NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — “Day of Action” events are planned across the nation Tuesday to draw attention to recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service.
Supporters stress the importance of reliable service throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and mail-in voting for the November election, CBS2’s John Dias reported.
There was enthusiasm on all fronts, from Postal Service union leaders to politicians, who formed a united front to show their endorsement. Union Square was expected to be filled with supporters, letting their voices be heard that it is not OK to change USPS operations during a time like this.
Many are blaming new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and President Donald Trump, who they say wants to compromise mail-in voting for the November election.
Following wide criticism, DeJoy said later in the day he would suspend operational changes he put in place — cutbacks, overtime, and removal of sorting machines — until after the election, and create a task force to look at decades of financial woes.
Video from Twitter shows mail trucks in New Jersey being towed away and in other areas across the country mailboxes are seemingly locked, actions many fear have to do with the recent cuts and were possibly fueled by political gain.
“I think it’s atrocious and patently political gambit by the president,” said Sabina Brukner of the East Village.
“Trump is doing everything on purpose,” added Roberto Felice of Chelsea.
Because of the recent cuts, delivery delays are becoming a norm.
“It’s about two or three days late in some instances,” the East Village’s Sonya Martin said.
The USPS had said the cuts were a cost-saving measure, following years of financial woes.
In addition, the president has continued to raise questions about the safety of mail-in voting, despite recently requesting an absentee ballot for himself.
“It’s really about a correct vote. This is a serious situation. This isn’t games. You have to get it right. I just want to get it right,” Trump said.
“It’s something that we in years past would call out for a third world country’s doing, saying this is an unfair election,” said Doug Jelly of Ohio.
On Twitter, Republican New York State Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis seemingly blamed Congress for current shortfalls, saying it is playing politics with the president.
But on Tuesday, postal union workers and elected leaders demanded the reversal of policy decisions that some say threaten the coming November election when mail-in voting is expected to soar.
“Take the mission of universal service and timely processing of mail very seriously. There is no justification for unnecessary delays of the mail,” said Yvette Johnson, the vice president of the National Post Mail Handlers Union.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote Saturday on the “Delivering for America Act,” introduced by New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, which reverses changes made this year to the USPS and prevents changes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want a speed up of mail delivery, not a slow down,” Maloney said.
“The postmaster general was appointed by the president and he’s doing this, so the buck stops here, as Harry Truman said,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said. “It stops at the president’s desk, and we are telling the president change this or we will change it legislatively.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James and more than a dozen candidates from the Tri-State Area will be suing the postmaster general and the president to ensure adequate funding for mail operations to carry out the November elections.
If you want to vote by mail, you’re encouraged to get your ballot and vote early.
DeJoy, who was appointed by President Trump, has agreed to testify on Capitol Hill about the cost-cutting measures.
Veterans: We Need Regular Mail Delivery Desperately
Groups of retired servicemen and women are pleading for timely mail delivery. They depend on the USPS to bring them their life-saving medications.
“This is not a political issue. We need both sides to get together on this thing,” veteran Patrick Yngstrom said.
A group of Long Island veterans who receive their ballots, Social Security checks, and prescription medicines by mail told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan they’re concerned.
“I am a diabetic, agent orange infected, and my wife, she a breast cancer survivor. Everything I get comes through the VA,” veteran James Merritte said.
“And I haven’t had mail at my house since last Thursday and neither has a whole eight-block area around me,” Yngstrom said.
“Life and death because we are low income, retired, and we can’t afford to go to store and buy it. So that means everything,” veteran Stephen Koo said.
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