Health and Safety, Law and Politics, National, Retail, topslot

Postmaster’s Rationale for Removing Vital Sorting Machines Falls Apart

August 17, 2020

By Joe Maniscalco

New York, NY – The US Postal Service under Trump-installed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is asking the American public to believe that removing nearly 700 mail processing machines from plants nationwide is just a “routine” cost-saving measure — and not a brazen attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential Election two months ahead of the vote. 

Nearly 700 sorting machines are being removed from mail processing plants around the country.

Donald Trump has already publicly admitted that he is blocking vital USPS funding needed, in part, to process millions of vote-by-mail ballots, while the residents of at least two states — Pennsylvania and Washington — have been told their vote-by-mail ballots may not even be counted toward the overall election results. 

Nevertheless, on Thursday, USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer told me in an email that DeJoy’s directive to remove some 671 advanced flat sorting machines, delivery bar code sorters and other flat sequencing systems from mail processing plants across the country is being “misinterpreted.” 

“The Postal Service routinely moves equipment around its network as necessary to match changing mail and package volumes,” Partenheimer offered. 

According to the spokesperson, USPS package volume is up, but mail volume is on the decline —  and “adapting our processing infrastructure to the current volumes will ensure more efficient, cost effective operations and better service for our customers.” 

But American Postal Workers Union [APWU] National Business Agent Pete Coradi calls the move “disgraceful” and says that in more than 35 years with the Postal Service, he’s never seen anything like the outright removal of nearly 700 sorting machines from mail processing plants nationwide.

“I’ve been involved with the USPS since 1984,” Coradi told me. “What is currently being done with the massive delays of mail is nothing I’ve ever experienced. This is not ‘routine’ at all.”

The rationale for removing the sorting machines at this time, further appears bogus because the USPS refuses to elaborate on the ultimate disposition of the equipment. If the machines are simply being “moved around the network” — then where are they going? The USPS won’t say. 

“They’re removing these machines — they’re not replacing them,” Coradi told me. “And it’s only going to slow down service even more.”

US postal union leaders were told about the reductions in a memo sent out on June 17. 

Partenheimer contradicted Trump’s own statements when he later asserted that DeJoy’s “operations changes” and the Postal Service’s “financial condition” will not hamper the Post Office’s ability to “deliver for the November [election].”

As reported earlier, DeJoy’s new “cost-saving” initiatives as postmaster general are resulting in systemwide delays as long as a week or more. 

This past week, at least three cities and towns around Buffalo, New York — Lancaster, Depew, North Tonawanda saw days when they didn’t get any mail deliveries at all. 

“Think about it — an entire town, and an entire city not getting mail,” Coradi said. “And it’s not due to a truck breaking down; it’s not like there was a major snow storm — the cause of all these delays is because of what DeJoy has put into place.”

Pete Furgiuele is president of the APWU Long Island Area Local 3251, he says the entire postal system is experiencing “backlog” under DeJoy’s watch. 

“Once a kink [in the system] happens, it just steamrolls,” Furgiuele told me. “One of our offices here on Long Island got 2,000-plus parcels on Monday that were all intended to be delivered over the weekend, and a vast majority were from Amazon.”

Trump, as it happens, has long been embroiled in an ongoing oligarchic feud with Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos. 

Last week’s “Friday Night Massacre,” meanwhile, in which DeJoy axed or reassigned dozens of top echelon USPS officials, is causing even more mix ups, according to Coradi. 

“You need a scorecard to figure out who’s responsible for different aspects of the Postal Service,” he said. “I have managers asking me [for direction] — they don’t even know who they report to now. This is by design — it’s absolute chaos. It’s destroying the service from within.”

August 17, 2020

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