REDMOND, Wash. (Jan. 27, 2022) — U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1st) is calling on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to scrap plans that would consolidate mail processing at the Seattle East Delivery Distribution Center facility in Redmond and move operations south to Tukwila. In a letter to DeJoy, she also requested that he visit the center with her to see its importance to the growing region.
This consolidation would slow mail delivery across King and Snohomish counties. The facility processes mail for Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Pass, Carnation, Duvall, Fall City, Mill Creek, Bothell, Woodinville, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Kirkland, Redmond, and Everett.
“I strongly urge you to reconsider your plan to conduct an operational mail move at the Seattle East DDC facility in Redmond,” DelBene wrote. “I had the opportunity to tour this facility and see firsthand the incredible breadth of work this facility and its employees support. Following my tour, I spoke directly with union leaders and workers who are employed at the facility, and they shared their concerns about the impending mail move, lack of necessary processing equipment, delays in mail delivery, and staffing shortages.”
Earlier this month, DelBene toured the Seattle East DDC facility and met with union leaders and workers to understand how staffing shortages and the consolidation and removal of mail processing equipment would impact the region.
DelBene is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2021. Strongly supported by the American Postal Workers Union and other unions representing USPS employees, H.R. 3076 would protect six-day delivery, increase public transparency about USPS performance, and perhaps most importantly, repeal the onerous pre-funding mandate from a 2006 law that required the USPS to fully pre-fund the health benefits for postal workers 75 years in advance. This requirement, which no other public or private entity is burdened with, is responsible for 84 percent of the Postal Service’s net losses since 2007.
BACKGROUND — In a Sept. 17, 2021 news release, the Postal Service announced “new service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals” that “will increase time-in-transit standards by 1 or 2 days.” Only 61 percent of First-Class Mail will be unaffected. For example, mail from Washington state being sent to the eastern United States will take five days to deliver, as opposed to the longtime three-day delivery standard.
More than 130,000 postal customers submitted comments in opposition to slower mail delivery, as part of the public comment process. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined Attorneys Generals from 20 other states in filing an Aug. 20 Statement of Position opposing the slower mail standards.
The East DDC in the Redmond Facility is one of 18 facilities nationwide that are targeted to lose their local mail processing capability. Currently letters to Redmond and neighboring communities are machine-sorted in Redmond before being given to mail carriers for delivery.
The Postal Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Opinion criticized these moves, with one member pointing out that a similar change in 2012 that consolidated mail processing and slowed down the mail “promised both cost savings and service improvements,” but instead resulted in permanently reduced service and negligible cost savings.”
The Stand (Sept. 29, 2021) — Protest Postal Service slowdown in Redmond — The APWU’s informational picket will ask public support to stop the nationwide planned slowdown of First-Class Mail set to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2021, as well as the planned departure of local mail processing from the East DDC.
► Meanwhile, from the Center for Public Integrity on Nov. 16, 2021 — This year at USPS: Mail slowdowns, big executive bonuses for DeJoy and others — The U.S. Postal Service paid its top executives more in bonuses and perks last year than at any other point in the past decade. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy earned a $75,000 performance bonus in fiscal year 2021, plus about $56,000 in other perks, which includes membership in two airline clubs, in addition to his $305,681 salary, the highest ever paid for the top job at USPS. In all, DeJoy earned about as much as President Joe Biden. The generous executive compensation comes as mail carriers complain about rampant wage theft at the quasi-public agency. A Public Integrity investigation published in August found that hundreds of managers at post offices across the country have been caught illegally changing mail carriers’ time cards to show them working fewer hours than they did, resulting in lost pay. In October, the Postal Service began slowing delivery of letters, bills and other first-class mail from three to five days in large swaths of the country — part of DeJoy’s plan to save the agency money. The agency has long wrestled with massive amounts of debt because federal law requires the Postal Service to prepay retiree pension and healthcare benefits.