The Trump Administration Has Been Waging A Quiet War Against The USPS For Months, By Cutting Staff Hours And Removing Hundreds Of Mail Processing Machines Throughout The Country

Reports Have Suggested Donald Trump And His Administration Have Been Working To Damage The US Postal Service In Order To “Sabotage” The Election…

For Months, Reports Have Suggested Donald Trump And His Administration Have Been Working To Hamstring The USPS And Derail Its Essential Services, In Order To “Sabotage” The Election. “Unable to postpone the election he seems poised to lose, Donald Trump has been working to derail the mail-in voting many Americans will rely on to safely cast ballots this fall in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But while he’s railed against the surge of mail-in ballots in public, falsely claiming it will result in widespread fraud, his efforts to undermine the postal service on which such voting depends have been less explicit, with the cuts his handpicked crony has implemented at the embattled agency framed as cost-cutting measures rather than sabotage. Speaking to Fox Business on Thursday morning, however, the president made clear what his shenanigans at the USPS are really about—hamstringing the agency so it can’t handle the influx of ballots. ‘They need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,’ Trump told Maria Bartiromo, referring to funding requests for vote-by-mail and the postal service he and Capitol Hill Republicans have stood against in coronavirus relief negotiations. ‘But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.’” [Vanity Fair, 08/13/20]

Trump Is Trying To Block $25 Billion In “Much-Needed” USPS Funding, Which He Admits Is Necessary Restrict USPS’s Mail Service. “President Donald Trump said Thursday that he opposes much-needed funding for the United States Postal Service because he doesn’t want to see it used for mail-in voting this November. By directly linking USPS funding to mail-in voting, Trump is fueling allegations that he is trying to manipulate the postal system for political gain. The pandemic has led to record-shattering levels of voting-by-mail, but Trump has tried to restrict the voting method because he says it will hurt his re-election and Republicans across the board. During an interview on Fox News, Trump said that if USPS does not receive the additional $25 billion funding request that Democrats included in the ongoing stimulus negotiations, then he believes the Post Office won’t be able to handle the influx of mail-in ballots in the upcoming election.” [CNN, 08/13/20]

…Including By Cutting Staff Hours And Decommissioning Hundreds Of High-Volume Mail Processing Machines From Facilities Across The Country…

Trump’s Postmaster General Planned To Remove Up To 671 High-Volume Mail Processing Machines From Facilities Across The Country. “The US Postal Service plans to remove hundreds of high-volume mail-processing machines from facilities across the country, leading some postal workers to fear they may have less capacity to process mail during election season. Documents obtained by CNN indicate 671 machines used to organize letters or other pieces of mail are slated for ‘reduction’ in dozens of cities this year. The agency started removing machines in June, according to postal workers.” [CNN, 08/13/20]

The Administration Also Planned To Cut Staff Hours And Decrease Mail Volume, Causing Delays In Mail Delivery. “While the reductions come amid decreased mail volume this year and are described by some postal officials as making the service more cost-effective, the effort overlaps with other actions implemented by the Postal Service that workers have blamed for delivery delays. The new procedures were described in a July memo and include staff hours being cut.” [CNN, 08/13/20]

  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Has “Banned Postal Workers From Making Extra Trips To Ensure On-Time Mail Delivery And Cracked Down On Overtime That Local Postmasters Often Rely On To Clear Mail Backlogs.” “In his nine weeks on the job, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a former logistics executive and major Trump ally, has overhauled the Postal Service’s corporate structure and reassigned 33 top executives. He’s instituted cost-cutting measures that banned postal workers from making extra trips to ensure on-time mail delivery and cracked down on overtime that local postmasters often rely on to clear mail backlogs.” [Washington Post, 08/14/20]

…But After Democrats Threatened To Subpoena Postmaster General DeJoy To Force Him To Testify On His Role In Subverting The Agency, He Now Is Claiming USPS Changes Will Be Postponed Until After The Election.

