Nancy Pelosi: Postmaster Busted Up The Sorting Machines, Ain't Fixing NOTHING
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she had spoken with Donald Trump's pet Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and told him his pledge to freeze his reorganization of the Postal Service "is not a solution and is misleading." In a statement, Pelosi said DeJoy
frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime, which is critical for the timely delivery of mail, are not in the works.
DeJoy said Tuesday he would suspend until after the November elections his "reforms" of the USPS, to avoid "even the appearance of any impact on election mail." Pelosi's statement confirms what was already clear: In reality, DeJoy merely said he'd stop swinging the sledge hammer, because people noticed.
And even that does not appear to be true.
Pelosi noted that the changes DeJoy has already put in place "directly jeopardize the election and disproportionately threaten to disenfranchise voters in communities of color," and said she doesn't think DeJoy has adequately addressed the slowdowns in mail delivery that have led to seniors and veterans not getting their prescription medications delivered on time.
She said the House would still vote Saturday on Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-New York) Delivering for America Act, which seeks to return the Postal Service to pre-pandemic levels of service, and would provide $25 billion in emergency funding for the agency. The bill, introduced before widespread reports of sorting machines being ripped out of post offices, only addresses the overtime and work practices DeJoy implemented; that may be moot in any case since some of the smartest people in the GOP seem perfectly fine with tearing up the Postal Service.
The Democrat leadership is running back to Washington for the USPS unions, but refuses to lend a hand to the American people.— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@Sen. Marsha Blackburn) 1597802862.0
As for DeJoy's promise Tuesday that the removals of mailboxes and mail sorting machines would cease immediately, a Michigan TV station found at least one such machine that was still being taken apart in Grand Rapids yesterday, where the wreckage was dumped out in the parking lot. An employee of a nearby business told reporter Heather Walker that an industrial-sized dumpster had been filled with sorting machine debris and hauled off three times since last week.
.@USPS GR Patterson location has pieces of the mail sorting machines out in the parking lot. @WOODTV https://t.co/OuugjhTbfE— Heather Walker (@Heather Walker) 1597854550.0
In its full report Wednesday, WOOD-TV spoke to Amy Puhalski, president of American Postal Workers Union Local #281, who said the demolition of the machine Wednesday morning may have involved finishing work that started Tuesday. Puhalski said that by early afternoon, no more machines were being dismantled, but by then, six of the 35 mail sorting machines in the Grand Rapids area had been removed and dismantled. "I think that some of the damage has already been done and caused some distrust to the American people in the mail system," she said.
Here's the full piece, if it embeds!
Puhalski said that despite the problems, she's confident postal workers can handle the high volume of mail-in ballots for November's elections, noting that their training has always stressed the importance of processing election mail quickly and accurately.
Of course, that was back in the Before Times, wasn't it?
That said, a New York Times analysis published today suggests that even a surge in election mail — not just ballots, but absentee ballot applications and related mail — might not overwhelm the system, since the recession has meant a steep drop-off in bulk advertising mail (which is part of the USPS's revenue crunch right now). So here's the maybe-good nitty:
At normal capacity, the post office has room to accommodate an unprecedented level of mail-in voting. Postal volume is highly seasonal, and the system is equipped to handle huge surges in mail. [...] Last year, the Postal Service estimated that it handled two and a half billion pieces of first-class mail just in the week before Christmas, its busiest week of the year. [...]
Even if everyone voted by mail, it would not result in as much additional mail volume as a typical holiday season. If half of registered voters from 2018 chose to vote by mail, that would mean that the post office would have to process 153 million pieces of mail.
So even with the seasonal fall increase in mail before the holidays, the Times estimates, a surge of election mail still wouldn't reach last year's peak levels, "unless they were all mailed the week before the election." So don't do that!
There's still plenty to worry about with the current wrecking crew in the White House and Post Office, but if there's no additional fuckery with the Postal Service, it should be able to handle the extra mail. The real question is whether it'll be allowed to.
To show your support for the Postal Service and clean elections, the Working Families Party has put together a convenient tool to send a message to the USPS Board: "Stop slowing down our mail service and fire Louis DeJoy." Say your piece and let 'em know you're paying attention!
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