Americans love a man, or woman, in uniform.  Even in the postal world. In fact, many folks would like all postal workers to have uniforms.

Five years ago we ran a blog on rural letter carriers and whether they should wear a uniform, or at least a uniformed shirt – they currently aren’t required. Given that rural routes are increasingly suburban and rural carriers more visible to the public and rural letter carriers serve as something of a post office on wheels, it seemed a logical question to ask.

The overwhelming majority of responses to that blog were in favor of uniforms for rural carriers. And we got a lot of responses: 108 and counting, with comments continuing to roll in half a decade later.

Uniforms were in the news again with a recent agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which approved a uniform allowance for career clerk employees who are assigned to a post office that is open only part-time (the so-called POStPlan offices). Prior to the agreement, they did not get uniform allowances. As one APWU official noted, “A postal uniform provides respect to the institution, respect to the customer, and respect to the postal worker performing work on behalf of the Postal Service.”

With the Postal Service employing so many temporary workers, this question of a uniform approach to uniforms isn’t going away. USPS uses non-career workers, as these temporary workers are called, throughout its operations ― 130,000 in fiscal year 2016, according to our audit on the topic. Some of these positions get a uniform allowance after a certain amount of time on the job; others do not. Of course, some positions have no contact with the general public, such as the postal support personnel that process mail in plants, making a uniform less necessary perhaps.

Where do you stand on the great uniform debate? Do you think all postal workers, whether city or rural, part-time or full-time, should wear a uniform, or at least a uniformed shirt? Or only those workers visible to the public? Is the idea of a uniform old-fashioned or a way to give employees a stronger tie to the Postal Service mission and brand? 

Comments (79)

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  • anon

    I am a previous business owner and now rural carrier. Any services offered to public is looked upon as professionals and respected when their employees are dressed professionally. I have chosen to purchase a type of uniform that matches in color with the post office city carriers. It is SO unprofessional to see a rural carrier in sloppy clothes, hunting clothes, women wearing t-shirts so low their boobs are showing. Really!!! Name ONE professional service company that doesn't take pride in how their employees represent their companies. USPS it's time to get on bored and stop being reviewed as a low class company. FedEx and UPS all have uniforms. I've seen how people dress, some people know how to present ines self in a professional way and most do not!!! Can't believe this has not already been addressed, that says a lot about the individual (s) running the company.

    Jul 25, 2017
  • anon

    Yes. everyone should be proud of the institution and the job. This includes everyone from the PMG on down.

    Jul 20, 2017
  • anon

    Yes. Customers on my route constantly ask, where is my uniform? I think we should have the uniform bottoms with the Postal t shirts.

    Jul 19, 2017
  • anon

    Considering the USPS made it a removable offense to purchase a uniform from USPS uniform providers, I find it ridiculous to require anything other than clothing that covers the torso. If you take a look at city carriers that wear a uniform you will see a wide range of professionalism from extremely professional to downright awful. Rural carriers have always been rugged individualist and I think that anything out of the ordinary (such as customer seeing their carrier wearing a uniform) would throw everyone off...including me!

    Jul 16, 2017
  • anon

    How can I apply for a job in caribbean district? Like HCR. Thanks!

    Jul 15, 2017
  • anon

    All postal employees that have contact with the public should be in uniform whether rural or city carriers. I work in an office with rural carriers and they dress like bums. As for the city carriers in uniform some are dirty, wrinkled, shortened. Should be made to do their job. Clean up your workforce, you are representing the UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    HELLO, I THINK ITS APPROPRIATE FOR POSTAL EMPLOYEES TO WEAR UNIFORMS OR THE SHIRT AT LEAST, SO HOMEOWNERS AND BUSINESSES CAN IDENTIFY THEM AS POSTAL WORKERS!, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THERE IS A HIGH RATE OF CRIMINALS PRETENDING TO BE POSTAL WORKERS, STEALING CONSUMERS PACKAGES AND MAIL. I THINK THE UNIFORMS FOR MOST SERVICE COMPANIES OR BUSINESSES SHOULD CONTINUE, SO CONSUMERS CAN IDENTIFY WHO IS DELIVERING THE MAIL OR PACKAGES. IF WORKERS WORE PLAIN CLOTHES THERE WOULD BE A HIGHER RATE OF FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES AMONG THE POST OFFICE OF MAIL FRAUD AND THEFT. I SAY KEEP THE POSTAL WORKERS IN UNIFORM, IF IN SUMMER JUST MAKE LIGHT WEIGHT MATERIAL SHIRTS TO KEEP WORKERS COOL DURING HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE SUMMER MONTHS. IT IS PROFESSIONAL AND APPROPRIATE FOR SERVICE WORKERS TO WEAR UNIFORMS. THAT IS CORRECT...

