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Postal Reporter

Union Warns Postal Equipment Being Removed

Trump is reducing postal capacity at important locations leading up to key election

Posted on
Aug 13, 2020

As UCOMM previously reported, Trump is meddling with the post office in an effort to limit mail-in voting. According to the report below from Salon, the Post Office is now taking more proactive steps to reduce their ability to process mail.

"We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail — including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters — that is essential to millions of Americans," they wrote in a letter to DeJoy, calling the cost-cutting measures "counterproductive and unacceptable." The USPS, which underwent a controversial staff shake-up after DeJoy took over, recently advanced a proposal that would nearly triple states' postage costs for mail-in ballots and is also reportedly planning service cuts. But Kimberly Karol, the head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, told NPR that there have been even more changes than previously reported.

"We are beginning to see those changes and how it is impacting the mail. Mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we're seeing equipment being removed," she said on Tuesday. "So we are beginning to see the impact of those changes." "Curious," exclaimed host Noel King, "I hadn't heard about this one. Equipment being removed. What equipment?" "The sorting equipment that we use to process mail for delivery," said Karol, who is also a postal clerk. "In Iowa, we are losing machines . . . so that also hinders our ability to process mail in the way that we had in the past."

USPS spokesman David Partenheimer told Salon that the equipment removal was among actions the agency was taking "focused on increasing operational efficiency." DeJoy, who took over the cash-strapped agency in June, said the USPS was "vigorously focusing on the ingrained inefficiencies in our operations" in a Friday statement.

"By running our operations on time and on schedule, and by not incurring unnecessary overtime or other costs, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable and to be able to continue to provide high-quality, affordable service," he said, adding that the agency would "aggressively monitor and quickly address service issues." DeJoy said the operational changes were "necessary" given the cash crunch. "This realignment will strengthen the Postal Service by enabling us to identify new opportunities to generate revenue, so that we will have additional financial resources to be able to continue to fulfill our universal service obligation to all of America," he said.

Karol said DeJoy's changes have alarmed postal workers "all across the country." "His policies — although they've only been in place for a few weeks — are now affecting the way that we do business and not allowing us to deliver every piece every day as we've done in the past," she said. She also disputed that the changes were cost-cutting measures.

"I don't see this as cost-saving measures. I see this to undermine the public confidence in the mail service," she said. "It's not saving us. We are spending more time trying to implement changes, and in our office, it's costing more overtime."

Democrats included $25 billion to help the USPS in their coronavirus relief proposal in May, but Trump and Senate Republicans have balked at providing additional funding. Democrats have accused Trump and DeJoy of trying to "sabotage" the mail service ahead of an expected surge in mail voting in November's election, which the USPS has adamantly denied. Democrats called on the USPS inspector general's office to review changes made during DeJoy's tenure, and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the committee which oversees the agency, launched his own probe, too. Despite her concerns about the mail slowdown, Karol expressed optimism that the USPS was prepared to handle the expected increase in mail-in ballots.

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