By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – Some postal workers are reaching their boiling point, saying management is mistreating them and purposefully delaying mail. Several workers at the Capitol Hill and Bear Valley stations say they’re being forced to work up to 85-hour weeks and yet mail still isn’t getting out on time.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“I’m really seeing an abuse of power,” said Dakota Chilcutt, a former postal carrier at the Cap Hill station.

Chilcutt says managers purposefully delay mail when certain employees are off, and aren’t coordinating routes to make up for absences. Sources tell CBS4 several feet of mail are piling up daily, waiting to be delivered.

“It’s affecting the people of Denver, in the community, greatly, because, I’m getting complaints… people asking where their social security checks are, where’s the tax information,” Chillcutt said. “A customer said he missed his jury duty summons, because he hasn’t gotten his mail in so long and that is that is a clear result of improper management.”

CBS4 Investigates caught up with Chilcutt on his lunch break a few days ago. Days after our interview, he resigned, saying the mistreatment was just too much.

“We’re treated very poorly, it violates people’s rights. My manager… she told me, I’m going to f****n’ deliver this mail, and she’ll count to three and said, 3,2,1, as if I was a five-year-old,” Chilcutt recalled. “To be talked to like that, by another human being, regardless of their position is just intolerable, and I’m not the only one it’s happening to everyone, but they’re too scared to stand up for themselves, because they’re scared to lose their job.”

CBS4 Investigates spoke to several post office employees in the metro area, many who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. All echoed similar concerns.

“I’ve been witness to verbal, emotional abuse by different characters, by management,” said one anonymous employee at the Cap Hill station.

Workers say when they try to report concerns, they are often ignored.

“It’s up to management to give the union the time on the clock to actually file these complaints,” Chilcutt said. “But they’re denying the union representative his time request to actually put in these grievances. So, it’s just this revolving door of nothing getting handled and no one being held responsible for their actions.”

(credit: CBS)

“It is very hard because we rely on our union stewards and we rely on our union and it makes it very difficult when management does not want to work with the union to try to make it a better environment,” said an anonymous employee at the Bear Valley station in Lakewood. “It’s frustrating, it’s hard for the carriers to come back to work every day and want to be there when there’s no communication or positivity between management and the union.”

Postal workers want to see administration and policy changes at a local and national level.
Some local unions have even called for Postmaster General Louis Dejoy to resign.

“I think the solutions are pretty simple,” said the anonymous employee at the Cap Hill station. “We need people to stay, we need to get people in, and I think the best way to do that is to provide incentives, raise our wages, off the bat… Bring in new blood and make it appealing would go a long way, I think, to helping our situation.”

A spokesperson for the postal service in Colorado declined an interview, but sent a written statement that reads in full:

“The Postal Service is committed to cultivating a positive and safe work environment that’s free of threats, intimidation, bullying and violence for all employees. The threat Assessment Team is available at all USPS locations – including area, district offices and Postal Service headquarters in Washington, DC – to respond to threats and potential violence. Team members are trained to assess the danger or harm of threats, whether implied or direct. The goals are to reduce risks to employees and USPS, discourage inappropriate behavior and resolve conflicts. All facilities have permanently posted our policy on bulletin boards and other prominent locations. There is no ignoring a potential threat and every claim is thoroughly investigated.

The oversight, regulation and review processes are robust and help ensure service accountability as well as protecting our employees’ rights.

Our service scores are publicly published weekly and we continue to not only be the most trusted federal agency, but also the most trusted and the most loved brand. It’s because of our employees — 10,000 employees in the state and 650,000 employees around the nation. They have been working hard through the election, the pandemic, the holiday season and now delivering test kits. We value and honor their contribution as essential workers.

The Postal Service is committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and we apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced. Local management is aware of delivery issues out of the Capitol Hill and Bear Valley Post Office and is taking steps to address the concerns. We appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees during challenging times.

USPS mail carriers (credit: CBS)

Our workforce, like others, is not immune to the human impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We will continue flexing our available resources, maximizing our local personnel and augmenting from other locations around the state to help with the workload. We are proud of the efforts of postal employees in the Denver area and the nation, as they define essential public service every day. We just released a new, updated COVID-19 media statement. In that statement can be found this, “The Postal Service’s mitigation plans continue to perform well, enabling the organization to maintain strong service performance scores across all mail categories.”

Recently the Capitol Hill Office when through a route adjustment process to make delivery operations more efficient and reliable. There is a learning curve after these adjustment as many carriers have to adjust to a new line of travel. The new route adjustments significantly cut back on mileage driven, fuel expenses and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Postal Service has a zero tolerance policy on Violence in the Workplace. Managers, supervisors, Postmasters and union officials are trained throughout USPS. Resources that the Postal Service Provides are:

Employee and Workplace Intervention Analyst
Human Resources
Union Leadership
Management Associations
Threat Assessment Teams
Inspection Service 24-hour contact
Employee Assistance Program

When mail service issues occur, we take steps to quickly resolve customer concerns. We gladly work to address any specific issue from the community when brought to our attention and we encourage customers to reach out to their local postal station. Customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on “Contact us” at the bottom of our homepage, or utilize this direct web address: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/. Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service. In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp. The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customer’s concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities.

Due to current volume demands and COVID impacts to available staffing many of our employees are working overtime hours to facilitate delivery to all of our customers. Currently the greater Denver area has a need for more than 120 carriers. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply online.

To apply: Go to usps.com/careers, click on “Search Jobs,” select “Colorado,” click “Start,”
then click on the link for the appropriate job. A general overview of USPS employment
requirements, specific job requirements, and hourly pay is available at the website. Other
positions are also available including mail handler assistant, mail processing clerk, and more. Job
postings are updated weekly, so check back for additional opportunities.

Applicants must be 18 years of age and be able to pass drug screening and a criminal background investigation. For driving positions, applicants must have a valid state driver’s license, a safe driving record, and at least two years of unsupervised experience driving passenger cars or larger. Driving experience must have taken place in the United States, its territories or in U.S. military installations worldwide. USPS is an equal opportunity employer offering a fast-pace, rewarding work environment with competitive compensation packages, on-the-job training and opportunities for advancement.”

This article was originally published on Feb. 18.

Kati Weis