a uniformed postal carrier. Conversely, wearing a uniform gives the wearer the confidence of trust in who they represent. The uniform gives them permission to come within close proximity to a person who would in any other circumstance regard them as a complete stranger. Most of us have been raised NEVER to talk to or more importantly TRUST a total stranger. When a total stranger appears at your front door do you just swing open the door and invite them in ? A uniform of some kind is best for the customer and the rural carrier.

    Sep 17, 2016
  • anon

    I think it's long overdue. I have had people afraid to open the door because of a lack of identity as a mail carrier. I think it would help professionalism.

    Sep 15, 2016
  • anon

    Please give them uniforms. I live about 20 minutes southwest of D.C., and I see these carriers in everyday clothing but in marked vehicles, and it concerns me, because I can never tell whether someone has broken into the vehicle and is tampering with mailboxes. It also look so unprofessional. I see FedEx and UPS delivery persons all in uniform. But then I see the USPS. Uniforms are not old-fashioned; they're an important facet for a business such as postal service.

    Sep 09, 2016
  • anon

    A uniformed shirt is a great idea at least, customers are able to identify us right off the bat, its just a better way to go, ive been trying to say this for years.thank you

    Sep 04, 2016
  • anon

    Yes, please wear uniforms. I live in a southern, well-populated suburb of Houston and our mail carrier wears flannel jackets and Victoria's Secret PINK capris. I would never have guessed she was a USPS worker if she wasn't driving the same USPS mail truck they drive in bigger cities. The other day as I was driving by the post office, I saw several mail trucks heading out for deliveries with each one of the drivers in what appeared to be street clothes and one female driver smoking a cigarette as she was driving off. Unprofessional. Please get them uniforms!

    Aug 27, 2016
  • anon

    Please do it. There has been a higher rate of mail theft in my city and somehow someone has a skeleton key to my town's cluster mailboxes. I don't like the fact that I can't tell who is touching my mail when usps doesn't make their rural carriers wear any type of uniform.

    Aug 24, 2016
  • anon

    Yes! It's so weird to me that my mail person walks to my door to drop off a package in gym shorts and a tank top. It's so unprofessional.

    Aug 12, 2016
  • anon

    I am proud to be a USPS rural carrier and would be proud to wear a uniform. We are seen by customers every day and do not look professional in every day clothing. Wearing a suitable uniform would only enhance our credibility. It would have to be something comfortable and work with a constant change of weather environment. Under Armor and the wicking material would adapt to the warm/cold changes much easier.

    Aug 03, 2016
  • anon

    Absolutely get these people in at least a uniform shirt. For all the reasons already mentioned.

    Aug 03, 2016
  • anon

    I'm a17 year employee of the post office a rural carrier for 10 of those years if your paying for it I'll wear it. I think it would be great!

    Aug 03, 2016
  • anon

    I work as a rural carrier and I think it's a good thing to have all carriers ware a shirt that is recognized as usps it's safer and I am proud to show it off and I am 100% sure customers would appreciate it as well!

    Jul 31, 2016
  • anon

    My husband has been a rural carrier for 6 years now. We both have thought it is strange that a rural carrier does not have a uniform. They are just as much part of the postal service as any carrier in a larger city if not more since they are expected to do more work. Larger city's have counters as they said above to go to. Rural carriers do it all. Yes we have post offices to go to but most don't go as it can be far to drive. As for clothes, yes it can be hard to know if they are a carrier or a stranger just stopping out in front of your house. A rural carrier drive's there personal vehicle with no markings on it. No uniform to identify them by. I believe this should be changed. All carriers should have a uniform and markings on there vehicles. My husband buys Navy Blue clothes to wear to work. I have had many embroidered saying Rural Mail Carrier with the name of the town he delivers in and his first name. We have also purchased large magnets to put on the side and back end of his jeep. The clothes and magnets help people identify who the mailman is. The magnets are just a smart thing all carriers should have. It lets all traffic know that the vehicle they are by will be making frequent stops! That's just smart safety. This not only will help a carriers patrons but make the carrier feel more professional. I know it makes my husband feel better. Rural carriers should be treated with the same respect as a carrier in a large city.

