US Postal Service leaders can’t keep Trump’s lies — or their own stories — straight
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy claims that removing nearly 700 mail processing machines nationwide is a “routine” cost-saving measure, not a brazen attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential Election by suppressing the vote.
The hobbling of the United States Postal Service to rig the November election is also causing immense collateral damage. Delays in mail delivery hurt people on medications, in need of paychecks and pension checks to pay the rent and of legions of small business owners to ship goods to customers. Many of those suffering are Trump supporters so his scheme is unlikely to win more votes.
Donald Trump, who put DeJoy in office, publicly admitted that he is blocking vital USPS funding needed to process millions of vote-by-mail ballots. Residents of at least two states — Pennsylvania and Washington — have been told their vote-by-mail ballots may not even be counted toward the overall election results.
“We’ve had entire towns that didn’t get their mail,” a postal union leader in Buffalo said.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer told me by email that DeJoy’s directive to remove some 671 advanced flat sorting machines, delivery bar code sorters and other flat sequencing systems from mail processing plants across the country is being “misinterpreted.”
“The Postal Service routinely moves equipment around its network as necessary to match changing mail and package volumes,” Partenheimer offered.
Package volume is up, while the volume of letters and postcards declines. Partenheimer said,“adapting our processing infrastructure to the current volumes will ensure more efficient, cost-effective operations and better service for our customers.”
Postal worker union leaders don’t see it that way.
Pete Coradi , an American Postal Workers Union [APWU] national business agent, calls the move “disgraceful.” In more than 35 years with the Postal Service, Coradi said that he’s never seen anything like the outright removal of nearly 700 sorting machines from mail processing plants nationwide.
“I’ve been involved with the USPS since 1984,” Coradi told me. “What is currently being done with the massive delays of mail is nothing I’ve ever experienced. This is not ‘routine’ at all.”
The rationale for removing the sorting machines at this time, further appears bogus because the USPS refuses to elaborate on the ultimate disposition of the equipment. If the machines are simply being “moved around the network” — then where are they going? USPS won’t say.
“They’re removing these machines — they’re not replacing them,” Coradi told me. “And it’s only going to slow down service even more.”
Postal union leaders were told about the reductions in a memo sent out on June 17.
Partenheimer contradicted Trump’s own statements later when he asserted that DeJoy’s “operations changes” and the Postal Service’s “financial condition” will not hamper the Post Office’s ability to “deliver for the November [election].”
But on Friday we learned that the USPS sent letters to 46 states warning that mail-in ballots by as many as 226 million citizens may not be delivered to elections offices in time to be counted this fall. A typical letter warned state elections officials of “a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them.
As reported earlier, DeJoy’s new “cost-saving” initiatives as postmaster general are resulting in systemwide delays as long as a week or more. The letters to the states suggested delays may be much worse than that.
This past week, people and businesses in at least three cities and towns around Buffalo, New York — Lancaster, Depew, North Tonawanda — saw days when they didn’t get any mail deliveries at all.
“We’ve had entire towns that didn’t get their mail,” on certain days, said Frank Resetarits, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 374, told the Buffalo News. “I’m talking about some of the bigger ones – East Aurora, Lancaster.”
Coradi, the postal union business agent, said this unknown in the history of our mail system, which is older than our Constitution.
“Think about it — an entire town, and an entire city not getting mail,” Coradi said. “And it’s not due to a truck breaking down; it’s not like there was a major snowstorm — the cause of all these delays is because of what DeJoy has put into place.”
Pete Furgiuele is president of the APWU Long Island Area Local 3251, said the entire postal system is experiencing “backlog” under DeJoy’s watch, which began June 20.
“Once a kink [in the system] happens, it just steamrolls,” Furgiuele told me. “One of our offices here on Long Island got 2,000-plus parcels on Monday that were all intended to be delivered over the weekend, and a vast majority were from Amazon.”
Trump, as it happens, has long been embroiled in an ongoing oligarchic feud with Amazon online retailing mogul Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post. Trump frequently attacks Bezos over the newspaper’s news coverage even though Bezos has worked only on the business side and let news chief Martin Baron and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt run the news and opinions operations as they see fit.
Last week’s “Friday Night Massacre,” meanwhile, in which DeJoy axed or reassigned dozens of top echelon USPS officials, is causing even more mix-ups, according to Coradi.
“You need a scorecard to figure out who’s responsible for different aspects of the Postal Service,” he said. “I have managers asking me [for direction] — they don’t even know who they report to now. This is by design — it’s absolute chaos. It’s destroying the service from within.”