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    HELLO, I THINK ITS APPROPRIATE FOR POSTAL EMPLOYEES TO WEAR UNIFORMS OR THE SHIRT AT LEAST, SO HOMEOWNERS AND BUSINESSES CAN IDENTIFY THEM AS POSTAL WORKERS!, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THERE IS A HIGH RATE OF CRIMINALS PRETENDING TO BE POSTAL WORKERS, STEALING CONSUMERS PACKAGES AND MAIL. I THINK THE UNIFORMS FOR MOST SERVICE COMPANIES OR BUSINESSES SHOULD CONTINUE, SO CONSUMERS CAN IDENTIFY WHO IS DELIVERING THE MAIL OR PACKAGES. IF WORKERS WORE PLAIN CLOTHES THERE WOULD BE A HIGHER RATE OF FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES AMONG THE POST OFFICE OF MAIL FRAUD AND THEFT. I SAY KEEP THE POSTAL WORKERS IN UNIFORM, IF IN SUMMER JUST MAKE LIGHT WEIGHT MATERIAL SHIRTS TO KEEP WORKERS COOL DURING HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE SUMMER MONTHS. IT IS PROFESSIONAL AND APPROPRIATE FOR SERVICE WORKERS TO WEAR UNIFORMS. THAT IS CORRECT...

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    No, a uniform is to show ownership of the person and to devalue them as a human and a Individual. It is all part of the collective group think. People are unique and just because you pay someone doesnt give you the right to limit individualism. If you think a uniform makes you apart of something. Think again its their brand to show ownership.

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    I say yes they should get a uniform. I think everyone who works for the USPS should have one. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just inconsiderate & mean. What does an RCA having a uniform have to do with a City Carrier? Get over yourselves!

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    Absolutely, uniforms for every one. In my neck of the woods, management keeps changing our start times. Many carriers are out delivering till 8:00! 8:00 PM! In winter, it gets dark at 5:00. A plane clothed person is in danger, especially when delivering parcels. To Karen West, most carriers do have to pay for their own boots, gloves, etc. until you have enough time in to accumulate a proper array of items. The older carriers get the same amount of allowance which they don't need. They end up buying socks and gloves for the family just to use it up!

    Jul 13, 2017
  • anon

    Uniforms ~ YES!!! At least the shirt = )

    Jul 13, 2017
  • anon

    No uniforms for rural carriers. Do you drive around in the inclement weather on a daily basis? In the freezing cold? Snow? Sleet? Torrential rains? Heavy winds? Excruciating heat? I bet not. We need to dress accordingly. There would not be enough clothing allowance available to cover the expenses for the many items of clothing and foot wear that we need in order to keep ourselves warm, dry and safe.

    Jul 12, 2017
  • anon

    City carriers do the exact same work - in uniform.

    Jul 14, 2017
  • anon

    I personally believe that all postal workers regardless of status should be in a uniforms. From the very top to the bottom. It would be better for all to be able to see a distinctive look between the branches, echelons of workers and supervisors from local to district and upper management levels. On the street many times I have been questioned about carriers both rural and CCA that are not in any uniform about there integrity, honesty, and whether they actually work for the USPS? It eliminate some of these problems with the public.

    Jul 12, 2017
  • anon

    I am a rural carrier associate and I buy my own uniform tops to wear. I firmly believe in looking professional at all times while representing the USPS. I think my customers appreciate that I am serious enough about my job to dress accordingly. And pay for my uniform with my own money. Other carriers in my office dress so terribly that they embarrass me. I am a professional. My appearance goes a long way in telling people I am proud to serve them.

    Jul 12, 2017
  • anon

    Absolutetly EVERY mail carrier should wear a uniform. Many rural carriers and temps dress terrible with logo tees and and ratty pants. As more are driving LLVs they should also wear the uniform. Many rurals deliver to places like the mall and other businesses. Not so rural anymore.

