June 22, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general and two cities in calling on the Postal Regulatory Commission to oppose Postmaster General DeJoy's efforts to increase delivery times for First-Class Mail and other essential postal services. Forty percent of all First-Class mail in the United States will be slowed down by these proposed changes.
The action is another step being taken by attorneys general around the country to protect residents from further slowdowns and disruptions in their mail service. In August 2020, Nessel also joined a coalition of 13 other attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the federal government for unlawful changes to the USPS's operations that led to slowdowns across the United States.
Last year, media reports indicated that several mail sorting machines had been removed from facilities in Detroit, Pontiac and Grand Rapids, further contributing to service disruptions. According to the lawsuit, cutbacks at the Pontiac facility resulted in a reduction of the amount of mail that could be processed by 394,000 pieces of mail per hour.
"For more than 200 years, people across the country have relied on the U.S. Postal Service for timely delivery of everything from mail and ballots to medications and paychecks," Nessel said. "Postmaster General DeJoy continues to make reckless changes to the postal service that only further delay and disrupt operations. The Postal Regulatory Commission must reject these efforts to avoid further degradation of these essential services."
The attorneys general submitted a statement of position to the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent federal agency that provides transparency and accountability of the U. S. Postal Service's operations, to urge the USPS to focus its attention on improving from the mistakes of the previous year, not implementing changes that would further degrade service:
"One year ago, the Postal Service implemented a series of purported cost-saving initiatives that had a devastating effect on mail service. Those initiatives, which included drastic changes to USPS's policies with respect to extra and late trips, were implemented virtually overnight without any prior input from the Commission. Mail delivery across the nation slowed, and Americans who depended on the Postal Service for the delivery of prescription medication, paychecks, and other necessities were left stranded. The increased delays also made it more difficult for the States to perform a variety of essential functions and provide critical services to their residents.... Regrettably, it appears that the Postal Service is poised to repeat many of these mistakes."
The statement of position reminded the Postal Regulatory Commission of the obligations and benefits of the USPS, including its commitment to provide prompt, reliable service of necessary, life-saving goods to all residents of Michigan.
The proposed service standards would slow down mail delivery for a significant portion of First-Class mail, which would significantly hinder the USPS's mission to provide reliable service. This change would hinder state and federal governments in delivering essential services in a timely manner, including providing public assistance to low-income individuals and families, running driver's license renewal and child welfare programs, and administering elections.
The group also acknowledged the difficulties put upon postal service workers by these cuts, and how critical it is for the Commission to prevent further changes after a disastrous year, writing:
"Indeed, the events of the past year caution strongly against imposing sweeping changes of the type the Postal Service proposes. The Postal Service has faced enormous challenges as a result of the pandemic, and postal employees have performed their jobs admirably under incredible strain…. The Postal Service has already once imposed sweeping changes in the face of these unprecedented challenges, and the result was disastrous. As the Inspector General found, the July 2020 cost-saving initiatives were implemented without adequate planning and were poorly communicated, leading to a rapid decline in service from which the Postal Service has not fully recovered...The Postal Service should abandon its current effort and refocus its energies on fixing its ongoing performance deficiencies."
Joining Attorney General Nessel in submitting the statement of position are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawai'i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia. The attorneys general were also joined by the City of New York, and the City and County of San Francisco.