Union leaders and postal workers alike are concerned about new policies and procedures put into place that have caused delays in the mailing system throughout the pandemic, and will likely carry over into the mail-in ballots come November. The Washington Post released an article sourcing multiple statements and incidents all indicating an average of a two-day delay of mail nationwide. This also includes express and premium forms of shipping. This backlog has some workers and citizens concerned that come election time, they won’t be able to process, count, and deliver votes fast enough.
In the beginning of July, new procedures were put into place by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, changing aspects of USPS and how it is allowed to function. The new policies entail such things as hours being cut back and overtime, (including late trips/extra trips by USPS workers), will no longer be authorized or accepted. This is justified as a cost cutting measure that could potentially save USPS around $200 million. USPS has been struggling financially prior to the onset of COVID-19, but the pandemic has only made things worse. Dejoy noted this in a statement on Monday, saying that the USPS is in a “financially unsustainable position”.
KSL reported that on Wednesday, “the Treasury Department announced that it reached an agreement with USPS on the “terms and conditions” for $10 billion in the form of loans.” This has been an ongoing struggle, especially with gaining President Trump’s approval of the loans without the USPS undergoing serious reform. This funding will be essential for the future of USPS, and Mark Dimondstein (head of the APWU) told CNN: “If the funding doesn’t come through, everything we do, including vote by mail will be much harder”. This will not only effect regular mail arriving on time, it will also determine hours and overtime for federal postal employees, and it could ultimately decide whether our election in November is able to be properly handled in a timely manner to meet the mail-in deadline.