    Jul 12, 2017
  • anon

    Mail delivery person is not coming by supposedly taking place for The Originals person who's on vacation but it's not coming getting paid for nothing probably saying that they're not

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    Wear the uniform.until the State Police are no longer required to wear theirs. Be proud.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    31 years of delivering mail I had always been a firm believer that all carriers,city and or rural should wear some type of uniform .working as a city carrier in Florida and Arkansas I would see rural carriers come to work In(God only knows) what type of clothing some looked as if they forgot to remove their PJs or an outfit so filthy it looked liked they change the oil in their car and used the clothes to sop up the oil. Since they now drive llv's the should I repeat SHOULD present them selves neatly in some type of uniform. They do the same job as city carriers ( in fact in some areas) they deliver what should be city route) and they look like slobs . I guess my point has been made.If you deliver mail look professional

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    31 years of delivering mail I had always been a firm believer that all carriers,city and or rural should wear some type of uniform .working as a city carrier in Florida and Arkansas I would see rural carriers come to work In(God only knows) what type of clothing some looked as if they forgot to remove their PJs or an outfit so filthy it looked liked they change the oil in their car and used the clothes to sop up the oil. Since they now drive llv's the should I repeat SHOULD present them selves neatly in some type of uniform. They do the same job as city carriers ( in fact in some areas) they deliver what should be city route) and they look like slobs . I guess my point has been made.If you deliver mail look professional

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    Im a rural carrier. I think we should at least have postal t-shirts.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    Only those employees visible to the public should be required to wear uniforms.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    All USPS employees who have public interaction (Carriers of any kind, Window Clerks of any kind, BMEU Clerks, etc.) should be provided and be required to wear a uniform or at least a uniform shirt. This is only common sense to provide a sense of safety and security for the employee and the customer. I travel to multiple Post Offices in my job and see many Rural Carriers, CCAs and PSE Clerks working the window wearing clothing I would not wear to just walk out of the house to my mailbox. It is embarrassing to the USPS and shows the public that the USPS no longer cares about quality or it's image.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    Uniforms for delivery employees are a must not only for rural carriers but all carriers. Why- image (all standing proud together), and competition for business (we are not the only provider out there even in all of rural American anymore). However, you can't have multiple shirts in various colors and different pants, etc. Since anyone from anywhere can buy a shirt with the Postal Service on it, customers can be miss-lead or worse, open a door to someone looking to do harm. No postal employee would want to hear of that happening. So yes, a uniform and uniformity. But, practical postal-only options that are designed for the weather extremes faced by carriers every day-every year and uniform in nature. You know UPS drivers from their brown uniforms in their brown trucks. That is their brand-their identity-their uniform. All postal employees in the public eye need to have the same appearance. No one should wonder does the person driving that truck, or opening that box everyday, ringing the door bell, or talking to the secretary in the office building making a delivery really work for the postal service. There should never be any doubt by the uniform appearance of every delivery postal employee. It should be a matter of pride.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    I am a rural carrier. I have worked in this craft for 17 years. I feel that at least a shirt would be of great benefit to the carriers and also to our customers. I feel that a person in uniform in today's society seem to be better trusted and also respected. Unfortunately for the rural carriers, there is a lot of unclear definition in the dress code for us.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    Honestly, I was unaware of "rural" no uniforms and "letter carriers" uniforms. I notice in my area our carrier is not in uniform. Never made me feel a certain way. It does now. Uniform. I do not need to know anymore about these working employees. Other than they all work and are employed by the same government agency. Just making sure that our mail is making it from point A to B. Again,no issues with appearance and the way my carrier dresses or presents herself. In today's world , we need to build some kind of trust and feel little less at ease of we need to sign that we are initially being approached in uniform. Regular clothing raises concern and fear. Especially, if we do not know our carrier.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    I am a retired City Carrier and a former RCA. I absolutely think all delivery employee s should be required to have a uniform shirt minimally. In my last station most RC and subs dressed like slobs (baggy pants, etc) and delivered to nice suburban areas. This leaves a bad impression on customers. I believe a uniform imparts a better work ethic ( or it should) on the part of the employees. When I was hired as an RCA the first thing I did was buy a USPS hat so I could be readily identified by customers.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I have been an RCA for 11 months. I wear a t-shirt every day that says "United States Postal Service" on the front. I purchased these with my own money and I am proud to wear them. I feel it lets customers know right away who I am.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    NO, rural carriers should not wear uniforms and also I think the city carriers need upgraded uniforms to today's standards. All cotton and comfortable to wear.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    It's not a bad idea....With so much talk about being our "brand". Put some $$ behind the talk and buy wicking style shirts for all who are our image to the public...

