An official complaint was filed by the president of the local mail carrier’s union, Mark Seitz, who is also a postal employee. It was filed with the Office of the Inspector General against Postmaster James Thornton. The complaint claims that thousands of deliveries that don't come from Amazon are being delayed in favor of those coming from the retail giant.
The complaint said: “Thornton is willfully delaying thousands of first-class and priority parcels so that fourth-class Amazon parcels can go out for delivery instead."
Other postal workers have backed up the accusations. Although the Postal Service has not been willing to comment on the allegations, they have said that they are trying to manage a surge in package deliveries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The complaint comes just weeks after new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy implemented "major operational changes" and money-saving measures at the agency that many critics feared would lead to slower mail delivery and hinder the post office’s ability to compete with delivery services in the private sector.
According to the Press Herald, mail carriers typically sort out small amounts of mail each morning before they head out for their route. Any mail that remains unsorted when they leave is retrieved at midday or handled by an assistant carrier.
However, letter carriers at the Portland post office have recently been told they must stop sorting mail by 8:30 AM, which is a full hour and a half before most of the carriers go out on their routes. They are then sent home whether they have made all their deliveries or not at the end of their shifts in order to cut overtime costs while first-class packages remain unsorted overnight in the post office.
This means that important first-class mail containing paychecks, medications and other important communications are getting left behind in favor of packages from Amazon. The area under Thornton’s purview includes between 80,000 and 100,000 households.
It’s a problem that’s not just confined to Portland. Ryan Grim of The Intercept posted a USPS document on Twitter that said city carriers will not be sorting any mail in their morning operations. Instead, they will simply retrieve mail pulled down from the day before. In other words, first-class mail that is already delayed will be delayed even further as carriers will no longer sort newly arrived mail in the mornings and deliver it. The sorting is now taking place at the end of the day instead. Discussing the new initiative, Grim wrote that "we're watching the deliberate destruction of the Post Office unfolding in front of us."
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a sharp drop in mail volume. Although Congress approved emergency relief funds to the tune of $10 billion for the USPS in March, the money has yet to be released.
President Trump has called the Postal Service a joke that exists to serve Amazon. He said: “The Postal Service is a joke because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they put out a package, they lose money on it.”
In 2017, President Trump asked in a tweet why the post office is “making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer.”
If the USPS can’t even be trusted to deliver traditional mail on time, it's no wonder so many people are concerned about the prospect of mail-in ballots. We've learned that 1,600 voters’ ballots were found the morning after election day at a Chicago mail processing facility recently, and countless others did not receive their absentee ballots in time to use them. Perhaps the post office was too busy delivering Amazon packages?
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