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A war over mail delivery is breaking out at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), where public and private sector postal workers are fighting with each other over more driving hours.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the union that represents hundreds of thousands of U.S. Postal Service employees, is challenging a request for more driving hours by private trucking companies that also carry mail.

The National Star Route Mail Contractors Association requested an exemption from driving safety rules for the private trucking companies that contract with USPS to deliver mail.

{mosads}At issue is a regulation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that prohibits truck drivers from operating commercial motor vehicles for more than 14 hours without adequate rest.

The safety regulation is intended to prevent fatigued truck drivers from falling asleep at the wheel and causing accidents.

The exemption would allow these private mail carriers to get around the rule — something that has the public sector mail carriers who are employed directly by USPS up in arms.

The U.S. Postal workers, which compete with the private trucking companies to carry mail across the country, are challenging the exemption because they say it would jeopardize road safety. 

The FMCSA received more than 170 comments on the exemption request before the comment period closed last month. The American Postal Workers Union is now calling for a public hearing on the exemption request.

“Private trucking firms are willing to risk safety on the roads so they can squeeze a few extra hours of labor from already-overworked truck drivers,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in a statement. “This is a dangerous proposal and regulators should reject it.” 

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