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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Holdover Trumper is killing the Postal Service

Two new appointments need to be made to fire DeJoy


EDITOR'S NOTE: If you don't think the problems being created by Trump's appointee Louis DeJoy doesn't affect you, think again. According to a small posting in last week's Providence Journal, the property holding Charlestown's post office was sold on January 25 has been sold to a California-based real estate company. 

UNKNOWN: the future of postal service in Charlestown.  - Will Collette

As the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors last week held a meeting in Washington, D.C., frustrated USPS workers, customers, and union officials rallied outside to protest a new limit on public comment and the agency's austerity plan.

While the quarterly meetings have previously included an hour of in-person and virtual public testimony, the USPS board has shifted to only taking comments once annually, a move that outraged critics of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy—a GOP donor appointee of former President Donald Trump—and his 10-year "Delivering for America" plan.

"We won't be silenced!" read signs held by protesters on Thursday that urged the board to allow public testimony.

"Let us tell the truth about DeJoy's 10-year plan," the signs added, calling for an end to cuts, closures, and mail delays.

In a statement about Thursday's protest, an American Postal Workers Union local and Communities and Postal Workers United noted that opponents of the plan have long argued it "will slash jobs and shrink processing centers and post offices."

The groups pointed to recent remarks from Steve Hutkins, a retired New York University English professor who runs the advocacy group and website Save the Post Office.

"Thousands of postal jobs will be eliminated, and tens of thousands of employees will be faced with relocating to a new job, possibly a couple of hundred miles away, or ending their careers at the Postal Service," he told The Guardian in December.

"The consolidations will also create excess space in processing facilities that will then be used to house a sorting and delivery center, which relocates letter carriers away from post offices," Hutkins explained. "The carriers will need to drive 10 or 20 miles to their routes, which will increase costs and pollution."

"And the excess space at the post office, where the carriers used to work, will lead to post office closures and relocations of retail services to smaller spaces," he warned. "In the meantime, postal rates go up, volume goes down, jobs are eliminated, service deteriorates."

There are currently two empty spots on the USPS board. As Common Dreams reported last week, dozens of Democrats led by Congressmen Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) urged U.S. President Joe Biden to "swiftly" fill those seats.

"Despite the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act, the Postal Service still faces a litany of challenges," they wrote. "Five price hikes since 2020, continual service delivery problems, and constant declines in mail volume are all indicators that the business model of the Postal Service needs careful attention."

Welcoming the Democrats' letter, Revolving Door Project senior researcher Vishal Shankar declared that "Americans are fed up with DeJoy's mismanagement of USPS. From his fanatical devotion to price hikesmail slowdowns, and job cuts to his refusal to build the next-gen postal fleet fully union and electric, Louis DeJoy keeps demonstrating he is grossly unfit to lead USPS."

"America desperately needs a postal board that will end DeJoy's destructive agenda to privatize the post office," Shankar added. 

"I applaud House Democrats for speaking out at a critical time for USPS—President Biden must stop dragging his feet on these nominations, and take the bipartisan win of saving the people's most treasured public institution. After a yearlong delay, it's past time for the president to fill these seats with public servants who will protect and expand our public Postal Service—not more corporate hacks who will enable DeJoy."