Rural carrier Adam Stalilonis pickets Tuesday outside the Oakland Post Office claiming he is not being paid for hours worked handling a surge of packages and mail since the onset of COVID-19. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Adam Stalilonis marched alone on Tuesday.

He wore a T-shirt purchased six months ago with customized white block lettering on black fabric. He wore it commuting to work a few times, but never on the job. Stalilonis chose to break it out Tuesday outside the post office.

I don’t get paid to deliver Amazon

I don’t work for free

Those are the reasons that caused the 36-year-old Stalilonis to picket outside his employer Tuesday. He found out Monday that two grievances asking for extra pay for an increased workload were denied at the national level, so he picketed outside of the Oakland Post Office on the sidewalk for about five hours after his shift. He had approval from town authorities, he said.

Because his route is accounted as piecework, where compensation is tallied off package volume, Stalilonis claimed he is owed upward of $5,000.

“We didn’t slip between the cracks on this,” Stalilonis said. “This is woeful and deliberate. They know. It’s all scanned. It’s all quantified. It’s all accounted. Now, they’ll never share that information with you or me, but they have it.”

Oakland Postmaster Roland Noyes, whose office directly overlooked Stalilonis’ demonstration, declined comment when approached by the Morning Sentinel. Many drivers honked horns in support, and some patrons offered words of encouragement.

“Great son of a gun, I’m proud of ya!” one man shouted from his car.

There were few, if any, negative interactions.

“I think if the public knew that the postal service wasn’t paying us, they would contact their representative. They would do something. I understand they’re not a private company, but there’s negative publicity if you aren’t paying people,” Stalilonis said. “I think if the public knew, it would get fixed.”

There is a “culture of fear” among other employees, and Stalilonis said he’s been asked not to contact the media. Not only did he contact reporters, but he wrote letters to Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins.

“People are very fearful, more fearful than you’d expect,” Stalilonis said.

Rural carrier Adam Stalilonis pickets Tuesday outside the Oakland Post Office claiming that he is not being paid for hours worked handling a surge of packages and mail since the onset of COVID-19. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Stephen Doherty offered a general comment in an email.

“We respect our employees’ rights to express their opinions and participate in informational picketing while off the clock,” Doherty wrote. “We do not comment on personnel actions. ”

Stalilonis began working as a mail carrier in April 2014 as a substitute in Oakland. He left in late September 2017 and worked at FedEx for a year before returning to the Oakland Post Office in the fall of 2018 after Amazon delivery was added for his part-time six days  per week route.

Stalilonis said his rural route is paid according to the amount of packages delivered, which was last counted in 2016. There was an option to count in 2018, but at the time Stalilonis and management agreed that it was fair and no count was needed.

Amazon was added to the route in the spring of 2018, adding a little time to the route that usually takes about three hours to complete. Since March and the onset of COVID-19, Stalilonis said his routes can last upward of four hours and added that he’s unpaid for up to three hours per week delivering increased online orders, mostly through Amazon.

“This spring when COVID hit, it just exploded,” Stalilonis said.

According to third quarter numbers from the U.S. Postal Service, shipping and packages from online orders experienced “substantial growth.”

“Significant declines in our mail volumes as the result of the pandemic were largely offset by corresponding growth in our package business,” Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy said in a news release.

Rural carrier Adam Stalilonis pickets Tuesday outside the Oakland Post Office claiming that he is not being paid for hours worked handling a surge of packages and mail since the onset of COVID-19. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

The Oakland Post Office has seven carriers, Stalilonis said. There are two city carriers on hourly pay, one full-time and one part-time, three full-time rural carriers and Stalilonis, a part-time rural carrier who does the “auxiliary” route. There are also three substitute carriers in Oakland.

Stalilonis said Noyes supports him. However, Noyes declined Stalilonis’ request for contact information for Lisa Hamby, postal operations manager for the U.S. Postal Service’s Northern New England District.

Stalilonis is not a member of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association union which represents the Oakland carriers, but is utilizing their services for the grievances. Debra Maddox is representing Stalilonis as he navigates his concerns. Stalilonis filed two grievances, the primary grievance for Amazon packages and a second for the load time and extra trip.

Stalilonis said he was told by Maddox there are 1,551 routes affected similarly in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Maddox did not return a message seeking comment.

Stalilonis tied his long brown hair into a ponytail. Equipped with water, food and a radio, the Oakland resident picketed alone.


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