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 (108)

We welcome your comments related to the topic on this page. Complaints about the Postal Service, including lost, stolen or mishandled mail, that are unrelated to the content on this page, will not be posted. Please visit the Contact Us page for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service.

Leave a comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
  • 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
  • anon

    As a retired city carrier for over 32 years and as silly as this may sound... but the customer's themselves are more comfortable with a delivery person in a uniform. I can't tell you how many times after I came back from a week of vacation, how many of my customer's would comment on not knowing who it was walking up to their house, because the person wasn't wearing a uniform or any other visible means of identifying themselves as a carrier for the USPS. Even just a shirt with a USPS patch would help.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    From Robert M Cohen, U.S.P.I. S. Retired Victim/Witness Coordinator, New York Division. I can honestly say that the appearance of Rural Carriers, as well as letter carriers who are required to wear approved uniforms while on duty has sunk to an embarrassing low. When I worked in New York many carriers wore whatever they wanted , including non approved items. Station managers and supervisors often did little about it because they were " Hapoy to have the bodies". I have lived in Wimauma, Florida since retiring in 2007. During this period I was employed by the O.I.G. as a Workers Compensation Fraud Analyst. I have seen rural carriers as well as letter carriers wearing items of clothing that are actually beachwear.Some wear shorts, tank tops, sandals, etc. Even in Brandon and Tampa uniform supplied letter carriers often wear uniform shirts without uniform pants. Another item in question are the vehicles rural carriers drive. Almost none in my area have marking that identify them as U.S. Postal Service related.Many are not clean. People have asked me how do you know the difference between a postal employee or a thief stopping at the box and I am unable to say anything other than " You cannot". I vote for uniforms, complete and neat as well as marked vehicles. If UPS and FedEx supply uniforms to their part timers and temporary workers we need to do the same otherwise we will continue to look like a second rate-under managed delivery service. Thank you, Robert Cohen

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Agreed! If you are going to work for the Post Office wear a uniform. This is the same rationale for any workplace dress code.

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    my customers know who i am no matter what. i dont need a postal monkey suit to say who i am.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Before usps I worked for places which rented uniforms. Employees got uniforms with their name in them. One day a week tge company pickexvthe dirty ones up for cleaning, and left the ones which had been cleaned. Upon separation employees had to turn them in. Might be more cost effective fir large facilities than buying them for employees who might not stay.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    My mother was a career Part-Time Flex (for 20 years) and she NEVER got a uniform and would've liked to have had one. She had to buy her own clothing of white shirts/blouses & blue pants to wear during work hours. If she had been allowed the uniform allowance she wouldn't have had to spend so much on "uniforms" to wear to work. At a minimum all Postal Employees unless working the counter in the Post Office should be required have a uniform shirt. The uniforms for the temporary employees should be issued & returned daily with an indication that this is a temporary employee.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Personally, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to professional symbolism and as far as a ‘Uniform Allowance’ by all means. If you don’t take care of your employees than who will?!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think Rural Carriers should at least have USPS Shirts

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    USPS LETTER CARRIER Is not expensive to have put on a T-SHIRT! All carriers REGARDLESS of where they live...should have AT THE VERY LEAST a t-shirt that identifies them. If they are seasonal...same applies. When they're done, turn the shirt in.

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    Did you know that most HCR contracts require the HCR Rural route carrier to wear a dark blue shirt and dark slacks, yet this is not enforced? As stated on the Statement of Work, on most contracts, the Supplier is supposed to purchase 5 shirts for each driver. The issue is this is not enforced by the Administrative Office sadly to say.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    We have had carriers without uniforms (both CCAS and rural) mistaken for someone stealing trucks or mail. In one case police were called, guns drawn and handcuffs used. For safety's sake I say everyone should have a uniform. It's also more professional and identifies us.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I COMPLETELY agree. During the holidays a "temp" employee was delivering our mail. All I saw was some strange man on my porch dressed in regular clothes. He had NO identification (visible). I was NOT opening my door to ask him who he was...

    Jul 11, 2017
  • anon

    I am an RCA and have been with the postal service for 3 years and counting. In my opinion, rural carriers and RCAs should at least be given some shirts with the postal logo on them . I spend a lot of money buying them so I look professional for work. I don't necessarily agree on the full uniform, but we should be given an allowance to get shirts, preferably ones that will keep us cool during summer months.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I agree with having them wear a uniform, both full & part time, as it shows respect & getting uniform compensation for it can be an incentive for more hires too. Rural carriers can make good money for a job for providing good service to the public, and seeing your rural carrier in a uniform gains more public trust and respect. Why not a uniform when you get paid for it? What's wrong with wearing a uniform for servicing the public trust, just my opinion.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    People don't recognize us as a postal employees because we don't wear a uniform, once we approach them and they can see our ID badge and in some places our LLV then they change their mind. I think we should wear a uniform. It's a matter of perception, customer service and professional image. We should be more competitive, the "brown team" and the "white team" are using it in a daily basis. it doesn't matter if you're substitute carrier or regular.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    No, but some kind of identification showing who they are and maybe some kind ID.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Why would you not be carrying around your postal id?

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    In my opinion, all postal carriers who work with public should wear uniforms to show their work and pride, so people can know that they are postal carriers, not intruders. Postal workers who work in jobs that has no contact with general public should be not required to be in uniform, just badge. Postal carriers should wear uniforms, just like British schoolchildren.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think a postal uniform should be worn by all delivery personnel. It gives a more professional appearance. I think it gives the public a more confident feeling about the carrier. The public also will know the carriers are actual postal workers and not someone trying to steal their mail or parcels.

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    I had an off duty policeman come to his door with his gun when i attempted a certified! His reasoning behind bringing a loaded handgun to his door was that he feared for his safety! As a rural carrier i fear for my safety and the safety of my fellow carriers daily! Too many accidents happen all too quickly! An uniform would alleviate the worry for our safety when going to customers doors especially during the winter months when we're out past dark!

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    Uniforms are important for the safety of the carrier and the customer. Since the carrier is going to be near the customer's home, he/she will be identifiable,thus having a reason to be there. Some, not all, will push the limits of a dress code (especially in summer), or have unusual propensity for slogan shirts that will not express what the Post Office in general, stands for :-) Why not have a uniform?

    Jul 10, 2017
  • anon

    No uniforms for Rural carriers & RCA's. RCA's come and go frequently and uniforms for them is an expense not necessary. Regular rural carriers, as a rule have minimal contact with their customers, and don't want or need uniforms. Better idea for spending money...put A/C in the vehicles used in hot climates and make them safe enough to drive!

    Jul 10, 2017

Pages

Recent Comments

Share this post


Monthly Archive