Opinion: It's time to dump Postmaster DeJoy and his bad plans
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a holdover from the Trump Administration, has unveiled his 10-year plan, ironically named Delivering for America.
In the name of fiscal responsibility, he would slow mail delivery, cut retail office hours, close post offices and mail processing plants and raise prices. Good union jobs would be lost and critical delivery of medicines, checks, bills and parcels would be delayed.
More than 100 members of Congress have called for DeJoy to be removed, including most of the Oregon congressional delegation.
The postal service has certainly been through a rough year. The pandemic has infected a lot of postal workers, leading to understaffing and serious delays. The number of parcels from online shopping has doubled and the U.S. Postal Service lacks parcel sorting machines and warehouse space, compounding the delays.
But a major source of service breakdown has been the new Postmaster General, who came online in June and within a month implemented a "pivot," including removing processing machines and collection boxes, limiting overtime and leaving mail in processing plants and offices while running trucks "on time."
Mail delivery times plummeted and, as President Trump promised to refuse pandemic funding to disrupt voting by mail, the American people rose up in outrage.
On Aug. 22, the largest protests ever in support of the U.S. Postal Service emerged at 800 post offices, including 25 in the Portland area. The main demands were "Dump DeJoy" and "Protect the Vote." Congress called hearings and advocacy groups filed lawsuits. DeJoy was forced to back off and postal workers put in heroic efforts to effectively deliver election-related mail.
Now DeJoy is back at it, with the full backing of the Postal Board of Governors, all of whom were appointed by Trump. President Biden cannot legally fire DeJoy; only the board of governors can. Although Biden has recently nominated three pro-worker, pro-public, diverse governors to vacancies on the board, they will not be enough to remove DeJoy. Fifty-three representatives, led by our own Rep. Earl Blumenauer, have called on President Biden to fire the entire postal board and replace them with governors who will value affordable, reliable and timely mail service.
The American people will need to mobilize again if we are to save our national treasure, the people's postal service. In mid-March the Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, a coalition of 75 national advocacy groups (agrandalliance.org) held a three-day summit to establish a People's Postal Agenda which would not only defend universal, public service but expand and improve the USPS to include postal banking, electric vehicles, charging stations and solar panels at every facility, one-stop government services, printing and WiFi.
Stay tuned for calls to action and keep the pressure on President Biden and Congress.
Jamie Partridge of Northeast Portland is a retired letter carrier and organizer with Communities and Postal Workers United.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.