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Later start time puts letter carriers at risk

An Oct. 28 editorial pointed out many of the barriers to a thriving Postal Service. Closing post offices, processing plants and eliminating Saturday delivery are shortsighted “fixes” that will degrade service and squander the greatest asset the service has: the letter carriers who go to every address six days a week.

While we call on Congress to fix the big picture, we face attacks on service closer to home. Local postal management has decreed that Buffalo carriers now start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8. Overtime will have carriers delivering well past dark. Expect to see your letter carrier at dinner time or later.

Last winter, Buffalo letter carrier Leo Sucharski lost his life after a fall on ice in the dark. Another carrier is still recovering from an after-dark fall. Thankfully, Buffalo area carriers have not been plagued by assaults, robberies and shootings, as carriers in other areas have while delivering past sunset, but why invite trouble?

Rather than changing the hours of clerks and mail handlers, whose jobs are safely inside, to an earlier time, local management will put letter carriers at risk for no good reason, all the while claiming that safety is their first priority.

It’s not easy to deliver mail in the dark and, since this is Buffalo, it’s only a matter of weeks before cold, snow and ice exacerbate an already difficult situation. Letter carriers are trying to give great service in spite of the obstacles in their way.

Susan Lewis

Executive Vice President

National Association of Letter Carriers

Branch 3 Buffalo/WNY