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    All postal employees who deal with the public should be required to wear a clean, professional uniform. It is time for the Postal Service to improve their public image instead of looking like someone who just who woke up from a park bench and started delivering mail. As a retired senior plant manager it is embarrassing to me to see the difference between the dirty unkempt Postal employees compared to the neat clean pressed uniforms the UPS and FedX delivery personnel wear as they deliver to my door.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I do not want uniforms in rural craft. They are extremely uncomfortable & very hot. I am in a LLV all day not in & out, it's much hotter inside the truck. I need my loose clothing.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    My LLV this week has averaged 119-127F. I'll wear my comfy clothes, thank you.

    Jul 12, 2017
  • anon

    I totally agree, I'm also a rural carrier and it's so hot in those LLV's I definitely need my loose clothing. If we had to wear the uniforms the city carriers wear could you imagine how hot we would be.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    I do not want uniforms in rural craft. They are extremely uncomfortable & very hot. I am in a LLV all day not in & out, it's much hotter inside the truck. I need my loose clothing.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I am a rural carrier and I strongly believe we should be able to wear uniforms, I get scared some days going ringing people bell for certified or express that need a signature. I have read many article about postal workers getting stab and everything else done to them, I purchased many t-shirts with the postal logo on them so the customers now I work for the Post Office. I use to wear city carriers shirts just to have something on to represent the job that I am working for I don't see what the problem is with the Rural Carriers wearing uniforms, don't we all work for the same company or you all just don't care about our safety. I just wish one day we will be able to wear the postal uniform with proud. Please consider us!!!!!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    With walk up crime being what it is if we go to deliver anything it should be by a uniformed employee. Also all deliveries should be made in a post office vehicles

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    It should be one policy for all workers who represent the post office. More importantly, the nature of the uniform needs to change drastically to suit the climate. It is entirely indecent to expect workers to wear double layer polyester uniforms in the heat, especially when driving those non air-conditioned trucks all day. The heat we endure is unbearable during the summer months and for those working in the south, the summer lasts a good six months.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Yes I believe all employees should wear uniforms to look more professional. Rural carriers at least a shirt, some carriers look like slobs when they deliver the mail. We should be representing the USPS!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    As a female,rural carrier in mid-michigan, I would love it if we all wore uniforms. While I love being able to wear what I want, when I am not on my normal route, or running express, I think the uniform would help customers feel more at ease with this unfamiliar person at the door, especially when I am in my own vehicle. It would also make me feel safer by being recognizable as a postal worker, not just some strange lady in a big, red, truck.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all carriers should have a uniform shirt. It looks more professional. My customers are concerned when the see a cca not in uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Me being a military veteran, I think uniforms for all would bring back some of the pride that seems to be diminishing. I my self would be proud to wear the postal uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    no, for rural carriers, we wear clean clothes, some wear postal shirts we get on several postal web sites, we wear badges and thats enough. i dont wear shorts, or tank tops, or tennis shoes or sandals, i wear non slip boots and postal logo tee shirts and long pants.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Yes...I believe that any employee that is seen by the public should be in uniform. Represent the company and the brand! I am a postal employee that wears a uniform and PROUDLY. As I was always told...our competitors wear their uniforms...why shouldn't we?

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Me being a military veteran, I think uniforms for all would bring back some of the pride that seems to be diminishing. I my self would be proud to wear the postal uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all postal carries should at least wear a uniform top . It helps the public to know that you represent the Postal Service.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all postal carries should at least wear a uniform top . It helps the public to know that you represent the Postal Service.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think all carriers should have a uniform shirt. It looks more professional. My customers are concerned when the see a cca not in uniform.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I myself am a rural carrier and most of my tee shirts I wear do have postal worker or rural carrier on them I like for my customers to recognize me as an employee of the usps so I think maybe a teeshirt type with usps rural carrier would be great

    Jul 10, 2017

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