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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s plans to shake up the agency are gathering opposition from some of its employees.
The US Postal Service has had financial problems for years. It lost $ 9 billion last year. Not backed by tax dollars; funded by post and services.
DeJoy, who previously ran a logistics company, said the agency was in a “financially unstable position, stemming from a significant drop in mail volume and a broken business model”.
DeJoy has already banned postal workers from working overtime. He noted that an inspector general report found billions of dollars spent on overtime costs in fiscal year 2019.
He wants the incoming mail to be left behind and delivered the next day. On Friday, he announced a new organizational structure for the agency’s executives.
Post workers and their unions are alarmed.
“Mail is starting to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed,” said Kimberly Karol, president of the Iowa Post Workers Union and a postal clerk in Waterloo, Iowa.
As a result of the recent changes, Carol told Noel King to NPR Morning edition, a mail processing machine was removed from its facility in Waterloo and the others were removed to Iowa.
As for the policy of leaving some letters behind for the next day, another postal worker told NPR last month: “I’m sick in the stomach,” knowing that means medications can be delayed in receiving recipients.
Carol echoed that point: “I grew up in a culture of service where every part had to be delivered, to be delivered every day.” She said the new Postal Service policies “are not allowing us to deliver every part every day, as we have done in the past”.
Other postal workers “across the country” agree, she said.
A paper carrier in Cincinnati was told to leave the post office if he would request the use of overtime.
“We are already short-sighted,” she told the Government Executive. “We do not have enough people to do all the roads without using overtime.”
Karol argues that the measures will not save money either. “I see this as a way to undermine public confidence in the postal service,” she said. “It is not saving costs. We are spending more time trying to implement these policy changes and, in our offices, it costs more overtime.”
Perhaps the biggest alarms are being heard from members of Congress, who are concerned about the prospect of major changes to the Postal Service during an election that is expected to see more mail voting than ever before.
At this point, however, Carol is safe.
“The Postal Service has been established for 200 years,” she said. “We have a history of the ability to process mail, and we have developed and perfected our methods for all that time. So even though the postmaster general is taking actions that have begun to affect that, having that preparation in advance of these elections “We still have the system that will do it.”
Jeevika Verma produced the audio interview.