TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Unions representing postal workers in Florida are calling for the postmaster general to permanently reverse changes that have created major mail delays. They are calling on Congress to support the agency the same way it supports corporations.
Wanda Harris is president of Miami Area Local 172 of the American Postal Workers Union. She said she is heartbroken as they are flooded with complaints from customers. She said she tries to explain that the changes are beyond their control, but it doesn’t stop the cries from veterans and small-business owners who are left in limbo.
“The elderly can’t even get their checks on time. They are on a fixed income. They are so used to the first and the third and the fifth, now they got to wait on their checks. That’s enough to make them feel as though their life is over,” Harris said. “That is not fair.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced he would reverse the reduction of staff and post office hours, along with removing postal boxes, until after November’s election.
On Saturday, the U.S. House passed The Delivering for America Act, which provides $25 billion in additional funding for the agency and bans the recent changes DeJoy implemented. The bill now moves to the Republican-led Senate.
Al Friedman, president of the Florida State Association of Letter Carriers, said for too long the nation’s most trusted agency has been overlooked while suffering the same problems as businesses and corporations impacted by issues such as the pandemic.
“Why did we give a stimulus package to American Airlines, Delta, United, Southwest? Because of lost revenue and trying to keep their employees employed, correct? And how different is that than the postal service? We’re losing about $3 million to $4 million a day because of all the forced overtime,” Friedman said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the Senate is unlikely to pass a bill that only addresses the Postal Service. Instead, Senate Republicans plan to introduce a “skinny” coronavirus stimulus package that could include $10 billion allocated for the USPS, and $300 in weekly unemployment benefits.
Union workers say that’s not enough for a long-term solution and restoring order to an agency once known for being reliable.