Attorneys general from 21 states oppose Postal Service changes

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and New York Attorney General Letitia James co-led a group of 21 attorneys general and two cities in calling on the Postal Regulatory Commission to oppose U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s efforts to delay deliveries of first-class mail and other essential postal services.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

Forty percent of all first-class mail in the United States will be slowed down by the changes proposed by DeJoy, who was selected on May 6, 2020 by a USPS Board of Governors all named by then-President Donald Trump.

At the same time, nonpartisan watchdog group is calling for the state to investigate DeJoy for past campaign fundraising activity in North Carolina.

The group, Common Cause, submitted evidence to the North Carolina State Board of Elections revealing what they believe is a pattern of suspicious donations.

The coalition of attorneys general submitted a statement of position to the Postal Regulatory Commission — an independent federal agency that provides transparency and accountability of the USPS’s operations — to urge the USPS to focus its attention on correcting the mistakes of the previous year, not implementing new changes that would further degrade service. The proposed changes could impact up to 96 percent of ZIP codes in the United States.

“For nearly a year now, we have had to fight the United States Postal Service tooth and nail to fulfill its mission and provide timely delivery of mail, medications, paychecks, ballots, and other essentials to Americans across the nation,” said James. “Now, instead of fixing the problems that remain delinquent a year later, Postmaster General DeJoy wants to lead the USPS in making further service cuts that would only result in more delays. The Postal Regulatory Commission should reject these changes and direct the USPS to take action to resume USPS service to what it once was. If they don’t, we will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to hold the USPS accountable.”

“Pennsylvanians, particularly rural communities and seniors, rely on the mail to deliver their prescriptions, necessities for their home and their families, and have relied on the Postal Service to successfully deliver mail in three elections — the work of the men and women of the Postal Service has been, and continues to be, essential,” said Shapiro. “The service cuts issued last year were reckless, went against the very purpose of the Post Service and, because they skipped the experts who get to review changes — illegal. My office filed suit, and successfully blocked DeJoy’s efforts. We took action then, and will continue to act to keep these essential services running on time.”

The attorneys general submitted a statement of position to the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent federal agency that provides transparency and accountability of the U. S. Postal Service’s operations, to urge the USPS to focus its attention on improving from the mistakes of the previous year, not implementing changes that would further degrade service:

“One year ago, the Postal Service implemented a series of purported cost-saving initiatives that had a devastating effect on mail service. Those initiatives, which included drastic changes to USPS’s policies with respect to extra and late trips, were implemented virtually overnight without any prior input from the Commission. Mail delivery across the nation slowed, and Americans who depended on the Postal Service for the delivery of prescription medication, paychecks, and other necessities were left stranded. The increased delays also made it more difficult for the States to perform a variety of essential functions and provide critical services to their residents…Regrettably, it appears that the Postal Service is poised to repeat many of these mistakes.”

The statement of position reminded the commission of the obligations and benefits of the USPS, including its commitment to prompt, reliable service of necessary, life-saving goods to all Americans.

The proposed service standards would slow down mail delivery for a significant portion of First-Class mail, and which would significantly hinder the USPS’s mission to provide reliable service.

This change would hinder states and the federal government in delivering essential services in a timely manner, including providing public assistance to low-income individuals and families, running driver’s licensing and child welfare programs, and administering elections.

The group also acknowledged the difficulties put upon postal service workers by these cuts, and how critical it is for the commission to prevent further changes after a disastrous year, writing:

“Indeed, the events of the past year caution strongly against imposing sweeping changes of the type the Postal Service proposes. The Postal Service has faced enormous challenges as a result of the pandemic, and postal employees have performed their jobs admirably under incredible strain…The Postal Service has already once imposed sweeping changes in the face of these unprecedented challenges, and the result was disastrous. As the Inspector General found, the July 2020 cost-saving initiatives were implemented without adequate planning and were poorly communicated, leading to a rapid decline in service from which the Postal Service has not fully recovered…The Postal Service should abandon its current effort and refocus its energies on fixing its ongoing performance deficiencies.”

The statement of position was submitted by Shapiro and James, who were joined by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia. The attorneys general were also joined by the City of New York, and the City and County of San Francisco.

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