08.17.20

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND PUSH NEW ACTIONS TO STOP DESTRUCTIVE CHANGES IN THE POSTAL SERVICE IMPACTING THE CAPITAL REGION & DEMAND SENATE CALL DEJOY FOR HEARINGS THIS WEEK; DRIVES LEGISLATION TO FORCE DEJOY TO ‘BACK OFF’; PLAN WOULD UNDO CHANGES NOW SLOWING DOWN THE MAIL & WOULD ALSO ENSURE OUR MAIL-IN BALLOTS ARE TREATED AS FIRST CLASS PRIORITY

Senators Have Warned Postmaster About Actions That Will Jeopardize Capital Region Delivery Of Medications, VA Benefits, SS & Of Course Hobble The Nov. Election & Now Plans New Fight   

Schumer, Who Just Grilled DeJoy 1:1, Wants Him In Hearings THIS WEEK   

Senators: Capital Region Will Not Stand For Continued, Blatant Destruction Of Postal Service

Warning that destructive changes to the U.S. postal service continue without reprieve, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been leading efforts to undo these changes, pushed new actions, today, against Postmaster DeJoy and the policies being implemented to undermine the U.S. postal service. Schumer and Gillibrand also demanded DeJoy be in U.S. Senate hearings this week as he drives legislation to force the postmaster to “back off.” The senators’ plan would reverse changes now slowing down the mail and would also ensure our mail-in ballots are treated as First Class priority. Schumer said he has warned DeJoy 1:1, highlighted problems across New York, including the Capital Region, but now the Senate needs to act in an immediate way if the attack on the USPS might stop.

“What has been—and continues—to go on with the postal service, the undermining and destructive policies that are so clearly intent on upending a system that has worked for generations has simply got to stop,” said Senator Schumer. “I’m pushing new action here to undo the changes and get DeJoy to back off. Moreover, we will use the letter of the law to call the postmaster for hearings this week while driving legislation to fix the mess he’s purposely made. Bottom-line, we will not stand for the in-your-face slowing down of the mail and the undermining of Americans who depend on medications, VA benefits, paychecks, even food, and we will not allow of this to take place all in an effort to hobble the November election—no way.”

“I am deeply troubled by reports of operational issues at the Post Office, such as reducing carrier hours and overtime, removing sorting machinery from post offices, and taking mail collection boxes off the street without warning,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Postmaster General DeJoy claims that these operational changes will improve efficiency, but the reality is that they are creating unacceptable delays of critical deliveries of prescriptions, paychecks, Social Security checks and threaten our ability to vote by mail. With our country, state and Capital Region in the midst of an unprecedented economic and public health crisis, Congress must fully fund the Post Office to protect jobs, health, and our democracy.”

Schumer and Gillibrand said they will demand the Senate call Postmaster DeJoy for hearings this week AND drive new legislation that would:

1)    Undo the changes slowing down the mail

2)    Ensure our mail-in ballots are treated as First Class priority mail

The senators warned that if DeJoy continues to go unchecked, the Capital Region’s 1,500 postal jobs would be jeopardized – with about 1,000 of those jobs at the Albany Processing Center – along with its critical functions that support everyday door-to-door service but also ensure critical medications, VA benefits, Social Security checks paychecks, food and more make it to their destinations. Schumer and Gillibrand said they remain seriously concerned because the USPS recently directed operational changes in post offices and processing centers. On August 7, 2020, the USPS announced a significant reorganization of Postal Service leadership and functions, which could impact the Capital Region.

The destructive changes, the senators note, include the elimination of extra mail transportation trips, the reduction of overtime, the start of a pilot program for mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of post offices, and the reduction equipment at mail processing plants. Schumer and Gillibrand said these decisions absolutely have an impact on New York and America, a case Schumer made to the postmaster in person.

In urging the postmaster, both in letters and personally, Schumer and Gillibrand argued the Postal Service is an “essential public institution with an obligation to serve every community in the nation.” Schumer told DeJoy he should not make changes in the Capital Region that will slow down mail or compromise service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for medicines, essential goods, voting, correspondence, and for their livelihoods.  The Postal Service has characterized these changes as efficiency or cost-saving measures and add they minimized any “temporary service issues” as an “inevitable” side effect of implementing new procedures, Schumer, Gillibrand and colleagues noted in a recent letter.

The senators have argued that in the midst of a pandemic, these actions, whether intentional or not, are already causing mail delays across the country and appear to constitute an unacceptable threat to the Postal Service and the millions of Americans who depend on it. According to Time, amid the pandemic, many postal service employees have seen their workload double because Americans started ordering more medicine and food online from inside their homes. But the volume of letter mail – the USPS’s biggest revenue stream – has fallen. In April, the U.S. Postmaster General, told the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that revenue losses this fiscal year could reach $13 billion. Schumer and Gillibrand said that the USPS is like any other business that has been provided relief and assistance and that the numbers prove they’ve been hard hit.

Schumer and Gillibrand were joined by Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, as well as President of NALC Branch 358/Legislative Director NYS Assn of Letter Carriers, William “Bill” Cook, and President of APWU Albany Local 390, John Tabak.

“The motto of the United States Postal Service is ‘Neither snow nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,’” said Cook. “As an essential service the USPS has spent a significant amount of money to keep their employees safe and to deliver the mail to the American people. The USPS deserves and needs the requested $25 billion reimbursement for these expenses.”

Additionally, the senators said they have received dozens of complaint calls to their offices in recent weeks from USPS customers throughout the Capital Region. 

Finally, in a detailed, ten-page letter sent Friday, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Chairwoman Maloney, Ranking Member Peters, Chairperson Zoe Lofgren of the Committee on House Administration and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration gave the Postmaster General one-week deadline – until August 21 – to produce a host of key documents and information relating to these matters.

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