At Hearing, Postal Service Officials Underscore Declining Service and Operational Changes

Oct 17, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (October 15, 2020)—Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, held a field hearing in Chicago, Illinois to examine the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) declining delivery performance in the city and nationally under the leadership of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.  

 

“We expect and demand more from our Postal Service.  To do that, however, we need to provide it the resources and staffing it requires to meet customer needs,” said Chairman Connolly in his opening statement.  “Instead, we are witnessing service standard degradation and price hikes.  Postmaster General DeJoy continues to make consequential and damaging operational changes at the Postal Service that affect postal delivery nationwide—and he repeatedly has done so without conducting the data analyses or customer engagement required to ensure he is not causing irreparable damage.” 

 

The Subcommittee heard testimony from Eddie Morgan, Jr., Chicago Postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service, Melinda Perez, the Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Audit for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and Mack Julion, a Union Representative for the National Association of Letter Carriers.

 

Witnesses testified to how operational changes the Postal Service has made, such as Postmaster General DeJoy’s 10-year plan, have impacted the customers who rely on the U.S. Postal Service.  

 

  • In response to testimony from Ms. Perez about the operational changes and 57 additional measures the Postal Service implemented in order to save money, Rep. Porter pointed out these changes resulted in a nearly 30-point drop in on-time delivery service from 92 percent to 61 percent in just six months.

 

  • In response to a question from Rep. Kelly about how staffing and attendance issues are impacting customers, Mr. Julion said, “When I started as a mail carrier there was a sense of urgency in getting the mail delivered.  We delivered everything, everywhere, every day.  As one manager told me, ‘we do not warehouse mail; we deliver mail.’  That’s not the same mindset in the Post Office right now… .  And the most important metric we have to look at is not how much time we save in the office, but whether we’re getting the mail delivered.  That is our objectivedelivering the mail.  That’s not the objective of the current Chicago Post Office.”

Members questioned the witnesses about the plummeting delivery standards in the Chicago area and in communities across the country.  Witnesses explained that a lack of resources, understaffing at distribution centers, and low morale has contributed to widespread delivery delays. 

 

  • In response to questioning from Chairwoman Maloney about what resources the Chicago post office needs to restore service standards, Mr. Julion said, “We blatantly need more carriers out there on the street.  Using the Postmaster’s own metric in a recent correspondence, he stated that they were fully staffed to the extent of having 4,000 letter carriers in the Chicago Post Office.  Our records indicate the number is more like 3,500. So their ability to move resources as needed is limited.” 
     
  • In response to questioning from Rep. Krishnamoorthi about employee treatment and morale, Mr. Julion said, “It is well known within the Postal Service that there is, in some workplaces, an unhealthy level of hostility in the workplace when you’re trying to get more out of less, when you don’t have enough employees, and when you’re making unreasonable demands of those who are at work every day.  This indeed has been brought to [management’s] attention, and I believe we still have a task force in place on the national level dealing with hostility on the workroom floor.” 

 

Members emphasized the catastrophic effects that delayed postal delivery is having on their constituents and questioned the witnesses about the root causes of the problem. 
 

  • In response to a question from Rep. Schakowsky, who highlighted constituents who are struggling because their medications and paychecks are not arriving on time, Mr. Morgan attributed the problem to a lack of experience saying, “We’ve had a lot of senior leadership retire out and now we have new leadership.  So I have to bring them up to speed so they know how to properly run the facility, to do better running the facility and giving instructions.”

 

  • Ms. Perez testified, in response to a question from Rep. Quigley, that mail not being properly sorted is a persistent problem, “Often times we find at the processing centers they may have employee variability issues or other procedural things that they are not following at the processing center and they often deploy the mail down to the delivery units without it being sorted in what’s called carrier sequence.” 

 

The Oversight Committee has repeatedly expressed concern about the changes implemented by the Postal Service under the leadership of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.  

 

In March 2021, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations; Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security; and Committee Member Rep. Brenda Lawrence issued statements detailing their concerns about Postmaster General DeJoy’s 10-year plan for the Postal Service, which would permanently slow mail delivery.  

 

On September 20, 2021, the Members sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy and the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Ron Bloom demanding answers on the proposed plan to modify service standards for First-Class Mail Letters and Flats from a one-to-three day service standard to a one-to-five-day service standard.

 

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117th Congress