NEWBURGH — Elected officials and USPS workers called for the US Senate to pass the Delivering for America Act, Thursday morning. The bill had just passed through congress two weeks ago, amid growing concern from the public, as well as postal workers, regarding the current state of the postal system.
The bill includes $25 billion in federal funding for relief resulting from COVID-19 related issues and also prevents USPS service reductions. New policies enforced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have slowed delivery by not delivering mail day-of if it arrives at the Post Office past a set time that is unique to each municipality.
U.S. Representative Sean Maloney (D- NY18) said this is causing concern with people who rely on receiving prescriptions delivered from the USPS and raises concerns about delays during mail-in voting. NYS Senate candidate Karen Smythe, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Sue Serino echoed Maloney’s comments. “This is about more than just elections. It’s about people being forced to wait for medications, checks, and other mail that should not be delayed.” Smythe has participated in several protests at post offices in recent weeks.
“The critical thing is to make sure the Post Office can continue to do its important mission every day, but especially during the pandemic and during a vote-by-mail election, where voters should not be forced to decide between their health and their vote,” said Maloney. “We can have the world-class postal service we want. It’s a decision we make,” he said.
Maloney was asked if he believes DeJoy should resign, to which he disagreed, but added, “Mr. DeJoy has been a disaster for sure.” He asked that DeJoy answer to subpoenas submitted to him by the Board of Governors.
Postal workers in the region are concerned the current policies are tactics for legitimizing a transfer to private sector post by making the USPS seem inadequate, thus reducing public opinion. President of Local 3722, representing postal clerks, Diana Kline said public support is the thing they care about the most.
“That’s the biggest concern with us is to lose public trust and public support for the mail because we’re not calling for these shots. We’re doing everything we can, but our hands are being tied,” said Kline. “When I get the late delivery in the morning, I can’t just go over and sort that post count of packages because I’m being told, ‘No, that can wait,” she said.
Kline said her union, as well as workers and representatives for letter carriers and rural carriers, will be demonstrating in Dutchess County on Saturday, September 12 to continue asking the public to reach out to their elected representatives in support of postal workers and the bill.