Local postal worker says proposed changes to USPS would hurt service

Posted at 2:31 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 05:25:08-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The ongoing proposals to change certain facets of the United States Postal Service continue to stir controversy, even after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before Congress on Monday.

Also concerned are the same postal workers who deliver the mail.

"We're here to service the public, we're the only organization that has something in the Constitution that guarantees the right for people to get their service,” Janice Nembhard-McLean, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 1518, told News 3.

Nembhard-McLean, who was a postal worker for 27 years, added the proposed changes to the postal service would be tumultuous.

“Those changes are harmful to the service we're trying to bring to people,” Nembhard-McLean said.

Some of those proposals from DeJoy included the halting of sorting machines as well cutbacks to overtime hours. Nembhard-McLean said the changes will lead to delays in mail delivery.

"There's never been, like, 'We're just going to delay the mail,’” Nembhard-McLean said, when asked if she'd seen anything similar during her 27-year career with the USPS. "We rely on overtime a lot because it's always been determined we have too many people."

DeJoy testified before Congress about those changes on Monday after scrutiny from Democrats.

We reached out to the USPS' Richmond office to see what is being done to address these concerns. Their response was to point to budgetary concerns from overtime.

A representative shared a fact sheetthat says, "Over 4,000 people received more in overtime than they made in base salary pay in FY2019... a 400% increase from FY2014."

As for the machines, in his testimony, DeJoy said he would not bring back machines. The postal service said DeJoy has “given the directive to stop the removal of additional mail processing machines through the election.”

It also said, “Letter sorting and flat machines are only being used for about one-third, 32 and 38 percent.”

There is also a House bill that would provide $25 billion in relief money to the USPS that Nembhard-McLean said would keep the USPS running. It has not entered the Senate, but President Donald Trump has already said he would veto it.

McLean said there have been protests in Norfolk and Williamsburg recently to voice opposition to the changes.

"It's ours, it's the public's. It doesn't belong to any particular person, it belongs to everybody," she said.