UPLAND, Calif. — Ahead of the busiest season of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, some California postal workers are voicing concerns about the latest policy changes.
They include new service standards that slow down first-class mail delivery.
Mail traveling less than 1,000 miles should reach its destination in three days, and mail traveling more than 1,900 miles will take about five days. The Postal Service has also hiked rates for mail, packages and other special services.
Rick Ruiz, executive vice president of the American Postal Workers Union California Local 4635, which has more than 1,700 members in Southern California, said he is worried people will turn to other delivery providers, especially for mail with a deadline.
“Let’s say you have a credit card that you got to pay, and you got to send it to Pennsylvania or you got to send it to Delaware, and it’s got to be there in five days,” Ruiz outlined. “People aren’t going to trust the Post Office with the relaxed standards. People are going to find, you know, alternative ways of getting their bill paid because time is money.”
The changes are part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan, called Delivering for America, which includes modernizing the vehicle fleet and making investments in mail-processing facilities. DeJoy has said the agency is hiring 40,000 seasonal workers to help with the holiday rush.
Christopher Shaw, an author and historian of the U.S. Postal Service, said adding short-term staff is only a temporary solution to the problem.
“They’ve been basically drawing down the labor force now for over a decade, pretty aggressively,” Shaw explained. “So there’s this underlying problem with not having sufficient numbers of career employees who really have that background and that knowledge and that experience with how the postal system works.”
DeJoy said the changes are needed to trim a $160 billion loss for the Postal Service by 2030. The plan also includes cuts to post office hours.