Rally to restore public comments at meetings of USPS Board of Governors

Steve HutkinsBlog, News

Press release from Community and Postal Workers United (pdf here):

Thurs. Feb. 8, USPS HQ in Washington, DC: Rally outside at 2pm, Action inside at 4pm

Postal workers and customers are appalled at the recent decision by the Postal Board of Governors (PBOG) to limit public comment at their quarterly meetings to once per year. Since the implementation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s Ten-Year Plan (“Delivering for America”), each PBOG meeting has had many public comment participants, bringing critiques and suggestions about delay of mail, poor working conditions, cutting and closing postal facilities and rising prices.

In the past few meetings, public comment has been limited to first three minutes, then ninety seconds, then twenty-five seconds, then in-person only and now not until next November.

“We will not be able to solve the problems of the US Postal Service in a day, but if we don’t even know the truth of what is happening at the ground level, how can anyone expect to repair the damage that has occurred,” says Sheri Butler, local officer of the American Postal Workers Union in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. “Postal workers and community members need to be able to freely speak the truth. It appears that the Postal Board of Governors and Postmaster Dejoy do not want the truth to be shared!”

In the past month the postal service has staged “public hearings” to supposedly get input from postal stakeholders about plans to “consolidate” mail processing from local Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DCs) to newly repurposed Regional Processing and Distribution Centers (RPDCs), sometimes hundreds of miles away.

The official USPS word is that “no closures” and “no layoffs” will occur, despite the fact that dozens of jobs are being “excessed’ or “transferred”, often forcing employees to move to another town, quit, or retire. Mail will clearly be delayed. And while local P&DCs are being converted into Local Processing Centers (LPCs) and often Sorting and Delivery Centers (S&DCs), the experience of the past year has shown these changes involve elimination of clerk, trucker, and supervisor jobs while adding hours of commute and travel time to letter carrier routes.

Local “spoke” post offices lose carriers and clerks to the S&DCs while having hours of operation reduced, or being closed altogether (see https://www.savethepostoffice.com/postal-service-announces-30-more-consolidations/).

“Postal Service officials are holding “public input meetings” across the country in regards to their 10-year plan to remake the Postal Service; with little to no public notice, meetings are being held early in the afternoon in obscure small facilities so they are attended by as few customers and employees as possible, resulting in minimal resistance.

“What is the USPS really trying to accomplish with their ‘smoke and mirrors’ charade?” asks Mark Ducharme, APWU clerk craft director in the Knoxville, Tennessee area.

Both the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chair Senator Gary Peters, have submitted dozens of detailed questions to the USPS about the Delivering for America plan, regarding job loss, costs and savings, service, facility closures and more.

The USPS has refused to provide substantive answers. “Perhaps we’d be a lot better off if we didn’t have a PRC,” said PMG DeJoy at a recent Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting. At a House hearing in May, DeJoy said the PRC had overstepped its authority. “The Postal Regulatory Commission sat over and … [was] actively participating in the destruction of the organization the last 15 years,”