Congressmen Tim Ryan Presses Postmaster General on Operational Changes that Could Cause Significant Mail Delays | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressmen Tim Ryan Presses Postmaster General on Operational Changes that Could Cause Significant Mail Delays

August 7, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC — Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) presses Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on operational changes at the US Postal Service (USPS) that could cause significant delays in mail delivery. In a letter with 83 other Members, Congressman Ryan expressed concerns over changes at the United State Postal Service and they called on the Postmaster General to cooperate with Congress's efforts to secure the future of the Postal Service.

“Playing games and undermining the postal service is the last thing we should be doing right now,” said Congressman Ryan. “More than ever, the public is counting on deliveries of their medications, supplies, and other critical letters and packages. I have already heard from many of my constituents in Northeast Ohio who aren’t getting mail, or are receiving it severely delayed. This is unacceptable. We must ensure the USPS has the proper resources and funding to continue their work, and the Administration must get the postal service back to normal operation. Lives depend on it.”

“It is vital that the U.S. Postal Service not reduce mail delivery times, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages,” wrote the Members.  “Eliminating overtime and directing postal workers to leave mail on the floor of postal facilities will erode confidence in the Postal Service and drive customers away, resulting in even worse financial conditions in the future.”

Recently, troubling reports have surfaced indicating that under the new Postmaster General, operations are being changed to cut costs – disregarding the critical and constitutionally mandated nature of the Postal Service’s mission:

“We stand ready to work with you on improving the financial condition of the Postal Service, in a way that guarantees the American people’s continued access to critical postal services in a timely manner,”added the Members. 

Click here to read the letter or see the full text below.

Mr. Louis DeJoy
Postmaster General
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W., Room 10300 Washington, D.C. 20260-1000

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy:

We are writing to express deep concerns about operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that could have negative impacts on service standards and cause significant delays in mail delivery. It is vital that the U.S. Postal Service does not reduce mail delivery hours, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages.

On July 14, 2020, official Postal Service documents were made public that outline significant changes to Postal Service operations. The documents detail a number of operational changes which “will be implemented in short order.” These changes include eliminating overtime and restrictions on certain letter carrier activities. The document states, “if we cannot deliver all mail” as a result of staffing shortages, “the mail will not go out.” The documents also detail transportation changes being implemented immediately to reduce costs, including prohibiting extra trips to deliver mail even if it means “mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks.” These changes will be part of an “ongoing pivot, which will have a number of phases” that the Postal Service will “swiftly implement.”

On July 22, 2020, your General Counsel and Executive Vice President sent a letter to the Oversight Committee claiming that these documents are not “official Postal Service memoranda.” His letter argued that these documents were prepared by a “mid-level manager” and another official who distributed them only in “the Southern Area,” so they “should not be treated as official statements of Postal Service policy.”

Unfortunately, his letter did not explain why these Postal Service officials issued these directives, or how they came to believe these policies should be implemented in their offices. Moreover, stakeholders including the American Postal Workers Union and letter carriers have reported similar practices being put in place across the country, indicating that these are not isolated incidents or the actions of rogue mid-level managers. The letter did not even mention the new ESAS initiative, which we learned of through press accounts.

While we share the goal of ensuring the Postal Service’s solvency, the rhetoric used in these documents compares the Postal Service to a private company concerned only with the bottom line, rather than the constitutionally mandated public service that it is. Eliminating overtime and directing postal workers to leave mail on the floor of postal facilities will erode confidence in the Postal Service and drive customers away, resulting in even worse financial conditions in the future.

In addition, no one from the Postal Service consulted with any relevant unions, the mailing and package industry, or other stakeholders before taking these drastic actions. These changes were also made without consultation with Members of Congress that are in ongoing negotiations over additional financial support for the Postal Service.

Before presenting any official business plan before the Board of Governors, it is crucial that the Postal Service brief Members of Congress and ensure their input is registered. To fail to do so, would be harmful to the efforts of those Members of Congress who are working diligently to craft cohesive postal reform legislation that would secure the USPS’s future for decades to come. Ignoring Congressional efforts and insight would only serve to hurt the service and the constituents it has served since its creation.

Millions of Americans rely heavily on the Postal Service for the delivery of essential items—including medications—particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. The operational changes reportedly taking place around the country put in doubt the ability of ill or at-risk populations to receive their medications on time, which could have dire results.

If the claims in your General Counsel’s letter are accurate—that these recently publicized documents should not be treated as official statements of Postal Service policy—then we urge you to immediately issue a directive to all Postal Service offices and employees explaining that none of the changes in these documents is valid, none of them was approved by Postal Service headquarters, and none of them should go into effect.

 

We stand ready to work with you on improving the financial condition of the Postal Service, in a way that guarantees the American people’s continued access to critical postal services in a timely manner.

 

Sincerely,

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