Michigan lawmakers hold rally for USPS protection in Southfield

Michigan lawmakers called for the protection of the US Postal Service Tuesday in a series of events around metro Detroit. 

They say actions by the new postmaster general have endangered millions of Americans who rely on the post office - and they accuse the president of working to undermine the service's ability to handle mail-in ballots come November. 

U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) held a news conference Tuesday in Southfield along with U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Haley Stevens (MI-11). Rep. Lawrence herself has held various roles in the United States Postal Service prior to serving in Congress.

Rep. Lawrence and her colleagues accuse DeJoy's cost-cutting efforts for causing delays in getting medication to citizens and a catalyst to get President Donald Trump re-elected.

"The President of the United States admittedly doing everything he can, including choking off essential support for the United States Postal Service in order to prevent people from casting their ballot - shame on him," said Rep. Kildee.

Postal Union leaders say the impact is felt at post offices all across metro Detroit, primarily with the removal of machinery that can run 35,000 pieces of mail per hour.

"In my location, four machines have been removed," said Keith Combs, APWU president. "So that's a huge number to take off right before an election."

These changes have prompted Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel to join with other states to file a lawsuit against the federal government for what they call unlawful changes with USPS.

"We're going back on Saturday and we're going to take up legislation to ensure standards of delivery are not delayed," Rep. Kildee said.

"Rep. Lawrence and I will hold the Postmaster General DeJoy accountable this coming Monday when he comes before the House Oversight Committee," Rep. Tlaib said at the event.

But DeJoy is now reversing course. Later on Tuesday, he announced USPS will halt some operational changes until after election amid the outcry.

In a statement the Postmaster General said, in part:

I want to assure all Americans of the following:

  1. Retail hours at Post Offices will not change. 
  2. Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
  3. No mail processing facilities will be closed. 
  4. And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.      

You can read more about DeJoy's announcement here