KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The U.S. Postal Service is an essential part of everyday life.
For many, it's about more than just packages and envelopes. It can be the way they receive their medicine or essential bills. However, several residents in Fountain City and Halls said their mail is not arriving in time.
They said they have seen a delay in mail delivery. This delay has left them with unanswered questions.
They said their mail delivery has been inconsistent since October, and they said their mail gets delivered three to five days a week instead of six days. Many times, they said it comes as late as 9 p.m.
Their concerns come after a report last week about West Knoxville neighborhoods not getting their mail. Many people said it was a "much bigger problem."
Congressman Tim Burchett (R - Knoxville) says this delay is a flaw in the USPS and claimed the delays are due to a shortage of postal workers and a cause of the USPS's priorities. He claimed that the USPS is prioritizing delivering packages over envelopes.
"They have taken the priority away from the average customer, the average citizen like myself, and placed it in the hands of the big corporations, like the Amazons of the world," he said. "That's where all their effort is being put, unfortunately."
Burchett said he believes the USPS is not taking care of its customers.
"I think we're blowing an opportunity is what we're doing, and they're failing to change with the times and they're failing to take care of their constituency," Burchett added.
For these residents, the walk to their mailbox has turned into a drive to their local post office to get their mail themselves. But for those who can't drive, this is not an option.
The USPS provided a statement about delivery issues in the area. It is available below.
"The Postal Service appreciates its customers and always strives to provide the best possible service to them. We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced by customers in the Fountain City and Halls neighborhoods. Local management is committed to making continuous improvements in delivery service. Regarding staffing, our workforce, like those of other businesses, is not immune to the current labor market. We will continue flexing our available resources to ensure we have adequate staffing levels. We are proud of the efforts of postal employees in the Knoxville, TN area and the nation, as they define essential public service every day.
We are further addressing staffing levels through hiring fairs in Knoxville and across Tennessee, as we look to bolster our workforce with additional delivery personnel. For anyone interested in applying for postal employment, our Careers website has all the information: https://about.usps.com/careers/welcome.htm
As we acquire and train new employees, we are confident service improvements will continue. As clarification, regarding delivery of mailed items, mail and packages are delivered as they are received and no specific business or company receives preferential delivery.
Customers are reminded that, if they need assistance with mailing or shipping concerns, they have a variety of options for reaching us, including contacting their local Post Office, calling 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or visiting our website. We appreciate our customers’ business and their patience during this busy time of year.”