Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Pending Postal Service Changes Could Delay Mail And Deliveries, Advocates Warn

July 29, 2020
On his first day on the job last month, new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy addressed the nearly half-million U.S. Postal Service career employees in a video message.

He talked of a "trajectory for success" and said that "we will focus on creating a viable operating model that ensures the Postal Service continues fulfilling its public service mission."12:01 PM ET
Brian Naylor


DeJoy, the nation's 75th postmaster general — a line that stretches back to Benjamin Franklin — is a major donor to President Trump and other Republicans. He previously headed a North Carolina-based logistics company.


Managers have told postal workers that under DeJoy, the post office is about to embark on what's been called a long-overdue "operational pivot." It means that among other things, late-arriving mail will now be left behind by carriers and delivered the next day. Overtime will be eliminated.

Those moves upset some workers, who take seriously the unofficial motto of the Postal Service that holds: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" — a phrase from the Greek historian Herodotus chiseled into the granite of New York City's general post office.

"There seems to be a sea change here," says Philip Rubio, a history professor at North Carolina A&T State University and a former letter carrier. Rubio says DeJoy seems intent on making the Postal Service more of a business than a service.
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Trump has frequently criticized the Postal Service, charging that it gives favorable deals to online retailers such as Amazon, whose CEO, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post, another target of Trump's ire.

Actually, a government study found, e-commerce package deliveries are profitable for the Postal Service — although not sufficient to offset the decline in other types of mail.


Dimondstein says the changes could have real-world consequences, including, he says, delays in delivering medicine, census forms — and even mail-in ballots, adding the notion of leaving mail behind "runs counter to everything" postal workers believe.

One postal worker, who asked not to be identified because the person was not authorized to speak publicly, told NPR of a pharmaceutical company that had complained of delays in picking up its outgoing shipments.
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"I am sick to my stomach," the worker said. "How can the United States Postal Service deny the pickup of outgoing mail for any customer — let alone a pharmaceutical company that is mailing medication?"

This worker said the Postal Service used to take pride that every piece of mail went out by the end of the day. Now, the worker says, that's changed, adding: "It's crazy."


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