Mail For Rural Williston Stacks Up After Postal Workers Quit

WILLISTON, N.D. – Mail carriers here will work Sunday to catch up on a backlog of undelivered mail to rural Williston residents after four local U.S. Postal Service employees suddenly quit, a spokesman said Saturday.

Williston carriers have been unable to complete full delivery of some routes in the past week, affecting a varying number of customers each day, said Postal Service spokesman Peter Nowacki. The Williston employees who resigned during the past 2½ weeks gave little or no notice, he said.

“When they leave, their knowledge of delivering mail and their particular routes goes with them,” Nowacki said. “We face the same hiring difficulties that every other business in the Oil Patch area is dealing with.”

Blaine Jorgenson, who farms in Williams County, said he started to wonder whether someone had stolen his mail when his mailbox was empty on consecutive days.

But after calling neighbors, Jorgenson learned he wasn’t alone.

“Nobody out here has had mail since Tuesday,” Jorgenson said.

Mail delivery in rapidly growing Bakken communities has been unreliable at times, prompting North Dakota’s congressional delegation to seek improvement from U.S. Postal Service leadership.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., is hosting Drew Aliperto, U.S. Postal Service vice president for area operations, in Williston on Monday. A roundtable meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at the Williams County Annex, 302 E. Broadway.

In addition to delivering Sunday, the Postal Service has identified additional employees who will come to the area to assist within the next few days, Nowacki said.

“The current Williston employees are terrific,” Nowacki said. “They are working extremely hard and long hours, doing everything in their power to provide service to their customers.”

Customers have not been able to pick up their mail at the post office because staffing issues prevented the mail from being sorted for individual customers, he said.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe visited Williston in August and pledged to improve mail delivery.

Donahoe said in an interview during that visit that the Postal Service could potentially raise salaries for employees in the Bakken, but he didn’t think the Postal Service would be able to assist employees with housing.

Staff turnover is a challenge for many businesses in northwest North Dakota, largely due to high housing prices and competitive oilfield wages.

19 Responses

    1. retired & luvin it

      Williston area is a disaster. Huge numbers of people moving in to work in the oil fields and prices for everything going through the roof. Housing and other services are nonexistant. Many local people have been forced out of their apartments because landlords have doubled, tripled, and quadrupled the rents because the oil field workers can and will pay it. People living in their cars in 30 degree below winters. Wouldn’t be surprised it the employees quit to go work in the fields. That’s one problem with a government job. Wages are fixed and in most parts of the country carriers and clerks make more than the average pay and benefits but in a boom place like Williston their good government wages don’t go far unless they were born & bred there and already own a house. That’s not managements fault, and don’t get me wrong, I have no love for postal mismanagement. It’s the location and the oil boom.

          1. JonDough

            Cry us a river. Talk to the people who live in New York or San Diego, etc.

            I never understood how Postal Workers made it in those high cost of living areas, but they do. And most of them don’t whine about it.

            So suck it up or go back to canada…

    2. RightWay

      Wrong, Postal Managment did not force the workers to quit with out notice. The workers lack of professionalism caused this problem. These workers were hired to do a job and new going in what the wages were. It is obvious the workers conspired to quit at the same time. That is unprofessional and wrong.

  1. steve

    That Nowacki is towing the company line and Donahue said that service will get better no matter how badly they have to treat the carriers.
    the public needs to see that the PO is just a maximum security prison.Every office is the same. Management is traind to lie from top to bottom to cover up the mistreatment of the craft employee.
    Every carrier in the country should wildcat strike Christmas week and the worthless union should sanction it.
    The problem is the union only wants to make a token effort at supporting it’s members . they are just interested in your dues, and where the next NALC party is going to be held.

  2. Coast Office Worker

    Donahoe said that the Postal Service could possibly raise salaries for their employees in the Bakken area ??? Unless these are TRC’s or CCA’s, how does he expect that to happen ? Can’t just create an area wage overnight; it doesn’t work like that.

    1. JonDough

      Better move to Hawaii or Alaska. Not going to get any more pay in the lower 48 without giving it to all of us.

      So, in that line of thinking, go ahead and fight for more money, it’ll help all of us out!

  3. Quasimojo

    Postal regulations require the local Postmaster to deliver mail in emergencies such as short-staffing. But, of course , that is rarely done: they just force carriers to work 12-16 hours and curtail deliveries. Although they are breaking postal regulations by curtailing delivery before having the Postmaster get out and deliver.

  4. capsquaretree

    When you have a bloated, unresponsive management, union,etc., one must take matters into ones own hands. Bravo to these employees who said enough is enough. Oh sure it’s nice to have a job, but what is ones dignity worth?

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