USPS delays' impact on Michiganders highlighted at virtual event with lawmakers

"We process mail. We deliver mail. That's what we do," said Carl Blassingame, the president of the Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers. And he says there's no question - mail delivery is delayed.

"Why all of a sudden is there a change in the delivery of the mail, the process of the mail, the delay of the mail? Why all of a sudden now is there a change?" he said.

It's what Michigan Senator Gary Peters is investigating, pointing to new policies recently put in place by the new postmaster general Louis DeJoy who's a political supporter of President Donald Trump with no postal experience and took the reigns in June.

"Reductions in overtime, reductions in extra trips by transportation trucks to make sure the mail isn't sitting in the post office, processing machines that are being taken out. There are a whole host of things that are happening and we need to have answers," Sen. Peters said. 

Peters was joined by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence Monday in a virtual event highlighting the USPS delays' impact on Michiganders. Lawrence, who actually worked for the postal service. says this is an issue that impacts everyone regardless of political party.

"This is not a partisan issue. This is about our constitutional, established postal service living up to its delivery standards and providing the tools for our democracy," she said.

In the middle of a pandemic as more and more Americans are expected to vote by mail fearing possible health risks by going to the polls, the president has already expressed his lack of confidence in the system.

"Universal mail-in ballots is going to be a great embarrassment to the country," President Trump said.  

But problems with the postal service impact more than ballots. Everything from bills, to paychecks, to social security checks and medications have been late getting to the mailboxes.

"We're hearing from the VA in particular where folks are not getting the prescriptions that they need," Sen. Peters said.

"As a veteran myself I get medication through the mail. I rely on that and not to have it when I need it, that's a travesty to a veteran," Blassingame said.

Postal workers blame a policy instituted by DeJoy in July to curtail overtime that does not allow letter carriers to sort through and take all of their mail out for delivery each day.

"Medications, ballots, birthday cards - all those things people count on seeing in their mailboxes every single day, we can do it. We have done it in the past and we can continue to do it in the future; there just needs to be policies and procedures in place that allow it to happen," said Roscoe Woods, President of American Postal Workers Union Area Local 480-481.

DeJoy says he is committed to the postal service, its non-partisan mission and prompt delivery while also dealing with a dire financial position and broken business model.

The USPS Detroit district has addressed DeJoy's structure in news releases here and here