Nick Calabria, U.S. Postal Service
On this episode of Working: Syracuse, we speak to Nick Calabria, a postal worker for the U.S. Postal Service since 2001. Calabria works for an agency that began a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Benjamin Franklin served as the first postmaster general in 1775, and mail has been delivered Monday through Saturday since 1863 by postal workers on horses, motorcycles, planes, and auto trucks. There was even a failed attempt at distributing mail via missiles in 1959. Today, Calabria delivers letters, packages, and parcels across Syracuse in different mail trucks, including the Grumman Long Life vehicle, a specialized and iconic truck developed in the late '80s for this job by a company in Pennsylvania.

In the past 10 years, packages have become the bulk of what is delivered by U.S. Postal Service workers. Letter mail has decreased by 20 billion in volume, and packages have increased 2 billion in volume since 2008. The bump in packages from third-party companies such as Amazon helps keep the agency in business, Calabria says. However, the additional weight of boxes and time restrictions such as next-day shipping make for back-straining work. The U.S. Postal Service continues to face economic challenges and is considering terminating Saturday delivery and closing thousands of postal plants nationwide. But Calabria remains optimistic about the agency's future and says most employees are "lifers" who remain with the U.S. Postal Service until retirement.