A USPS mail carrier during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A USPS mail carrier during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

  • Post office workers are reportedly being forced to reduce hours in order to save money, Vice has learned. 

  • In many locations, post offices are being closed during lunchtime, which is when they are busiest.

  • The move comes after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy stated that the agency needs to make “necessary adjustments” in order to fix “a broken business model.”

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nationwide, post offices are cutting hours as a way to reduce costs, a new Vice story finds. Hours are being reportedly reduced during peak busy times during the day. 

Speaking to union officials and citing local news reports, Vice reports that many postal workers were unaware of the new changes.

“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 the Clarksburg, West Virginia area, told the outlet. “The times that they’re slating [the offices] to close is when they do a lot of business.”

Coonan went on to say that in her West Virginia region, 26 post office locations have been required to be cut down from the normal eight-hour workday schedule to under four hours a day. Thirty-one other locations are 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 are cutting down from nine hours open per weekday to four. Similarly, another 30 will also shut down during lunchtime. 

Vice attributes these apparent cost-saving measures to the new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s July 27 statement that said that the Postal Service “is in a financially unsustainable position” due to “substantial declines in mail volume, and a broken business model.” 

He didn’t go into specifics, but instead ended by saying that “it is critical that the Postal Service take a fresh look at our operations and make necessary adjustments.” No further details were offered.

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, reports The Intercept. A Vox story explains how the GOP has been wanting to privatize postal services for years.

When asked how the USPS plans to ensure dependable service for customers in the face of reduced hours, a spokesperson issued a vague statement that said that the Postal Service is “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” will have “new and creative ways to help us fulfill our mission” and “will focus on the Postal Service’s strengths to maximize our prospects for long-term success.”

“In addition to developing a broader business plan, the Postal Service is taking immediate steps to increase operational efficiency by re-emphasizing existing plans that have been designed to provide prompt and reliable service within current service standards,” they said. “By running operations on time and on schedule, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable so that we can  continue to provide high-quality, reasonably-priced service to all people and businesses in the country.”

Business Insider was then redirected to DeJoy’s original statement.  

On July 29, The Washington Post reported that the Treasury Department granted a $10 billion loan to the USPS in emergency COVID-19 relief funding. In return, the USPS will give the Treasury copies of contracts it keeps with third-party shippers like UPS, Amazon, and FedEx. 

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

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

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