What's up with the post office?

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I love living in Oak Park and count my blessings as to all its great attributes. But (you knew there was a "but") what gives with our Post Office on Lake Street? This is one institution in our village that really needs major change. For years, my friends and I have compared notes as to how long we have waited in line. I mean, waiting is part of life, but it's just out of hand at this post office. The other day, while I stood fifth in line for the service desk and it got to be close to 15 minutes with no movement, I thought, this is it, I have to at least write a letter. At the same time, the passport line was 10 people deep, hardly moving, and then that clerk came over to interrupt the work flow of the customer service clerk. Wow.

It's probably a difficult, tedious job, but when I go to other post offices in the area, none of these places are as slow as what's housed inside our large, beautiful building on Lake Street. I hope this gets some attention. They need additional staffing or some big change.

Karen Stoner

Oak Park

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Posted: August 24th, 2013 6:42 AM

Oh, and the Oak Park Lake St postal workers hating on customers as sport has gone as long as I've been in Oak Park, 20 years, way before the postal crisis.


Posted: August 24th, 2013 6:37 AM

Too true! I refer to the staff there as "equal opportunity haters." Neither your race, creed nor age matter: They HATE you, and it shows.

Bill from Oak Park  

Posted: August 24th, 2013 6:01 AM

(Cont). For my family and it was like getting a seeding ticket. First told to stand behind some imaginary line in the main hall of the building, then told to apply online (believe me I tried!). Then told I should bring in a check later for payment instead of debit card. What ticks me off is these are union positions and instead of the union ensuring we have have professionals it seems more intent on defending the union employee against the customer then providing professional service.

Bill from Oak park  

Posted: August 24th, 2013 5:54 AM

Will you liberal wing nuts quit blaming the GOP for stealing profits? The P.A.E.A. was bipartisan and co-sponsored by noted right wing reactionary Danny Davis. Look it up. Tell me why this agency that will eventually fail shouldn't have to put aside money now to ensure there is money to pay for promised health and retirement benefits. I bet a bunch of Illinois teachers wish the state had such a requirement. As for service at the main O.P post office, it stinks! I went to get Passports

Brennen from Oak park  

Posted: August 23rd, 2013 1:33 PM

Received a missed delivery slip. Went to the o.p. post office. Said they couldn't find the packet of checks. Supervisor doesn't know who the substitute mail carrier was that day. R u kidding me? U r a supervisor? Said she'd call me back. Never called me back. I went back in the next day. Same supervisor in crazy insulting tone said she hadn't forgotten about me. I called today, one week later, same "manager" said I need to call back and talk to other mgr? I blame her and def. her mgr./post mast?

No Tinfoil Required  

Posted: February 14th, 2013 4:18 PM

Clarity is right. W and the GOP wanted to bust the postal union and forcing them to fund pensions at a level not required elsewhere started the snowball effect that is given cover by the reality of fewer letters, etc. being mailed. Arguably, the USPS would be in long term trouble, but the pension issue certainly makes the situation acute.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 14th, 2013 2:54 PM

I highly doubt our legislators were thinking that our communications would primairly be electronic and there would be very little need for a govt run mail delivery system in the future. There is a place for the USPS, but it needs a significant reorganization better suited to the technological reality. If someone wants mail deliveried daily, they need to pay for that luxury. I'd be happy with mail delivery once or twice or week. Anything urgent is already devliered priority

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 14th, 2013 2:51 PM

I believe they would still be losing money even without the pension funding. The biggest issue is that they need congressional approval to raise the price of a stamp, they charge the same to deliver first class mail to low volume, rural areas, and their operations are designed around delivering daily mail pieces that are quickly becoming obsolete expect for junk mail. The USPS priority delivery is top notch, but there is no reason for daily mail delivery anymore


Posted: February 14th, 2013 2:33 PM

There is a bill in Congress now to reduce the immediate burden on the USPS. I doubt it will get by the House, though.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 14th, 2013 2:19 PM

I really find the whole thing shocking and leaves me with a whole lot of questions. The last I heard the postal union wasn't happy with losing Saturday post. Never heard this. I wonder why this hasn't been on the news. I can't believe I missed all this. It's kind of scary.


