WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) on Thursday sent two letters to the leadership of the United States Postal Service (USPS) demanding answers and accountability regarding postal issues affecting workers and service in communities across Vermont. These letters – one to the USPS Board of Governors and one to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy – were the first sent by the newly-formed Vermont Delegation in the 118th Congress, continuing ongoing delegation efforts to resolve postal issues across the state.
“We write with great concern regarding the ongoing staffing crisis and resulting mail delays at United States Postal Service locations across Vermont,” the delegation wrote in both letters to USPS leadership. “In the last month alone, we have received a particularly high volume of calls from the Chittenden County town of Hinesburg about insufficient staffing that has resulted in poor customer service. We have heard similar concerning reports from post offices in Williston, South Burlington, and Windham County. These issues are unacceptable; our constituents deserve better.”
The delegation laid out urgent requests for action, assessments, and recommendations. The letters include questions and requests for information covering a wide range of issues, including an immediate plan of action to fix the egregious postal issues in Hinesburg, improvements to USPS’ hiring process, and actions to address postal workers’ needs, delays in mail delivery, leadership deficiencies, and holiday performance. The delegation requested answers by no later than March 1, 2023.
In the letters, Sanders, Welch, and Balint described serious reports of mail delays that have lasted multiple weeks, local businesses and individuals that have missed bill payments, and even older Vermonters who have been forced to order emergency prescription replacements because their original medication never arrived or arrived in unusable condition. The delegation has also heard from numerous constituents whose regular mail was significantly delayed due to the prioritization of third-party packages, including from Amazon. “This is an outrage,” they wrote.
To the Board of Governors, the delegation wrote: “For years, our Vermont Congressional Delegation has engaged with Postmaster General DeJoy and regional Postal Service leadership in an attempt to address mail delays and staffing issues, yet no help has come. Vermonters understand what we know to be true: passing the Postal Service Reform Act was critical in ensuring the Postal Service has the financial footing necessary to adequately staff the agency and restore delivery service. We, along with our constituents, expect meaningful progress.”
To Postmaster DeJoy, the delegation wrote: “As Postmaster General, you are responsible for the timely delivery of the mail. As the Vermont Delegation noted in our December 2021 letter to you, when you fail in that mission you fail Vermont’s seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and small business owners… We have made our and our constituents’ frustrations regarding your leadership failures clear. The U.S. Postal Service is a critical government agency, not a money-making machine. We expect you to take these staffing issues in Vermont and across the country seriously, and to focus on meeting the Postal Service’s duties to the American people.”