Due to apparent staffing shortages, Ferndale residents have not received their mail from the United States Postal Service on a daily schedule, and many residents are forced to wait in line for hours at the post office to pick up large packages, they said.
“Due to continued staffing issues, there may be days when a customer does not receive mail,” USPS Strategic Communications Specialist Lecia Hall said in an email to Cascadia Daily News. “But we are rotating employees and assignments so they will get mail the following day.”
But many Ferndale residents say they’ve waited three or more days to receive any mail from the service, and the mail that does show up is only paper mail. Packages must be picked up in person at the post office, causing hours-long wait times for residents and lines wrapping around the building.
Hundreds of packages sit in the back lot of Ferndale's post office. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
Some residents reported even lightweight envelope packages, like medication, needed to be picked up with larger packages, which have amassed in a fenced area outside the post office.
Ferndale resident Ronnie Suthers was one of the dozens of people waiting in line for their packages by 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“I've been here Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday and now today, couple hours each time,” Suthers said. “I'm just looking for three packages. They say they're here, but they can't find them.”
Ryan Hodges sits in a chair he brought to wait outside the post office for a package at around 9 a.m. Hodges said he arrived at 7:30 a.m., hoping to retrieve a package containing birthday present. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
Suthers said Tuesday would be his last day waiting for his packages. If he does not receive them, he'll wait for them to be sent back and shipped out again.
Ryan Hodges already waited an hour Tuesday before he got his name on a list the employees use to search for packages. Yesterday he got lucky, he said, and waited only 15 minutes to add his name to the list. Hodges said he is waiting on a birthday present.
“There's definitely more people here today than yesterday,” Hodges said. “I've only got today off (work), so I can't come back any more days.”
Despite the frustrating wait times, Suthers and Hodges said they sympathize with the remaining employees.
“They just need help. They need bodies. It's unfair to these guys to think they can get through that amount that's back there,” Hodges said, referencing the growing mound of packages outside. “They're trying. We know that. Everyone's been pretty patient.”
A "Now Hiring" sign hangs outside the post office. The Ferndale location is experiencing a severe staff shortage. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
Keith Olson, a Ferndale resident who depends on USPS to run his business, said the post office handed out a phone number, but when he tries to call the number, it doesn't stop ringing.
Some residents have received emails about the delays from Ferndale's Postmaster, Julie McCarty, but Hall, who is based in Plano, Texas, said any questions or comments about the Ferndale location are forwarded to her as the WestPac Area corporate communications person.
McCarty did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Hall said there will be a hiring fair at the Everett Library Aug. 5. She also added the starting pay for clerks is $19.12 and for carriers is $19.06.
“We are aggressively hiring rural carriers and clerks to stabilize our workforce,” Hall said in an email.
“Right now we’re flexing every available resource, borrowing employees from facilities across the state, and doing everything we can to serve every customer every day,” she added.
In the meantime, Ferndale residents like Olson are considering switching to UPS or FedEx until the issue is resolved.
“If it’s this much for the post office, this much for UPS, I’ll pay more for UPS and FedEx just to not have to deal with this,” he said, “because there doesn’t look like there’s any end in sight.”