The US Postal Service will reduce post-office hours to save money, report says

A USPS mail carrier during the COVID-19 pandemic. AP Photo/Paul Sancya
  • Post-office workers are being forced to reduce hours to save money, Vice reported this week.
  • A number of post offices are being closed during lunchtime, which is when they’re busiest.
  • The move comes after the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, said the agency needed to make “necessary adjustments” to fix “a broken business model.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Across the US, post offices are cutting hours as a way to reduce costs, Vice reported this week. Hours are being reduced during peak busy times during the day, the report said.

Many postal workers were unaware of the new changes, Vice’s Aaron Gordon said, citing union officials and local news reports.

“A lot of this has been dropped on us with little or no communication,” Elizabeth Coonan, a steward for the American Postal Workers Union Local 3264 in Clarksburg, West Virginia, told Vice. “The times that they’re slating to close is when they do a lot of business.”

Coonan said that in her region, 26 post-office locations have been required to be cut down from the normal eight-hour workday to less than four hours a day. Thirty-one other locations were being made to close during lunch, which is when post offices see the most traffic.

In southern New Jersey, Frank Bollinger, the business agent for APWU Local 526, told Vice that 10 locations there were cutting down from nine hours open each weekday to just four. Similarly, another 30 will also shut down during lunchtime.

Vice attributed the cost-saving measures to the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s July 27 statement that said the Postal Service was “in a financially unsustainable position” because of “substantial declines in mail volume, and a broken business model.”

DeJoy’s statement didn’t go into specifics and ended by saying “it is critical that the Postal Service take a fresh look at our operations and make necessary adjustments.”

DeJoy was appointed by the Postal Service board of governors and is a “top GOP fundraiser,” according to NPR. He has also “racked up … a bevy of worker violations and complaints” at New Breed, his private logistics company, The Intercept reported. A Vox story explains how the GOP has been seeking to privatize postal services for years.

When asked how the USPS planned to ensure dependable service for customers in the face of reduced hours, a spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider that the Postal Service was “developing a business plan to ensure that we will be financially stable and able to continue to provide dependable, affordable, safe and secure delivery of mail and packages to all Americans as a vital part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.”

The person said the plan would have “new and creative ways to help us fulfil our mission” and “will focus on the Postal Service’s strengths to maximise our prospects for long-term success.”

On July 29, The Washington Post reported that the Treasury Department granted a $US10 billion loan to the USPS in emergency COVID-19 relief funding. In return, the USPS is to give the Treasury copies of contracts it keeps with third-party shippers like UPS, Amazon, and FedEx.

In April, Business Insider reported that President Donald Trump rejected approving a bailout package that would save the USPS and argued it could be a disaster for states trying to move toward voting by mail.

Business Insider also reported that hundreds of mail trucks have been catching on fire – most likely because of age – and that DeJoy told Postal Service workers to leave mail at distribution centres if it would delay their routes and to stop logging overtime.

Read the Vice story here >>