Cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service could lead to some delays in the mail delivery across the U.S. The cutbacks are being led by the new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was appointed to the position last month.
DeJoy, who was also a major donor to President Donald Trump, sent out a memo to employees titled "PMG Expectations and Plan," which stated that cutbacks would be "making the USPS fundamentally solvent which we are not at this time." The plan eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and says employees must adopt a "different mindset" to ensure the Postal Service’s survival during the coronavirus pandemic. This also means that late trips are no longer be authorized, and if distribution centers are running late, "they will keep the mail for the next day," per a document obtained by the Associated Press.
"One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that — temporarily — we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks," another document read. The memo also cited significant revenue losses after a 10-year decline in mail deliveries, which has been made worse by the pandemic. It also indicates that an "operational pivot" is needed to ensure the agency's health and stability.
Back in April, Congress was warned that the USPS would run out of cash by September without federal assistance. Lawmakers were, and continue to be, split over this idea. Democrats have generally been in favor of supporting the USPS, while Republicans are largely against it, often citing it as an antiquated system. Despite the (mostly) partisan divide, Democrats wrote in some federal assistance for the post office the numerous stimulus bills it introduced, eventually passing the HEROES Act in May.
In March, prior to the declaration of a national emergency by Trump, the USPS had issued a statement on how they would continue forward amid the pandemic. "The United States Postal Service has a dedicated COVID-19 Command Response leadership team that is focusing on employee, operational, business and customer continuity during this unprecedented epidemic," the statement read. "We continue to follow the strategies and measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health departments."
Last month, a petition was introduced on Change.org that insisted postal workers receive hazard pay in the pandemic. Just under 1 million people have signed it since it went live.