House Democrats Threatened To Subpoena Postmaster General DeJoy To Force Him To Testify On His Role In Subverting The USPS. “House Democrats on Sunday called on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Postal Service board of governors Chairman Robert M. Duncan to testify at the upcoming hearing. Several House Democrats previously called for the subpoena of DeJoy, an ally of President Trump who they allege is purposely creating problems with the Postal Service to undermine the election.” [CNBC, 08/16/20]

On August 18, 2020, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Claimed All The Trump Administration’s Changed Would Be Postponed Until After The Election. “The United States Postal Service will pause its cost-cutting policies after the recent moves sparked controversy and intensified fears that such measures might undermine the US elections this November. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday in a statement that ‘to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.’” [Vox, 08/18/20]

The USPS, The Second-Largest Employer In The United States, Has Historically Been One Of The Largest Employers Of Black Americans And Provided Better Pay And Opportunity

The USPS Is The Second-Largest Employer In The United States And One Of The Largest Employers Of Black People And People Of Color…

The USPS Is “One Of The Largest Employers Of People Of Color And Women,” With 40 Percent Of The Workforce Identifying As People Of Color. “The United States Postal Service is one of the largest employers of people of color and women in the U.S. Out of a workforce of over 7.3 million USPS workers, 40 percent of USPS employees are people of color with Black people making up over 20 percent of their non-white employees.” [Colorlines, 05/11/20]

  • The USPS “Is The Second Largest Employer In The United States.” “The Postal Service is the second largest employer in the United States. We offer our team variety, training, and ways to move up. We have specific programs for recent grads and skills matching for applicants with military experience.” [US Post Office, Working At USPS, accessed 08/18/20]

…While Black Americans Comprised Less Than 12 Percent Of The U.S.’s Total Workforce, They Comprised Nearly 20 Percent Of USPS Staff And Have Grown in USPS Numbers Over the Years…

The Percentage Of Black Workers In The USPS Workforce Has Steadily Grown Since 2014. While the share of Black Americans in the U.S. workforce remained relatively steady, the percentage of Black Americans working in the USPS grew from 2014 to 2018. Additionally, the number of Black workers in the USPS steadily grew over four years – from 47,834 in 2014 to 63,944 in 2018.

[DataUSA, accessed 08/18/20]

[DataUSA, accessed 08/18/20]

The USPS Is Known For Historically Being “Less Prone To Racial Discrimination”

Black Americans Have Been Drawn To The USPS For Decades Because It Was Historically “Less Prone To Racial Discrimination Than Other Employers And Offered A Way Out Of Poverty” That Was “Attractive To Educated African-Americans Who Found Their Skills Were Not Appreciated In The Private Sector.” “Why are there so many African-Americans in the Post Office? Because historically it was less prone to racial discrimination than other employers and offered a way out of poverty, says Rubio, a former postal worker and author of the book ‘There’s Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice and Equality.’ In 1865, the U.S. Post Office opened to black workers. The jobs were attractive to educated African-Americans who found their skills were not appreciated in the private sector, Rubio said.” [Reuters, 01/21/13]

  • The USPS Opened To Black Workers In 1865. “Why are there so many African-Americans in the Post Office? Because historically it was less prone to racial discrimination than other employers and offered a way out of poverty, says Rubio, a former postal worker and author of the book ‘There’s Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice and Equality.’ In 1865, the U.S. Post Office opened to black workers. The jobs were attractive to educated African-Americans who found their skills were not appreciated in the private sector, Rubio said.” [Reuters, 01/21/13]
  • By World War I, 10 Percent Of The Postal Service’s Work Force Was African-American, And A 1941 Executive Order Banned Discrimination In The Government, Leading To Another “Sharp Rise In Postal Employment Among African-American Men And Women.” “By World War I, 10 percent of the Postal Service’s work force was African-American. After an executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 banned discrimination in the government and defense industries, there was a sharp rise in postal employment among African-American men and women, Rubio said.” [Reuters, 01/21/13]

…And Today, Black Letter-Carriers Make Significantly More Than The Average Black Household, “Allowing Them To Enter The Working Class.”

As Of 2013, The “Average Annual Salary Of Career Employees Who Work Directly With Mail, Such As Letter Carriers, Is $53,000 To $55,000.” “Julion said the loss of more Postal Service jobs would be devastating – not only to African-American communities, but all communities who rely on postal jobs and service. For example, the Postal Service is the largest employer of veterans in the nation, after the Department of Defense. The national average annual salary of career employees who work directly with mail, such as letter carriers, is $53,000 to $55,000, said a Chicago Post Office spokesman.” [Reuters, 01/21/13]

That Same Year, The Real Median Income For Black Americans Was $34,598, While It Was $58,270 For Their White Counterparts. In January 2013, the real median household income of white Americans was $58,270, while the real median household income of Black Americans was $34,598. [Economic Policy Institute, 09/16/14]

