While much of the criticism of a U.S. Postal Service deal with Oshkosh Defense for a new fleet has focused on the fact that most vehicles will be gas-guzzling versus electric, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday got a USPS official to admit the agency isn\u0026#039;t concerned the Wisconsin-based firm plans to build the trucks in notoriously anti-union South Carolina.\r\n\r\nNear the end of a U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing, the New York Democrat questioned Victoria Stephen, executive director of the Postal Service\u0026#039;s Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) Program, about whether the USPS considered Oshkosh\u0026#039;s unionized workforce in Wisconsin and when the agency knew about the company\u0026#039;s location decision.\r\n\r\nAfter noting that the nearly $3 billion contract, first announced in early 2021, will include an initial order of 50,000 NGDVs—only 10,000 of which will be electric vehicles (EVs)—Ocasio-Cortez asked about whether Oshkosh\u0026#039;s unionized workforce in Wisconsin \u0022was an important consideration\u0022 or regarded as a \u0022favorable element\u0022 in the decision-making process—particularly given President Joe Biden\u0026#039;s support for union labor.\r\n\r\n\u0022The solicitation from the Postal Service requires domestic production only. It does not require particular locations or workforce,\u0022 Stephen explained. A unionized workforce \u0022is not a contract requirement... It was not considered in the decision.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAfter entering some reports into the record, Ocasio-Cortez asked Stephen about Oshkosh\u0026#039;s decision to complete production in South Carolina rather than Wisconsin, a revelation that came after the company won the contract.\r\n\r\n\u0022The Postal Service was made aware of that decision shortly before the public announcement and it is a decision that\u0026#039;s at the discretion of the supplier,\u0022 Stephen said.\r\n\r\nOcasio-Cortez then asked, \u0022Are you aware that Oshkosh Defense might be trying to circumvent its long-standing contract with the United Auto Workers workforce in Wisconsin by essentially building a brand-new facility after the contract was awarded in a vacant warehouse in South Carolina?\u0022\r\n\r\nThe USPS official said that \u0022I have no awareness of that but I would encourage you to have that conversation with Oshkosh.\u0022\r\n\r\nHighlighting that \u0022after the ink was dry, it looks like they\u0026#039;re opening up a scab facility in South Carolina with no prior history of producing vehicles in that facility,\u0022 Oscaio-Cortez asked Stephen if the Postal Service \u0022is troubled by this timeline at all.\u0022\r\n\r\nStephen appeared to challenge the facts as the congresswoman laid them out—but offered no details or clarifications—then confirmed that the USPS is not concerned with the timeline of the company\u0026#039;s South Carolina decision.\r\n\r\nIn a tweet about the exchange Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez took aim at embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, declaring that \u0022he needs to go.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhen the USPS announced the contract last year, it said that \u0022Oshkosh Defense is evaluating which of their several U.S. manufacturing locations is best suited to potentially increase the production rate of the NGDV.\u0022\r\n\r\nOshkosh Corporation executive vice president and Oshkosh Defense president John Bryant then revealed in June that the company planned to create about 1,000 new jobs in South Carolina, saying that \u0022we\u0026#039;re proud to bring this historic undertaking to Spartanburg County.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022South Carolina has a skilled workforce and a proven history in advanced automotive manufacturing—it\u0026#039;s the perfect place to produce the NGDV,\u0022 he said. \u0022More importantly, we know the people of the Upstate take pride in their work and their community. What we build together here will reach every home in the country.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe Guardian reported in February that Oshkosh \u0022chose to use a large, empty, former Rite Aid warehouse in Spartanburg. The company said it was eager to have a \u0026#039;turnkey\u0026#039; plant where it could quickly begin production to help meet its goal of delivering the first vehicles in 2023.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe newspaper detailed outrage over the decision among Wisconsinites:\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022We are extremely disappointed in Oshkosh Defense\u0026#039;s decision to accept the money from the U.S. Postal Service and then turn around and send their production to a different state,\u0022 said Stephanie Bloomingdale, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO union federation. \u0022This is just another slap in the face to Wisconsin workers. People are very outraged about it. It doesn\u0026#039;t fit into President Biden\u0026#039;s vision to have high-road manufacturing.\u0022\r\n\r\nMany Oshkosh Defense workers are wearing buttons to work, saying, \u0022We Can Build This.\u0022 These workers, members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), say they\u0026#039;re dismayed that the company—unionized since 1938—plans to do postal vehicle production in one of the nation\u0026#039;s most anti-union states. UAW Local 578 in Oshkosh has collected over 1,500 signatures urging the company to rescind its South Carolina decision, and Wisconsin\u0026#039;s unions are planning a big rally in February to further pressure Oshkosh Defense.\r\n\r\n\u0022When we were notified the company won the contract, we were all excited—that\u0026#039;s another contract under our belt, more work for us to do,\u0022 said Thomas Bowman, a welder at Oshkosh Defense. \u0022But when we were told it wasn\u0026#039;t being built here, we were all asking, why not? We know we can build it. We got the workers. We got the tooling. It can be done here.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\nDuring that February rally, UAW Local 578 president Bob Lynk told a local television station that \u0022it\u0026#039;s a fight for our life right now. I do believe contracts are meant to be amended.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn a lengthy statement responding to the rally, Oshkosh signaled it won\u0026#039;t reconsider the move, saying that \u0022we evaluated sites in multiple states, including Wisconsin, for production of the NGDV. The Spartanburg, South Carolina facility ranked highest in meeting the requirements of the NGDV program and gives us the best ability to meet the needs of the USPS.\u0022\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, in Congress, some Democrats are pushing for even broader changes. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) last month introduced the Green Postal Service Fleet Act, which would block the Oshkosh contract by requiring that at least 75% of new USPS vehicles are electric or otherwise emissions-free.