The United States Postal Service is dealing with crippling backlogs of letters and packages. A postmaster in upstate New York recently told their union that the regular mail was two days behind and, for the first time in their career, Express Priority Mail was not going out on time. Despite a surge in package delivery during the pandemic, postal workers are no longer able to work overtime, and fewer mail trucks are on the road. If your own mail seems delayed or unpredictable, it’s not a one-off problem.
Mail service has been disrupted nationwide in recent weeks due to a series of factors. While the USPS has been suffering financially for years, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered an existential threat to the agency. The self-funded Postal Service has been seeking billions in aid from Congress — an effort that’s been stymied by President Trump, who has long had a contentious relationship with the USPS and has pushed to privatize it. And now, the USPS is adjusting to cost-cutting policies put in place by its new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who is a top Trump donor and longtime Republican fundraiser.
The situation became even more uncertain when DeJoy announced a major restructuring of the Postal Service in a memo released on Friday. The plan involves the reassignment of 23 postal executives in an overhaul that, according to the Washington Post, “deemphasizes decades’ worth of institutional postal knowledge” and “centralizes power around DeJoy.” The shift in power stands to further complicate the new postmaster general’s relationship with Democrats in Congress, who want him investigated.