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 (72)

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  • 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
  • anon

    My mounted carrier arrived today in a tank top. I don't feel this represents the postal system at all. She looked very sloppy. My former carrier smoked constantly while delivering. We are a family of non smokers with allergies and have to leave our mail in the garage for several days before we can read it. I realize that the mounted carriers buy their own trucks (this allows them to smoke ?) but the places they deliver to may have a health problem and the odor of the cigarette clings to all the mail in the vehicle.

    May 12, 2016
  • 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

    all city carriers wear their shirts out of their pants around town look unprofessional to me,I wear a T shirt with postal service on front with a nice pair of shorts with my shirt tucked in ,look a lot better those out dated city uniforms,and where ups & fedex uniforms are better looking and in style

    Jun 07, 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

    Who cares what you think looks good, or not good, on somebody? If you wanted to argue that she looks unprofessional, that's different. I'm fat around the middle and I think pants make me look worse - but it's probably more professional than the summer dresses I usually wear. I don't care what my rural carrier wears. I know it's her. She honks every time she comes up to our house to deliver a package and she drives a jeep. Imo, there should be optional uniforms with the funds available for them. But if they use the funds, they maybe should have to wear the uniforms. It seems like a lot of the rural carriers commenting here would love to have the option.

    May 23, 2016
  • 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

    I'm a regular carrier on a rural route. One of the reasons we have "so called rural routes in the city", is because people are running out of land to build on within the city limits and therefore having to develop communities outside the city limits, making them city-like. But the rural territory isn't automatically transferred to the city side once the new developments come in. City is city, rural is rural. And about uniforms, I personally would love to see some allowance for rural carriers to be able to at least have matching Usps tops.

    Jun 24, 2016
  • 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

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