    Jul 28, 2016
  • anon

    Anonymous reply From a safety perspective, all mail carriers (city AND rural) should wear a uniform so postal customers can quickly identify them. I think it would save the carriers from making multiple delivery attempts if the customers could see a uniform when looking through their peepholes. The carriers should not be wearing clothing from their personal wardrobe when representing the United States Postal Service. The spandex capris and Hawaiian shirts don't cut it. Please get your carriers in a suitable uniform. Jun 10, 2016 Well said and I AGREE!!! I'm an RCA and I still dress as professional as I can, but I've lost count of the amount of customers will not answer the door when I'm attempting to deliver a parcel even though my ID is visible. With all the craziness going on in the world today most people don't answer the door even if they see a USPS (LLV) vehicle out front. At least a uniform shirt would make a HUGH difference in safety and the public's eyes.

    Jul 18, 2016
  • anon

    Are city carriers allowed to b in partial uniform. Athorized shorts but wearing tabk tops ? No employee id or postal symbols. ?

    Jul 16, 2016
  • anon

    USPS has become sloppy. Carriers look like homeless bums. The poop rolls down hill. This is the top dog's fault. Pathetic.

    Jul 16, 2016
  • anon

    I feel customers can identify Postal Workers easer and also with Rural Carriers in uniform it seem it will help the postal service as a whole to be more unified and connected.

    Jul 14, 2016
  • anon

    I'm an RCA and when I have to have a customer sign a package or express, they look at me like I'm from another planet. 10/10 times I have to explain I'm the mail carrier and they say, "You dont look like it." I had one lady laugh at me because she was wondering why a "little girl" was knocking on her door. It makes me feel so unprofessional. Give rural carriers a uniform already!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    How many people have to complain, Before something gets done?

    Jun 30, 2016
  • anon

    I have an HCR route. Been doing this for 16 years now. We are required to have uniforms. USPS gave us an allowance for the first 2-3 years, them stopped. We now pay for our uniforms ourselves, and seem to have very little choice in where we can buy them. My car is MY CAR. I'm still not supposed to have non-postal stuff in it. It is and I still use it as my personal vehicle. I pay for my private insurance and after 16 years I am looking forward to no pension and I really can't afford to pay someone else to do my job so I can take a vacation. (Haven't had one in 7 years)

    Jun 24, 2016
  • anon

    I typed in a search using terms WHY MAIL CARRIER DRESS SLOBS and this page came up. Looks like at least 90% of respondents, customers and carriers alike, want some kind of uniform to identify who they are, even if just a polo shirt. The original post was over three years ago, and yet here we are...same situation and nothing being done. In fact, it seems worse. My suburban town I would not have called "rural," yet here are the mail carriers, in official trucks, looking like slobs in shorts and a t-shirt. This is baffling and eerie that this is even allowed. Lowers my image of the USPS. Makes me wonder where else they are cutting corners. It makes one feel unsafe, having some bum put a package on one's doorstep...a complaint customers and carriers both have expressed here.

    Jun 16, 2016
  • anon

    From a safety perspective, all mail carriers (city AND rural) should wear a uniform so postal customers can quickly identify them. I think it would save the carriers from making multiple delivery attempts if the customers could see a uniform when looking through their peepholes. The carriers should not be wearing clothing from their personal wardrobe when representing the United States Postal Service. The spandex capris and Hawaiian shirts don't cut it. Please get your carriers in a suitable uniform.

    Jun 10, 2016
  • anon

    I have worked 35 yrs for thé postal service. Keep the professionnel look! Do not need to have postal uniform fund. Give them 2 polo shirts a year!

    May 21, 2016

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