Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood with members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in Watertown to discuss operational issues at the United States Postal Service and call on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reverse harmful changes to operations. While DeJoy has halted further changes to postal service operations, disturbing reports have emerged of slow mail delivery, mail left sitting in facilities overnight, the sudden removal of mail collection boxes, and the challenges of delivering absentee ballots on time to election officials. The distribution facility in Syracuse, which services the region from Watertown to Binghamton, had 4 of its 15 high-speed sorting machines removed and potentially destroyed without notice, causing significant processing delays. Additionally, post offices across the country are at risk of job losses and reduced operations without federal relief. At a time when even more Americans, especially seniors, are relying on the postal service for the delivery of vital information, income, prescriptions and other goods to stay safe and healthy, Gillibrand is fighting to ensure the Postmaster General and the administration support USPS, rather than limit its services.
“In the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis, Postmaster General DeJoy has made harmful changes that jeopardize jobs and our ability to vote by mail, and delay critical deliveries for seniors, veterans, and small businesses. These disruptions are unacceptable and must be reversed,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Instead of making unnecessary changes in the face of multiple crises, the government should be working to get the Postal Service the resources it needs to meet unprecedented demand– this includes at least $25 billion for USPS in the next relief package. In the long term, we need legislation, like my Postal Banking Act, to shore up USPS and provide critical revenue. Congress must pass this legislation and deliver desperately needed resources to clean up the mess this administration has made.”
Nicole Burnett, President, APWU Local 257 said, “The American Postal Workers Union would like to express our appreciation and thank Senator Gillibrand for her support for USPS to continue its essential role in serving our local community. Postal workers can’t do this alone and we are grateful to have Senator Schumer leading the charge in restoring and preserving the excellent service New Yorkers and the American public have come to expect.”
“The U.S. Post Office has been an institution for communication since Benjamin Franklin appointed the first postmaster general by the Continental Congress in 1775. The Postal Service is recognized as the most trustworthy and respected government agencies and our citizens rely on us to deliver their information, medicine, and packages,” said Mark Bartlett, President of Branch 302 (Thousand Islands Region) of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). “The U.S. Postal Service is vital to the infrastructure of this country.”
The destructive changes imposed by Postmaster DeJoy threaten to slow down mail or compromise service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of New Yorkers who rely on the mail for medicines, essential goods, voting, correspondence, and for income. Recent changes are particularly harmful to the 1.3 million servicemembers and their families who serve both domestically and overseas because USPS is the only service that can deliver to the Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO) addresses used by our military overseas. Policies that restrict or delay mail disproportionately harm our servicemembers that rely on USPS for the delivery of medicines, ballots, bills, and oftentimes their only reliable connection with loved ones during military service. Additionally, with millions more Americans relying on mail in ballots for November and unprecedented election challenges due to the pandemic, recent changes to USPS could increase costs for states and make it impossible for election mail to be delivered in time.
In the face of repeated attacks from the Trump administration on the Postal Service, Senator Gillibrand is calling for at least $25 billion for USPS in the next coronavirus relief package. Additionally, Gillibrand is renewing her call for the Postal Banking Act, which is primed to protect USPS, create approximately $9 billion in essential revenue, and safeguard democracy by ensuring Americans across the country have access to vote by mail. The Postal Banking Act would strengthen the Postal Service by establishing a nonprofit bank offering low-cost checking and savings accounts, ATMs, mobile banking, and low-interest loans. According to a report from the USPS Inspector General, this proposal would create $9 billion in revenue for the Postal Service each year. The postal bank would also help the millions of Americans who have been economically devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the Postal Banking Act would safeguard American democracy by ensuring everyone has access to vote by mail. By funding the Postal Service, the legislation will help maintain the more than 30,000 locations across the country that serve voters in every community.