The USPS Provides Living Wages For People Of Color And Women, “Allowing Them To Enter The Working Class.” “For people of color and women, the USPS provides living wages for workers, allowing them to enter the working class. According to CNN, governmental data shows that USPS letter carriers make an average salary of $51,390 a year. USPS mail sorters make an average annual salary of $48,380. If the USPS shuts down, many people of color will lose their jobs and their paychecks, their benefits, and their stability.” [Colorlines, 05/11/20]

Communities Of Color Rely On The USPS For Delivery of Essential Items Like Money Orders, Face Masks And Life-Saving Medicine

Black And Latina/o Americans Rely On The USPS For Essential Supplies Such As Face Masks And Medications…

Black And Latina/o People Rely On The USPS For Critical Supplies Such As Face Masks. “Many people of color, especially Black and Latinx folks who live in poor, rural communities, use USPS’ last-mile deliveries to get crucial materials such as face masks.” [Colorlines, 05/11/20]

Black And Latina/o People, Who Make Up Over 55 Percent Of The Disabled Community, Also Rely On The USPS For Medication. “Black and Latinx people with disabilities, who make up over 55 percent of the disabled community, also rely on USPS for affordable delivery of necessities like medication.” [Colorlines, 05/11/20]

…Unbanked Americans, Who Are Disproportionately Black And Latina/o, Use The USPS To Send And Receive Vital And Affordable Money Orders.

The USPS Has Provided The Ability To Send Money Orders For Those Who Don’t Have Bank Accounts. “For those who don’t have bank accounts or want a secure transfer and/or payment of funds, USPS has often been the cheap and reliable way to send widely-accepted, affordable money orders that never expire.” [Colorlines, 05/11/20]

In 2017, 16.9 Percent Of Black Households Were Unbanked, 14 Percent Of Hispanic Households Were Unbanked, And Just 3 Percent Of White Households Were Unbanked.

[FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 2017]

The Post Office Is “One Of The Few Links To The Outside World” For Indigenous Communities, For Those Who “Do Business At Their Local Post Office,” And Depend On USPS For Essential Medicine And To Keep “Social Security, Veterans’ Benefit And Other Checks Safe”

For Some Native American Communities, The U.S. Post Office Is “One Of The Few Links To The Outside World”…

For “The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, The U.S. Post Office Is One Of The Few Links To The Outside World.” “On the vast, open prairie of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the U.S. Post Office is one of the few links to the outside world for the elderly and poor. In country plagued by random acts of vandalism, roadside mail boxes are scarce and only located along well-traveled major highways. Reservation residents depend upon their local post offices to keep their mailed medicines and Social Security, veterans’ benefit and other checks safe. They do their business at the post office, buying money orders to pay their monthly expenses. Customers of the Allen, Manderson and Wounded Knee post offices frequently walk long distances or wait days to use precious gas to collect their mail.” [Rapid City Journal, 12/21/11]

…They Rely On It “To Do Their Business” And To “Keep Their Mailed Medicines And Social Security, Veterans’ Benefit And Other Checks Safe”…

Those On The Indian Reservation “Depend Upon Their Local Post Offices,” As They “Do Their Business At The Post Office,” And Rely On It “To Keep Their Mailed Medicines And Social Security, Veterans’ Benefit And Other Checks Safe.” “Reservation residents depend upon their local post offices to keep their mailed medicines and Social Security, veterans’ benefit and other checks safe. They do their business at the post office, buying money orders to pay their monthly expenses. Customers of the Allen, Manderson and Wounded Knee post offices frequently walk long distances or wait days to use precious gas to collect their mail.” [Rapid City Journal, 12/21/11]

  • Customers Also “Frequently Walk Long Distances Or Wait Days To Use Precious Gas To Collect Their Mail.” “Reservation residents depend upon their local post offices to keep their mailed medicines and Social Security, veterans’ benefit and other checks safe. They do their business at the post office, buying money orders to pay their monthly expenses. Customers of the Allen, Manderson and Wounded Knee post offices frequently walk long distances or wait days to use precious gas to collect their mail.” [Rapid City Journal, 12/21/11]

The USPS Still Delivers Mail To Some Indigenous Communities By Mule And Others By Parachute Drop…

USPS Delivers Mail To The A Tribe In The Grand Canyon “By Mule” And Drops Mail To Some Alaskan Towns “By Parachute.” “In Alaska, letter carriers rode on dogsleds until the 1960s; even now, mail is dropped into some towns by parachute. Down the Grand Canyon, where a Native American tribe lives, mail carriers still deliver the post by mule.” [National Geographic, 05/18/20]

…And For Some, The USPS Is The Only “Direct Connection Between Their Communities” And To The Outside World.

