The United States Postal Service under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is planning to move many letter carrier delivery units out of local post offices and into large Sorting and Delivery Centers. This process is already beginning in New Hampshire and Georgia and the USPS is targeting several other locations, none in Wisconsin at this time.
In 2021, the Postal Service announced plans to reduce its service standards. In other words, it is slowing down the mail, primarily by reducing the use of airplanes to transport mail and using trucks instead. DeJoy is heavily invested in the trucking industry and ran a trucking company with large postal contracts prior to his appointment to the office of Postmaster General. The Postal Service will save some on air transportation but will likely lose money by losing customers to faster delivery services.
Now, the USPS is planning massive consolidations which separate carrier units from retail units and place them in centralized locations. The result will be longer commuting distances for employees from home to work and from their delivery units to their routes. The increased driving is forecast to increase the number of delivery routes by up to 10,000. In addition, customers will have to drive further to pick up parcels and other items that carriers weren’t able to deliver without a signature. Some local post offices will lose part of their function when they lose their carrier units.
The blog Save the Post Office provides information about post office closings, suspensions, and consolidations. It’s run by retired English professor Steve Hutkins.
Writing in August of this year about the loss of carriers, Hutkins wrote, “When a post office loses its carriers, it also loses one of its main reasons for being there. The Postal Service uses the excess space in the back of the building to justify various modes of downsizing and dismantling: reduced operating hours, relocations to smaller spaces in shopping centers, conversions to contract offices, suspensions over lease issues, property disposals, and, of course, closures.”
DeJoy is implementing this plan without review by the Postal Regulatory Commission or the Office of the Inspector General. The plan continues the trend of merging mail processing units and closing smaller local retail units, particularly in rural areas and urban locations. That trend began long before DeJoy took office.
Story by Keith Steffen. Photo courtesy Trinity Nguyen on Unsplash. Web production by Anyu Li.