Mar 23, 2021
Congressional Democrats gravely warned Tuesday that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's new 10-year strategic plan would ensure that the U.S. Postal Service remains in a "death spiral" by further degrading the agency's performance, slashing Post Office hours across the country, and raising postage prices for consumers and businesses.
Slamming the sweeping changes as "draconian," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said in a statement Tuesday that "customers and Congress are fed up with DeJoy's service cuts and record delays."
"The entire Postal Board should be fired for their silence and complicity. And then DeJoy should be sent packing."
--Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.
"The only way to right this ship is new leadership, a better vision, and a realistic plan that serves all Americans," Connolly added.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, said that she is "extremely concerned about the Postal Service's unacceptable decision to make permanent slower mail delivery despite substantial public and congressional opposition."
Formally titled Delivering for America (pdf), DeJoy's plan purports to chart out a path to "financial sustainability and service excellence" for USPS, whose delivery performance has declined dramatically since the postmaster general took over last June and began imposing far-reaching operational changes. DeJoy, a Republican megadonor, was appointed by the USPS Board of Governors despite his complete lack of prior experience at the Postal Service.
DeJoy's new 10-year strategy for the agency, detailed in a 58-page document released Tuesday, calls for a reduction of hours at some Post Offices (a move euphemistically presented as an effort to "align hours of operation to customer demands"), extend the USPS first-class delivery window by a day or more, consolidate mail processing operations, and eliminate extra delivery trips.
The document also states that, going forward, the Postal Service will "work to reduce work hours and restrain wage growth within the confines of collective bargaining agreements" in the name of cutting costs.
Mark Dimondstein, president of the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union, said in a statement Tuesday that while he believes the new strategy contains some positive elements--such as its proposal to open "46 new annexes to handle the ever-increasing number of packages the USPS processes"--his organization has "deep concerns about other elements of the plan that, if implemented, would fail to meet its stated goal of providing 'service excellence.'"
"Any proposals that would either slow the mail, reduce access to post offices, or further pursue the failed strategy of plant consolidation will need to be addressed," Dimondstein said. "The APWU will proactively engage with USPS' managers, the Postal Regulatory Commission, leaders in Congress, and the public to address these issues."
The operational plan comes as President Joe Biden continues to face pressure to set the stage for DeJoy's ouster by firing all six sitting members of the postal board, which has actively supported and cheered the postmaster general throughout his scandal-plagued tenure. The president has thus far declined to take such a step, opting instead to fill the three vacancies on the board with officials who could restrain the postmaster general and potentially help remove him.
"This so-called plan from Louis DeJoy should itself be a dead letter. This is a blueprint for the Post Office's continued decay and destruction," Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) tweeted Tuesday. "The entire Postal Board should be fired for their silence and complicity. And then DeJoy should be sent packing."
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