Activists hold day of action in support of postal workers

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — A coalition of activists led by MoveOn.org declared Aug. 22 a “day of action” aimed at saving the U.S. Postal Service, with nearly 700 rallies held nationwide — including many in Southern
California.

A rally, organized by Northridge Indivisible, which describes itself as “a volunteer group of progressives in Northridge who are working together to drive political change starting at the local level,” was held outside CNN’s Los Angeles bureau in Hollywood before participants marched to the Sunset Post Office at 1425 N. Cherokee Ave.

Other rallies occurred outside the following postal facilities in West Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica and North Hollywood.

“We will show up at local post offices across the country for ‘Save the Post Office Saturday’ to save the post office from [President Donald] Trump and declare that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must resign,” said a statement on the MoveOn.org website.

DeJoy, who became postmaster general June 16, has been accused of tampering with the nation’s postal service by banning overtime, removing mail sorting equipment and prohibiting extra trips by postal workers to collect mail and parcels that arrive later in the day to cut costs.

The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, more than twice what it lost the previous year, and DeJoy has said the changes are necessary to save money.

Critics have said the changes have slowed mail delivery at a time when more people are relying on the service amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and to vote by mail ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

DeJoy defended his leadership during a hearing Aug. 21 before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and said operational changes would be put on hold until after the election. He also vowed post offices will be able to handle mail-in ballots.

In a rare Saturday eveving vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service and requires the agency to return to prior operations levels.

In the last few months, my office has received complaints about slow, incomplete and inadequate mail service in our district,’” said Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance. “We now know that these recent problems are driven by cuts and changes made to the USPS by the Trump administration. Poor mail service hurts our country.

“We just passed the Delivering For America Act because Trump’s efforts to dismantle the Postal Service haven’t gone unnoticed and won’t go unchecked. Americans rely on timely mail service for their businesses, their health, their finances and everything in-between. Good mail service is even more essential during the pandemic, and will be critical to our democracy in November.

We are committed to ensuring everyone’s right to vote, and protecting our Postal Service is critical to protecting vote by mail.”

The vote was 257-150, with 26 Republicans joining all House Democrats voting in favor.

Senate Republicans have said that they would not pass the bill, and President Trump has said he would veto it anyway.

Trump described DeJoy as “a very talented man” and “a brilliant business person.” He was chairman and CEO of the High Point, North Carolina-based contract logistics firm New Breed Logistics from 1983 until 2014 when it was acquired by the Connecticut-based freight transporter XPO Logistics.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing Aug. 19 that the Postal Service “does have sufficient funding through 2021, and they do currently have cash on hand. They’ve been given that $10 billion line of credit through the CARES Act,” referring to the federal coronavirus relief bill.

McEnany said the Trump administration is “certainly open to” increased Postal Service funding.

On Aug. 18, Trump called for Amazon to pay more for shipping packages through the Postal Service.

“Amazon is paying an ancient price, and they shouldn’t be,” Trump said. “And they shouldn’t be allowed to pass it on to their customer.”

Trump also said “we shouldn’t get rid of any of our postal workers.”

Former Santa Monica Mayor Ruth Y. Goldway, a commissioner of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission from 1998-2015 and its chair from 2009-2014, urged “everyone to be calm,” in an op-ed published Aug. 18 by the New York Times.

Don’t fall prey to the alarmists on both sides of this debate,” wrote Goldway, a Democrat appointed to the commission by then-President Bill Clinton and reappointed in 2002 and 2008 by then-President George W. Bush. “The Postal Service is not incapacitated. It is still fully capable of delivering the mail.”

Goldway wrote that “while the agency indeed has financial problems, as a result of a huge increase in packages being sent through the system and a credit line through the CARES Act, it has access to about $25 billion in cash. Its own forecasts predict that it will have enough money to operate into 2021.”

Goldway attributed the Postal Service’s “shaky financial situation” largely to the approximately 30% drop in first-class mail, typically used for letters, from 10 years ago.

The service’s expensive, overbuilt infrastructure can absorb the addition of more mail in 2020, including election mail that is mailed to and sent back by every voter in every state,” Goldway wrote.

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