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- Heavy mail day.
A note on this week’s cover story: On Aug. 18, the day after we sent our Aug. 19 issue to the printer, but the day before it hits streets and goes live on this website, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a statement addressing the furor over his changes at the USPS, both proposed and already executed. Within a few hours, union leader Mark Dimondstein issued a response to that statement; both statement are reproduced below in full.
DeJoy at least doesn’t hide his intentions to make over this constitutionally appointed public service function like a poster child for capitalism: “I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective.”
Dimondstein: “This is the United States Postal Service, not Postal Business [emphasis ours]. It is overwhelmingly supported by the people and belongs to the people. They have made it clear that they intend to keep it.” Bet.
It’s good that the overwhelming what-the-hell reaction of the American people forced DeJoy to react. But it’s worth noting the yawning chasms of omitted answers to the nation’s questions. For instance:
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Statement
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued the following statement today:
The United States Postal Service will play a critical role this year in delivering election mail for millions of voters across the country. There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether the Postal Service is ready, willing and able to meet this challenge.
I want to make a few things clear:
The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall. Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards. The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day. The 630,000 dedicated women and men of the Postal Service are committed, ready and proud to meet this sacred duty.
I am announcing today the expansion of our current leadership taskforce on election mail to enhance our ongoing work and partnership with state and local election officials in jurisdictions throughout the country. Leaders of our postal unions and management associations have committed to joining this taskforce to ensure strong coordination throughout our organization. Because of the unprecedented demands of the 2020 election, this taskforce will help ensure that election officials and voters are well informed and fully supported by the Postal Service.
I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.
I want to assure all Americans of the following:
• Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
• Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
• No mail processing facilities will be closed.
• And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.
In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.
I am grateful for the commitment and dedication of all the men and women of the Postal Service, and the trust they earn from the American public every day, especially as we continue to contend with the impacts of COVID-19. As we move forward, they will have the full support of our organization throughout the election.
Statement by Mark Dimondstein,
President, American Postal Workers Union
Announcement by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy That Recent Changes Slowing the Mail Will Be Temporarily Reversed
The members of the American Postal Workers Union applaud the efforts of postal customers who, along with civil rights and veterans organizations, other labor unions, community groups, and elected officials, pushed back against newly implemented policies instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. They fought against those measures that were designed to delay mail by canceling overtime, limiting mail transportation, eliminating sorting machines, and reducing Post Office hours.
We welcome the postmaster’s reversal of these policies. 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.
However, this fight for the public Post Office is far from over.
The Covid-19 induced economic crisis is deeply affecting the projected finances of the United States Postal Service. As a public agency that normally does not rely on tax dollars, a steep drop in revenue linked to the pandemic will cause the USPS to run out of money early next year.
In order for postal workers to continue to carry out their vital work and deliver for the people every day, the USPS is in immediate need of $25 billion in Covid-related financial relief. It’s time for Congress to deliver.
Up until now, the Trump administration has blocked the USPS from any direct financial assistance. The USPS is an essential public service that binds the country together and delivers vital public health information, medicine, financial transactions and needed supplies to every American household and business and is a critical component in our election process with vote-by-mail access to the ballot box.
We do our job. Congress and the administration need to do theirs and ensure that postal workers can safely and reliably deliver for the people of the country during this year and beyond.
The struggle to save the public Postal Service is far from over. The USPS, which delivers to 160 million addresses every day and is normally supported by the sale of stamps and services, needs emergency financial help. And we must ensure that these rollbacks announced today are made permanent and that the people’s Post Office remains a public service. This is the United States Postal Service, not Postal Business. It is overwhelmingly supported by the people and belongs to the people. They have made it clear that they intend to keep it.