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What’s behind the mail delays?

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 7:06 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - If it seems like your mail service is much slower these days, it is not your imagination.

The president of the local postal workers union, Camise Samuel, said there are a number of reasons for those delays including staff shortages, and office closures, and lack of equipment.

Over the last month, Birmingham postal workers have had a hard time keeping up with demand.

“We had like 4 or 5 machines taken out,” said Samuel.

“We had one machine, when people move and they forward their mail, that machine was taken out, and we only have two for the state of Alabama, and one of them has been taken out. So, now we have one machine, and the mail is backing up,” Samuel explained.

He said he was told the sorting machine was taken away because mail volume is low due to the pandemic, but he said that's not the case.

“We have mail now that’s backed up probably…like I said a week old from the taking out of the other machine. Letters have decreased, but the packages have increased because more and more people are staying at home and ordering,” Samuel said.

Samuel added that thousands of pieces of mail are being held up, and he said that won't change until people start speaking up.

“They really need to contact [their] senators right now and get the CARES Act passed because what the postal service is doing will have an impact on everything from prescriptions, to the ballots, to bills...I mean…it’s a domino effect on everything that we do,” Samuel said.

Meanwhile, postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, announced Tuesday that the U.S. Postal service will stop controversial cost-cutting measures until after the election, canceling service reductions, reinstating overtime hours and leaving mail-sorting machines and public collection boxes in place.

It’s also important to note that the United States Postal Service does not use taxpayer money operate.

And Samuel said sending your mail through USPS is the cheapest way to send your mail, but there has been a recent push to privatize the mail service.

Samuel said is hopes that won’t happen.

We reached out to Birmingham’s Postmaster John Richardson, Jr., but he was not available for comment.

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