The United States Postal Service has been caught in a scandal. Supervisors committed time card fraud resulting in loss of carriers’ wages.
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) reported that postal workers across the nation have experienced working overtime only for those hours not to be paid. According to CPI’s investigation, the USPS has been cheating carriers out of their pay for years. Supervisors have consistently illegally underpaid hourly workers.
The problem is not just contained to an unscrupulous few. From 2010 to 2019, at least 250 USPS managers in 60 post offices were caught committing time card fraud by changing mail carriers’ hours show them working less. This resulted in undistributed pay.
This is especially troubling, as USPS is the largest employer of Black people. The Black workforce within the postal system is between 20-25 percent. Due to a history of racism and segregation, the post office was often viewed by Black people as a place where they could work and experience career advancement.
While even the USPS has its own history of racism against Black carriers, its ties to the government made it easier for Black Americans to procure steady employment.
The USPS has been cited by the federal government a whopping 1,150 times for underpaying letter carriers and other employees since 2005. Those claims were equivalent to almost $660,000. However, the Labor Department allowed them to pay only half of what they owed. That is not an uncommon practice.
The USPS has cut over 140,000 jobs between 2007 to 2020. Last year, Congress gave the agency a $10 billion bailout after it claimed that it could not pay its operating costs.
Agency spokesman, David Partenheimer, said the agency does not condone time card fraud nor failing to pay employees.
“This position is messaged to the postal workforce directly from postal leaders, including the Vice President, Delivery Operations, who periodically reissue policies regarding appropriate timecard administration for supervisors,” he said.
However, this recurring issue is still not settled for many carriers. Despite arbitration, in almost 20 percent of previous cases, it is unknown if USPS ever paid the back wages.