SAN JOSE (KCBS)— The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is hiring hundreds of letter carriers in the Bay Area, but it’s actually part of the agency’s cost-cutting strategy. The post office has been reducing staff and consolidating operations in the face of billion-dollar deficits.

240 new temporary mail carriers have already been hired in the Bay Valley Postal District alone, according to Spokesman Gus Ruiz. The search for an additional 150 more is on.

Ruiz said the temps make less than career carriers and are paid $15 an hour without benefits.

“Many of our employees have retired or taken advantage of the incentive to retire that we offer them. However, we still need someone to deliver the mail,” he said.

While they are hired as temporary employees without benefits that the career employees get, Ruiz said the path to a career exists, although it may be down the stream for the temps.

While letter volume is down, Ruiz said package delivery is up 14 percent in the last two years.

“So far no one has figured out how to email a sweater,” Ruiz said about people who opt for USPS delivery over other options, considering how normative online shopping has become.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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