Postmaster General, a Trump crony, admits slowing the mail
Letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a U.S. Postal Service facility in McLean, Virginia, on Friday, July 31, 2020. Postal workers have been told to leave bags of mail behind and not load them onto their trucks in order to carry out a willful slowdown of delivery ordered by the Postmaster General. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Trump’s Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, admitted yesterday, in a closed-door meeting with lawmakers, that he is behind the wave of mail delays rolling across the country in recent weeks.

The delays have already endangered the lives of people from coast to coast who depend upon the postal service for timely delivery of the medicine they need to stay alive. Millions of others need the Postal Service to deliver essential items that have become even more critical as the pandemic rages.

All of that, apparently, matters little to the Trump administration, determined as it is to destroy or at least hobble the Postal Service as millions prepare to use it to vote by mail in the upcoming November elections.

Trump’s hope is that delayed delivery of the mailed ballots will reduce the torrent of mail-in votes he fears could result in his defeat in November.

During recent primary elections around the country, there were reports already that in many states tens of thousands of mail-in ballots never arrived on time to be counted in the election results. Postal delays can create a nightmare scenario of nationwide disenfranchisement on Election Day if DeJoy and his boss Trump are allowed to destroy the Postal Service.

Before being appointed Postmaster General, DeJoy had been the head of a logistics company and a real estate investment firm. He has long been a heavy contributor to the Republican Party and is the first Postmaster General in nearly two decades who has no experience working in the U.S. Postal Service.

When he took up his new role in May this year, the American Postal Workers Union expressed concern about the politicization of the postal service and said it was disappointed that “a multi-million-dollar major donor to President Trump” was being handed control of USPS in the middle of an election year.

The closed-door meeting at which lawmakers learned the truth about who was behind the delayed mail was put on the record by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) when she fired off a letter yesterday to DeJoy.

She declared in her letter, which she made public, that “the Postal Service recently instituted operational changes shortly after you assumed the position of Postmaster General.”

“These changes include reductions of overtime availability, restrictions on extra mail transportation trips, testing of new mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of Post Offices, and the reduction of the number and use of processing equipment at mail processing plants.”

The letter was sent following the closed-door meeting attended by Pelosi, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The issue came up during negotiations on the next coronavirus relief bill.

Unlike Republicans who want to kill the Post Office, Democrats want more money for the USPS. They are concerned about the unfairness of rules that require the USPS to fully fund its pension responsibilities into the future for ten years. No corporation in America is required to do that, and they are concerned that without the additional money for USPS now, the 2020 elections could turn into the disaster that Trump would like them to become.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy | Kim Walker/Elon University via AP

As it stands now, they don’t believe the USPS, without additional funding, will be able to handle the increased workload resulting from mail-in voting.

Schumer and Pelosi are demanding DeJoy reverse his mail delaying tactics, declaring that they hamper the delivery of everything, including the mail, medicine, and even the regular absentee ballots put in the mail during every election.

“In this moment, Americans have turned to the Postal Service and depend on it for the timely delivery of critical goods and a safe alternative to in-person interactions. As a result, we believe these changes must be reversed,” they declared.

David Partenheimer, a spokesman for the Postal Service, confirmed that they had received the Pelosi letter but refused requests for comments by numerous press outlets.

Democrats are not stopping with the letter from Pelosi.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said yesterday that he was starting an investigation into postal delivery delays.

Heads of postal worker unions have unanimously opposed the DeJoy delay tactics, noting, in so many words, that there is nothing more sacred to post office workers than getting the mail out on time.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the APWU, said his union was “absolutely opposed to any policies that just slow down the mail in the name of whatever the name iscost cutting. In this case, it’s about service. It’s not the United States postal business. It’s the United States Postal Service.”

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CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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