Because the USPS guarantees universal service, its network of about 150 million addresses is far more extensive than that of private services like FedEx or UPS. Amazon takes advantage of this infrastructure and hires the USPS to perform what’s called “last-mile” delivery. Packages from Amazon’s local fulfillment warehouses are “injected” (as Amazon describes it) into postal stations and taken out along with letters, which saves Amazon the most expensive part of a cross-country delivery. According to one estimate, around 40 percent of Amazon’s packages pass through USPS hands.
This has had a direct impact on workers in mailrooms and delivery trucks across the country. And union representatives and rank-and-file workers say that USPS management has pursued a profitable deal with Amazon without regard for conditions for clerks and carriers on the ground.
A decade ago, USPS was insolvent and Congress continued to bail them out. Now, thanks to 40% of Amazon’s packages going through the post office, they are making more money than ever but without any investment because basically, they have to keep running lean to pay back debts they incurred in the age of email before online retail was a thing.
USPS is fine but also not fine. Old trucks, non-union workforce growing, workplace hazards, stresses and inefficiencies since USPS is basically setup to be very efficient at letters but very bad at large packages.
I think this will all work out but it’s going to be a painful decade for anyone involved there. I can attest, the rural mail carrier on my block (meaning they have their own car and are reimbursed) is about 75% full of Amazon boxes by volume. The rest is a couple of trays of letters.
Also, this blog is awesome. Subscribed: http://savethepostoffice.com