“Indigenous Folks Who Live On Remote Lands” Rely On The USPS For A “Direct Connection Between Their Communities And Other People Throughout The United States.” “For Indigenous folks who live on remote lands, USPS is a direct connection between their communities and other people throughout the United States. “ [Colorlines, 05/11/20]

The USPS, Which Delivered 1.2 Billion Prescriptions To Americans Last Year, Is An Essential Service To Elderly And Rural Americans Who “Really Depend” On It To Go “The Last Mile.”

…The USPS, Which Delivered 1.2 Billion Prescriptions Last Year And Nearly 100 Percent Of The VA’s Prescriptions, Is An Essential Medical Delivery Service For Elderly Folks And American Veterans.

The USPS Delivered 1.2 Billion Prescriptions In 2019, Including Close To 100 Percent Of All Prescriptions From The Veterans Administration. “The Postal Service delivered 1.2 billion prescriptions in 2019, including close to 100% of the prescriptions from the VA, according to the American Postal Workers Union.” [McClatchy, 04/23/20]

20 Percent Of Americans Over 40 With A Chronic Condition Get Their Pills By Mail. In fact, 18 percent of Americans still pay their bills by mail, according to an ACI Worldwide report; meanwhile, 20 percent of adults over 40 who take medication for a chronic condition get those pills by mail order, according to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association.” [Vox, 04/16/20]

More Than Half Of People Who Get Their Medication By Mail Are Over The Age Of 65. “More than half the people who get their medicine delivered are over the age of 65, according to a report from the National Community Pharmacists Association — and 54 percent of this group takes more than four different types of medication. If the USPS shuts down, then they will be left without an affordable option to access vital drugs.” [Vox, 04/16/20]

An Elderly Texas Man Claimed His Heart Medication Was At A USPS Processing Facility For More Than A Week. “An elderly Texas man says his heart medication has remained at a Postal Service processing facility for more than a week due to delays in mail delivery affecting residents of many U.S. states.” [The Hill, 08/15/20]

  • Don White Had Never Previously Experienced Difficulty Receiving His Medication If He Had A Tracking Number. “In an interview withlocal news affiliate KHOU, 82-year-old Don White said he hoped to receive his medication Monday and noted that he had never experienced an inability to receive the drugs from the post office if he was in possession of a tracking number. ‘There have been a few times in which it’s taken a week, week and a half, two weeks, but this is the first time I actually ran out and checking with the post office didn’t do much good, even though I had a tracking number on it,’ White told KHOU.” [The Hill, 08/15/20]
  • White Had Gone Without Medication For A Week And Had To Rely On Over The Counter Solutions. “Because of the delays, White says he has gone without the medicine for a week and has had to rely on over-the-counter solutions from local drugstores.” [The Hill, 08/15/20]

70-Year Old Missouri Army Veteran Who Relies On USPS For His Heart Medicine: “Rural Missouri Really Depends On The Postal Service.”

Jack Bainbridge, A 70 Year Old Army Veteran From Rural Missouri: “Rural Missouri Really Depends On The Postal Service.” “If Jack Bainbridge couldn’t get his prescriptions through the mail, the 70-year-old Army veteran would have to make a 90-mile round trip to the VA Medical Center in Kansas City. Instead, the retired union laborer who lives outside of Odessa, Missouri, can walk outside his door, cross the road to his mailbox and be sure that the mail carrier he’s known for years will have already dropped off his blood thinners and other medication […] ‘Rural Missouri really depends on the Postal Service.’” [Kansas City Star, 04/21/20]

  • More Than One In Five Older Americans Live In Rural Areas. “For one, Miller said, elderly customers are still dependent on the Postal Service. More than 1 in 5 older Americans live in rural areas, according to the Census Bureau.” [Columbus Dispatch, 08/17/20]

…And Because FedEx, UPS And Amazon Will Not Deliver To Everywhere, Rural Americans Count On The USPS To Carry Packages For “The Last Mile.”

Because FedEx, UPS And Amazon Will Not Deliver To Certain Areas, Rural Carriers Take Those Packages For “The Last Mile” To Their Destinations.  “Rural carriers also shoulder deliveries for USPS competitors such as FedEx, UPS and Amazon. Every morning at the post office, Miller sorts through the five pallets Amazon delivers from Kentucky. A few more pallets will show up from FedEx and UPS throughout the week. Because most major delivery companies won’t deliver to rural areas, postal workers carry their packages for what they call “the last mile.” [Columbus Dispatch, 08/17/20]

###