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To: President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Take the Post Office Back: Appoint new bosses who can fire Louis DeJoy
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is one Trump crony who didn’t leave on January 20. In fact, the post office could be stuck with him indefinitely. Which is why we need President Joe Biden and the Senate to immediately fill the vacancies on the Postal Board of Governors with appointees who will hold Louis DeJoy accountable for the damage he’s done.
DeJoy was selected by Donald Trump to sabotage the post office in order to privatize it. With a Republican majority and three empty Democratic seats, the current Board of Governors has allowed DeJoy to carry out Trump’s will by strategically dismantling the functioning of posts offices across the country.
The Postal Board of Governors is the boss of the Postmaster General. They hire and fire the postmaster, review all practices of the post office, and along with the Postal Regulatory Commission, set policies for the postal service. The Board of Governors can set a new direction for the post office, and we can ensure this happens by filling the vacancies on its Board of Governors.
Why is this important?
The post office is a public good. The USPS delivers to every address regardless of location, even if you live somewhere rural or hard to access. They deliver essential life saving prescription medication, and they are the backbone of our democracy, especially during this pandemic. Over 100 million ballots were delivered during this past election, and during the pandemic, packages have continued to be delivered for small businesses and families alike.
The USPS keeps our society going and has been the truest of essential services. Despite all this, Louis DeJoy deliberately sabotaged the functioning of the USPS. DeJoy eliminated overtime pay, reduced retail hours, closed and consolidated post office locations, began removing mail-sorting machines before the election, and implemented tactics to slow down delivery speeds. These delays disproportionately targeted communities of color, which added insult to injury after decades of voter suppression against Black and non-Black communities of color.(1)
DeJoy has said that he’s working on a ten year plan for the post office that will come out soon, and we can expect it to feature more price hikes and service cuts, more attacks against Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and rural communities, and other measures to carry out Trump’s OMB report calling for the post office to be privatized and sold for parts. He's already announced plans to cut service to Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.(2)
The public pressure is working. A broad coalition formed to come to the defense of the post office this summer, and there were over 1100 #SaveThePostOffice events at local post offices across the country. Both the House and the Senate called DeJoy to testify about the service cuts in August. Federal Court Judge Stanley Bastian called DeJoy’s changes, “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service.” After public outcry, our advocacy, and multiple lawsuits, DeJoy was pressured into reversing all slowdown changes before election day. But DeJoy immediately began reinstating those changes on November 4.
The stakes couldn’t be higher: we saw this holiday season the effects of Louis DeJoy’s project to slow down the mail, jack up prices, and privatize the post office, in the middle of a pandemic that is decimating the postal workforce. In the lead-up to the holidays, 20,000 postal workers either tested positive for COVID-19 or were quarantining due to exposure. Facing an astonishing 100% increase in holiday package volume due to COVID, the private carriers FedEx and UPS got overwhelmed, cut off large retailers, and left it to the USPS to deliver. Postal workers were pushed to the breaking point, working double shifts to deliver our packages. The volume increase was entirely predictable, and a different Postmaster General would have planned for it.
If we don’t stop Louis DeJoy, a national treasure will be lost. That’s why in his first 100 days in office, President Biden and the Senate need to fill the empty seats on the Postal Board of Governors with with pro-post office members who will prioritize the USPS’s mandate to serve all of us, and stop DeJoy’s ideological project to kill the agency in its tracks.