Postal Union: Sorting Equipment Dismantled In Conn. Remains In Pieces Despite Hold On Service Cuts | Connecticut Public Radio

Postal Union: Sorting Equipment Dismantled In Conn. Remains In Pieces Despite Hold On Service Cuts

Aug 20, 2020

A Connecticut postal union official says sorting equipment dismantled under orders from new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy as part of his controversial cuts in service has not returned to operation despite DeJoy’s suspension of the cuts Tuesday.

Joan Levy, director of the Connecticut State Postal Workers Union, said two machines in Wallingford that could process 35,000 pieces of mail an hour were taken apart and left in pieces. 

"It’s a disgrace," Levy said, speaking at a New Haven news conference hosted by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. "What we were told was if they had to take them out of commission because of the low volume, they were gonna keep them on the workroom floor, tarp them and have them ready for the ballots when they have a surge of ballots. That’s not what happened; they are in pieces on the workroom floor."

Levy said four pieces of high-speed machinery in Hartford were also disassembled and put in a parking lot. While DeJoy announced that he would hold off on the cost-cutting measures until after the election, the American Postal Workers Union headquarters received an email from him saying those machines would not be returned to service. 

Attorney General William Tong told reporters he wasn’t satisfied. Earlier on Tuesday, Tong joined 21 other states that are suing DeJoy and the United States Postal Service for making cost-cutting changes to operational capacity without seeking the proper approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

"That afternoon the postmaster said, 'Ah, I was just kidding, right? I don’t mean it, I’m gonna step away and things are gonna go back to normal,'" Tong said, eliciting agreement from a crowd of union postal workers. "I want to see that in writing, in a binding judicial decree before a court."

Someone from the crowd chimed in about wanting the sorting machines put back together. 

"Right," Tong said, "I want to see those machines back, I want to see those mailboxes back, I want to see them undo the damage that they’ve done."

DeLauro had called the news conference to share her support for $25 billion in new funding for the postal service proposed by Democrats in Congress. DeLauro is headed to Washington, D.C., Saturday to vote on emergency legislation, the Delivering for America Act, which, if passed, would prevent the postal service from changing its operating capacity from what it had on Jan. 1, 2020. 

DeLauro also said she wants DeJoy removed.

"This is an essential service," she said. "At an extraordinary time to sabotage the mail is unconscionable. It is an essential component of our democracy and of people’s lives, and I will, my friends, [support the service] through rain or shine, sleet or Donald Trump." 

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places