CO Labor Organizers: USPS Changes Hit Rural Communities Hardest
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
BOULDER, Colo. -- Ahead of the busiest season of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, some Colorado labor organizers are voicing concerns about the latest policy changes.
They include new "service standards" that slow down First Class Mail delivery. Mail traveling less than 1,000 miles should reach its destination in three days, and mail traveling more than 1,900 miles will take about five days. The Postal Service also hiked rates for mail, packages and other special services.
Robert Lindgren, political and organizing director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said he is hearing from postal workers they are worried the changes will affect people who depend on the USPS for their prescription medications.
"In places where other services don't provide service, the Postal Service does," Lindgren pointed out. "And a delay of a few days might not seem that important on its face, but when that's your life-saving medications in a rural community, these sorts of planned delays are not helpful."
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said the Postal Service is hiring 40,000 seasonal workers to help with the holiday rush, and the changes are needed to trim a $160 billion loss by 2030.
Christopher Shaw, an author and historian of the U.S. Postal Service, said he is already hearing reports of how the changes are affecting small business owners. They often depend on First Class Mail and have said the slowdown will impact their day-to-day operations.
Shaw thinks some may turn to other delivery providers, which could lead to further privatization of the industry.
"These changes are part of a trend where the Postal Service is conceived of not as a public service, and instead, more like a for-profit business," Shaw noted. "Which could very well lead to degradation of the service that Americans have expected and received over the years."
The changes are part of DeJoy's 10-year plan, called "Delivering for America," which includes modernizing the vehicle fleet and making investments in mail-processing facilities.
get more stories like this via email
In her 2022 State of the State address, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul set new goals for electrifying the school bus fleets in the state. Clean-energy …
Finding and affording child care is no cakewalk for Oregon families right now. A new report details the pressures and some potential policy fixes…
Acknowledging the pandemic's toll on Kentucky students, teachers and families, Gov. Andy Beshear announced last night a state budget which would make …
Health and Wellness
This month, Minnesota has raised state reimbursement rates for dentists who accept patients enrolled in the state's Medicaid program. Groups working …
Health and Wellness
A new report suggests discrimination in medical settings affects the quality of care for many Ohioans. In a survey of more than 800 people, …
One hundred years ago today, the Izaak Walton League of America was founded in Chicago, with a mission of local stewardship of wild places, citizen …
An alliance of environmental groups and lawmakers has released an ambitious, wide-ranging set of goals for the 2022 Arizona Legislature. The …
During Wisconsin's pandemic elections, absentee ballot drop boxes offered a different route for people to cast their votes, but a new decision in …