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Postal employees in tight space

VALE — Employees at the Vale branch of the U.S. Post Office spend their mornings sorting and carting mail in cramped quarters.
The lack of space inside and outside of the building continues to be an issue, said Postmaster Meredith Queen.
“The territory is growing, and we don’t have room to hardly move in here,” she said.
State officials plan on addressing the needs of local employees by building a new post office to handle the rural routes. A meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Queen encourages anyone in the community with a vested interest, especially builders and landowners, to come. Everyone is welcome to attend.
“I think it’ll be good for people to see,” she said. “They don’t see how cramped and cluttered we are.”
The eight carriers, two clerks and postmaster work in a space of about 400 square feet. Stations are packed in next to each other, often requiring workers to move their bins just to let people pass.
Bins must be rolled one by one to the loading area. Most post offices have a loading dock where mail can be easily loaded into vehicles. The dock in Vale ends and carriers must walk down a step and across the gravel parking lot.
Safety issues arise outside of the building, employees said. In fact, a customer attempting to pull around the post office struck one of the employees’ vehicles earlier this week.
Aside from space and safety, employees have other problems at the post office whether the lights are on or off.
The florescent lighting in the building is unpredictable, said Chris Woody, carrier. Lights burn out constantly and when they’re replaced, they often don’t work for an extended amount of time, said Woody.
When the lights are off, rodents often find their way into the office. Woody hasn’t had a run in with mice so far, but she’s seen evidence of them.
“When the lights come on they run and hide,” she said.
Employees said there has been talk of a new building for about 10 years. Queen believes the time for a new post office has finally come.
“I really and truly think we’re going to get a post office,” she said. “They keep saying we’re on the list.”
The public meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Vale Post Office, 6070 Reepsville Road, Vale.
by Diane Turbyfill

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