Posted: February 14th, 2013 10:30 AM

Speedway, in my opinion, and this may make me sound as if I'm wearing a tinfoil hat, I think at least part of the goal is to cause restructuring and reduce the number of employees and break the union. I know that sounds a little crazy but why else would a GOP controlled Congress have passed the onerous pension and benefit funding requirements when the USPS has funded those benefits way in excess of the rest of the government, most of private industry, and the military? It seems punitive.


Posted: February 13th, 2013 9:02 PM

It's stunning that people in OP aren't aware of the utterly cynical way the GOP has forced pension funding requirements on the USPS not expected of any other branch of the government. An additional $5.5 BILLION a year over the past six or eight years, and then they blame the post office for mismanagement, and the public buys it. Yeah. Who needs newspapers when you have weblogs?

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 13th, 2013 8:40 PM

Clarity - I did a brief check on line about the overfunding of the USPS pension fund. You are quite right. Didn't know that. Do you think they are overfunding the pension system now because the postal system as we have known it has become rather obsolete?


Posted: February 13th, 2013 5:01 PM

is too expensive for, say, FedEx to deliver to a single rural location. FedEx hands that off to the USPS who then delivers it with their regular carrier. I'm not a postal employee or the spouse of a postal employee. I just think they are getting a bum deal. They are not perfect but they function under some significant constraints.


Posted: February 13th, 2013 4:58 PM

Although pension costs may be part of the problem, the USPS is being required to fund benefits 75 years in advance. They are being charged for employees that not only don't work there yet but that haven't been born yet. Additionally, according to the GAO, the USPS retirement overpaid the federal government for the benefits in the past by over $50 million. Lower mail volumes are part of the problem. Another is delivery to all addresses. USPS finishes delivery for some parcel carriers because it

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 13th, 2013 4:53 PM

@Clarity - I might be wrong but the cost of pensions are part of the problem. Less mail is another. The USPS is in trouble and has been in the news of late, stating that. Will it impact us using their services, undoubtedly. The USPS's parcel service has not been effected yet.


Posted: February 13th, 2013 1:36 PM

Not that it affects the service but the USPS does NOT have a huge unfunded pension problem. Their pension is currently funded at higher levels than most, if not all, government and private pensions. The problem around the pension is that in 2006 Congress passed a law requiring the USPS over a 10-year period to prefund all retirement benefits for postal employees for the next 75 years. That pension funding alone accounts for half or more of any deficits run by the postal service.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 13th, 2013 1:19 PM

Remember, that the USPS is closing post offices. If you don't use it, might it not go on the "to be closed" list. We are lucky to have 2 post offices. Some smaller towns are finding that they now have none.

I won't go there  

Posted: February 13th, 2013 12:59 PM

The last thing they need is more rude employees added to the staff. I go the extra blocks to River Forest or to the south branch. Why keep going and encourage bad behavior?

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 13th, 2013 10:58 AM

I think we are going to need to get use to the wait. US Post office is broke. They have a huge unfunded pension problem and we are not using the post office as much since we have email. Post offices are starting to close, mail will only be delivered M-F starting in Aug. Why the employees working there don't help each other more is a good ?

Libbey Paul from Oak Park  

Posted: February 13th, 2013 10:49 AM

I totally agree. Not only are lines painful, but I've found several of the staff are surly. What a bummer. I now go to the River Forest office -- people are much friendlier. What a pity that Oak Park can't do better.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 13th, 2013 10:40 AM

I must agree that the main Oak Park post office is understaffed and wonder why supervisors don't step up and help out when the lines get too long. Does our local postmaster ever leave his office and interact with patrons? What's he doing to reduce congestion? The facility used to have a vending machine that dispensed stamps but it was removed after the retirement of the man who serviced the machine. It's incredible that the postmaster is still unable to address the problem by installing a replacement.


Posted: February 13th, 2013 9:48 AM

I have to agree, for years I have heard terrible things about the Lake Street PO and the most shocking was the "higher" up staff going into their offices and watching TV all day. I drop off Bulk Mailings all the time with minimal problems but go into the main part and its an absolute nightmare! I go to other PO's just to avoid them.

Dylan Bellisle from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 12th, 2013 11:11 PM

More staff is definitely needed. A note though, the post office in Forest Park is always empty and very quick!

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