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 (96)

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  • anon

    The CCA's at the office where I work have been working for six months to over a year and still have not received uniforms. The manager asked them to put their order in and he would process it, and again, nothing. The public do not feel comfortable with non-uniform postal workers.

    Nov 17, 2017
  • anon

    Just saw a delivery driver dressed like a bum!! Plymouth MA, untucked flannel shirt, red and black, sloppy dirty looking jeans, and a dirty baseball cap. You should be ashamed! !

    Nov 16, 2017
  • anon

    I definitely feel all delivery personnel should wear a uniform shirt / jacket. Especially with rural carriers driving their own personal vehicles. If for no other reason than to help identify themselves as they approach a residence.

    Nov 14, 2017
  • anon

    My LLV is my uniform. I spend most of my time in it, no one sees me without it parked 10 feet away. I don't know where you work, but all carriers in our office look professional. I have seen a few people wearing uniforms from other offices, they are ghastly blue looking buggy things. I think it would turn many carriers away from this job if they were required to wear blue rugs. Not wearing a uniform only becomes a problem if you are delivering out of a personal vehicle, but in our office no one is even allowed to do that, except for some special routes.

    Oct 29, 2017
  • anon

    I think every postal worker should have a shirt, at least. Can it cost the USPS that much to buy 2 shirts for each employee?

    Oct 08, 2017
  • anon

    Only about $16,000,000.00

    Oct 23, 2017
  • anon

    Uniforms should be mandatory. Why is this even a question.

    Sep 08, 2017
  • anon

    Every form of employment in which employees interact regularly with the public maintains some sort of dress code. From NPS rangers, to electric company employees; a uniform provides a sense of unity and trust for the public. Why should the rural USPS carriers be any different? I think it's way beyond time for them to get in a uniform. Why should this even be a debate?

    Aug 28, 2017
  • anon

    Honestly, I really don't care what they wear as long as they actually bother to deliver the mail. To me delivery is a bigger concern over what the person delivering it is wearing. Fix the bigger problems first then worry about a dumb uniform.

    Aug 28, 2017
  • anon

    I recently converted to regular from CCA. I do not care about the image I project to the public. USPS should get over themselves. If my station managers and supervisors weren't complete slobs I might care. If my LLV wasn't falling apart I might care how I looked. If my case didn't smell like mildew I might care how I look. I actually want the customers on my route to see what a dirty place the post office has become. For a day or two it was a huge issue for managment that uniforms must be worn. I'm not in uniform just jeans and a concert shirt. Was told I would be sent home if not in uniform. I was like okay send me home. Yeah they didn't and they didn't bring up the uniform issue again. I'll look like a mailman when I'm payed like I should be.

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    Make the rural carriers buy their temp. uniforms from USPS if they want to work for USPS.

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    Provide rural carriers with right-hand Jeeps that have a permanently affixed graphics and one permanent mounted amber halogen beacon. . Those graphics should display a small USPS eagle logo with large gold lettering that says "RURAL CARRIER". Provide the same on the rear with a one reflective stripe on the rear bumper.

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    There should be a different but official uniform for rural or temporary letter carriers. Maybe a distinctive colored stripe down the sleeves and pants. This would help prevent fraud, waste and abuse. The uniform should clearly read RURAL CARRIER or TEMPORARY under the USPS logo. Also, they should have a different colored name badge and have it visible while on-duty. Also, require all permanent USPS employees to wear only approved uniforms that meet the highest professional standards in dress and grooming (ban the use of baseball caps).

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    YES YES YES....Uniforms are a must .

    Aug 11, 2017
  • anon

    The carrier represents the company. What he/she looks like is a direct expression of the company. No dress code welcomes some very interesting expressions.

    Jul 28, 2017
  • 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

    Hey Are rural carriers able to purchase uniforms from the union?

    Aug 22, 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

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