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On Top Of Longstanding Problems, Some Chicago Area Residents Say Mail Delivery Has Gotten Worse In 2022

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- We heard about a lot of postal problems in 2021, and the New Year is bringing a new crop of trouble.

Between COVID-19 and the weather, some of our viewers say the Post Office is letting them down. CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov went to check on those concerns Wednesday.

In Oak Park, people in one neighborhood said their Post Office has failed to deliver their mail for a week – and that may be a symptom of bigger mail problems yet to come. Indeed, the New Year has brought new mail headaches for residents of one specific block.

"It's just been really erratic," said Tim Caffrey.

Caffrey lives on the affected block, and he said mail service has been erratic since last year. But he said it has gotten even worse since the start of 2022.

"The severe weather, in addition to the pandemic in the last few weeks, we've had very sporadic delivery of our mail," he said, "We haven't had mail since last week."

People living in the neighborhood in Oak Park are not the only ones who have reached out to us with concerns about irregular or a complete lack of mail delivery lately. Staffing shortages have been a problem since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for Chicago's postal region indicates those shortages continue. But he did not answer our question about the percentage of postal employees currently out because of COVID.

Caffrey wants answers too.

"Some sort of response from the Postal Service. Whether it's an apology or an explanation, there doesn't seem to be any mention of it," Caffrey said. "You just continue to have bad service."

And there are concerns that Post Office problems could get worse once the mandate that all federal workers be vaccinated kicks in next month. Last week, the deputy U.S. Postmaster General sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor asking that the mandate be temporarily waived.

Deputy Postmaster General Douglas Tulino stated the vaccine will likely result in the "loss of many employees" – and combine that with the mandate's timing during peak season and a tight job market, Tulino wrote it could have a "catastrophic impact" on the Post Office's ability to provide service.

"It's disruptive and it's disappointing," Caffrey said.

The aforementioned postal spokesperson said local management is aware of delivery issues in the area of Oak Park in question, and is taking steps to address concerns.

He said all mail is being delivered Wednesday, and expects delivery will improve this week.

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