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 (51)

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  • anon

    I think we all need matching shirts. It is more professional. When I deliver I feel like I'm just a person driving the post office vehicle delivering mail. People look at me like I'm crazy.

    Apr 26, 2016
  • anon

    I think there should be a uniform to improve brand image, let's customer identify you easily, and would like help build pride.

    Apr 14, 2016
  • anon

    Yes, rural carrier should have to wear a uniform and receive an allowance to purchase. In the offices that have both routes, the city carriers (mostly) look professional and the rural carriers look like a bunch of construction workers.

    Apr 08, 2016
  • anon

    Is there a policy for non uniform clerks(mail processing) wearing spandex? Some females in my station wear their spandex wedged so far that it leaves nothing to the imagination and is either distracting or disgusting, depending on who you talk to. It has been referred to the supervisors but we do not get clarification.

    Apr 07, 2016
  • anon

    I too would like to know this as I'm a manager and when I told 3 female Hcr carriers not to wear them it was unprofessional I was slapped with sexual harassment and moved out my office. What is the ruling on this anyone. I say no to spandex.

    Apr 23, 2016
  • anon

    Why are employees in postal trucks allowed to wear sweats and talk on their cell phones. Someone delivered my mail today driving in their own personal car and wearing hospital scrubs. In a DC suburb, not a rural area. Has the Postal Service dropped all standards for carriers any more?

    Mar 26, 2016
  • anon

    Mail carriers should absolutely wear uniforms as they always used to. It looks professional, not to mention they are representing a government-run operation. I have seen mail carriers in my Chicago neighborhood looking very sloppy in their jeans and sweatshirts. It is unsettling, looks sloppy and not reassuring. Considering the other issues I've had with the USPS, it appears as laziness on the part of USPS. FedEx and UPS both wear uniforms, why would USPS be any different?

    Mar 18, 2016
  • anon

    The US Postal service is a representative of our US government. To see postal workers delivering mail in sweat suits is a disgrace. Have a little respect for our country and dress appropriately.

    Mar 13, 2016
  • anon

    You are absolutely right .. I deliver mail and we are not required to wear uniforms . i wish we did so people wouldnt look at me funny while I'm out delivering

    Apr 07, 2016
  • anon

    Yes. I should know who is at my mailbox and not only should they wear uniforms they should wear id's to identify them in case there is a problem with a carrier instead of setting up a wall of indifference when a complaint is made.

    Mar 09, 2016
  • anon

    We often have our carrier show up at our door with no uniform and dressed VERY poorly. My wife is at home with a baby and I'd rather she not open the door without being able to identify the person on the other side.

    Mar 06, 2016
  • anon

    I've been a Rural Carrier for 21 years now and I absolutely think we should wear uniforms. After all we are representing the Postal Service.

    Feb 10, 2016
  • anon

    Yes, I believe we should wear uniforms I don't feel its right that we wear regular clothes to deliver mail when the city carrier get an allowance to buy clothes and we do the same job, how is we, the rural carrier really promoting what we actually do. Sometimes I be scared going up on people porch to deliver a package, I always see people stop in there cars watching me get out my LLV to deliver a package and stare at me like am doing something wrong, If just not really safe, the rural carrier need to wear something to symbolize that we do work at the post office.

    Feb 06, 2016
  • anon

    Yes we need uniforms, customers question if we truly work for the post office. We also are required to wear a certain dress code which requires us to purchase work appropriate clothing. A uniform allowance would be a positive change for rural carriers

    Jan 19, 2016
  • anon

    Paying out of pocket to look more like an employee of the USPS or even shirts with USPS logo plus gloves, jackets , shoes it all gets expensive so it would be nice to get an allowance to pay for it . Plus I buy my own signs and lights to make my pov visible and recognizable as a USPS .

    Jan 19, 2016
  • anon

    I think a clean appearance is always important on any job. But I would rather pick out my own clothes that are comfortable, neat and warm. Cool in the summers. I order from the companies that sends flyers to out Post Office.

    Nov 01, 2015
  • anon

    I am a rural carrier and I feel that providing the carriers with a shirt helps the customers recognize who we are when approaching their door. By providing carriers with some form of uniform it allows us to look more professional, and also creates a more safer environment. Mia

    Oct 15, 2015
  • anon

    I'm a RCA and some of our rural routs deliver to businesses...and I feel it would be most appropriate if we were given a uniform allowance. Mainly because I pay cash online for logo t-shirts, so I look more professional! Even going to customers door I would like to be in uniform! I hope the change is made sometime in the near future. I'm glad I'm not the only RCA that wants to be in uniform!

    Oct 15, 2015
  • anon

    I just became a RCA and I must say, I am very surprised that a jobject such as the Postal service would not require uniforms for all positions. Also, don't they think Rural Carriers want to feel like they are a part of the postal family? You kinda feel like a non factor, unimportant.

    Jan 15, 2016
  • anon

    My carrier wears Jean shorts and it is not a cute look on her.

    Oct 06, 2015
  • anon

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

    Jun 08, 2015
  • anon

    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.

    Aug 26, 2014
  • anon

    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.

    Jun 25, 2014
  • anon

    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.

    Jun 11, 2014
  • anon

    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.

    Feb 21, 2013
  • anon

    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.

    Jan 01, 2013
  • anon

    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.

    Jan 12, 2013
  • anon

    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.

    Dec 27, 2012
  • anon

    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.

    Dec 21, 2012
  • anon

    HAVE BEEN A RURAL CARRIER FOR ALMOST 32 YEARS. LIKE THE SHIRT IDEA. BUT SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE SOME TYPE OF HAT AND COATS BOTH HEAVY AND LIGHT. WHAT GOOD IS A SHIRT THAT IS COVERED UP.

    Dec 20, 2012
  • anon

    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.

    Dec 20, 2012
  • anon

    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?

    Dec 20, 2012
  • anon

    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.

    Dec 20, 2012
  • anon

    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.

    Dec 19, 2012
  • 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

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