Postal workers and union leaders across the nation are warning this week that despite Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s suspension of mail operation changes until after the election, the damage inflicted by the removal of mail sorting machines and other policies may be difficult to reverse.
While he agreed to suspend actions some have labeled an attempt to sabotage the general election, DeJoy did not commit to replacing the mailboxes or sorting machines already removed from locations throughout the United States.
One local postal union president in Michigan told CNN that USPS workers in Michigan were instructed not to return a dozen previously removed machines at a distribution center there.
“As of today, they were told not to power them back up,” Roscoe Woods, president of APWU Local 480-481, told CNN on Wednesday. Paul Hogrogian, national president for the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, toldCNN he doubts that machines impacted by DeJoy’s changes be returned, “especially since some have already been scrapped.”
WATCH: Inside USPS struggles over mail delays and election ballots https://t.co/P5x7zhQrQQ— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 18, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that she had spoken with DeJoy, who said he didn’t plan on replacing the removed collection boxes and sorting machines.
Earlier today, I spoke with Postmaster General DeJoy regarding his alleged pause in operational changes. During our conversation, he admitted he has no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other infrastructure that have been removed.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 19, 2020
Following public outcry over the removal of Postal Service mail drop boxes around the country last week, DeJoy announced he would suspend any further collection of the boxes and halt the removal of postal sorting machines until after the November election.
“We welcome the postmaster’s reversal of these policies,” Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, said in a statement Tuesday. “These rollbacks would not have happened without public outcry and civic action. The public would not have been aware of these regressive policies if postal workers around the country had not sounded the alarm.”
Daleo Freeman, president of the American Postal Workers Union in Cleveland, joined a growing chorus of elected officials, watchdog groups, postal workers, and U.S. citizens concerned that DeJoy, a major GOP donor who holds investments in companies that compete with the USPS, may be trying to move the mail service to the private sector.
“Maybe it’s because of the mail-in balloting,” Freeman said. “Or maybe it’s because [DeJoy is] trying to make sure that they continue on their path to try to privatize the people’s post office. The proof is in the pudding. That’s what’s I’ve been telling people. And his actions are speaking.”
DeJoy is set to testify at a virtual Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Friday, ahead of his scheduled appearance before the Democrat-controlled House Oversight Committee.
The APWU, along with multiple advocacy groups, have organized a day of action on Tuesday, August 25.
“Everybody is fundamentally watching the beginning of the dismantling of the Postal Service,” Lori Cash, a postal worker in New York, told NBC News.
“I think everyone is feeling the pain of, you know, why are we doing this? Why are we cutting service?” Cash asked. “And why are we causing such turmoil to our customers?”
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