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Wed Apr 8, 2020, 03:44 PM

'Lost In The Mail In The Coronavirus Era': Pandemic Threatens Carriers, Customers, USPS, Elections?

'Lost in the Mail in the Coronavirus Era.' The pandemic threatens letter carriers, their customers, the US Postal Service itself – and *even the November election.* By Michael Winship, Common Dreams, April 7, 2020. EXCERPTS:

..We finally got the mail on Thursday. None had arrived for a week, except for some packages. Our main local post office downtown, at the southern end of Manhattan’s West Village, has been hit hard by COVID-19. Earlier in the week, I had run into a postal carrier on my street and asked what was happening. Keeping our social distance, he told me he had been transferred to our neighborhood from a less busy location and that out of some thirty letter carriers at our main PO, twenty were out sick. The New York Post cited a nearby resident who said she was told that only nine of our 61 local postal employees were working “because of illness or they have to take care of family members.”

..Our congressman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, emailed constituents to let us know that the USPS expected to “clear the backlog” over the next couple of days and so it was on Thursday that mail appeared, although there has been little further since. It was a ragtag mix, the way it usually is these days, with so few sending personal correspondence via letter mail anymore... – something marked “Confidential” from Vice President Mike Pence! How I got on the radar of Pence and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) – for this “confidential” letter is a fundraising appeal, of course – is a mystery...

..Right now, nationwide, as with my own local post office, the US Postal Service is trying to deal with the overwhelming magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers are performing heroically but are desperately shorthanded and succumbing to sickness. And while in many areas of the country postal management is trying to serve customers and protect both them and employees, the quality of care greatly varies. An article last month from investigative journalists at Pro Publica reported postal carriers saying they were “being pressed into service against medical advice and with insufficient protection against the novel coronavirus… postal workers said the USPS has long pushed employees to avoid taking sick days and managers are still sticking to that.”
And Jake Bittle at The Nation wrote, “Many post offices have long been understaffed, and the coronavirus is poised to push an already overworked labor force to a breaking point. Without drastic action, the virus could soon threaten the Postal Service just when it’s needed most.”

..As a letter carrier told Bittle, “We’re a service that stitches the community together. If people see us out delivering the mail like normal, it calms them down.” But even before the coronavirus outbreak, you probably knew the postal service was in bad budget trouble..The USPS’ dire financial straits couldn’t continue at a worse time, when COVID-19 has devastated the post office with sickness and letters could be contaminated with virus, while people forced to stay at home are in urgent need of the US Mail for deliveries of medical supplies and prescriptions, welfare and Social Security payments and those promised $1200 checks from the government -- allegedly to tide us over until businesses are reopened and jobs restored.

And don’t forget election ballots – in these difficult times of contagion, vote-by-mail and absentee ballots become all the more important as voters fear exposure if they go to the polls. (Look at what’s happened in Wisconsin,...

More, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/04/07/lost-mail-coronavirus-era

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Reply 'Lost In The Mail In The Coronavirus Era': Pandemic Threatens Carriers, Customers, USPS, Elections? (Original post)
appalachiablue Apr 8 OP
customerserviceguy Apr 8 #1
appalachiablue Apr 8 #2

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:10 PM

1. I always get my New Yorker magazine on Wednesdays

It wasn't there in today's mail, I wonder if the delay is because of trouble at the USPS or with the magazine itself.

The junk mail volume has shrunk somewhat, but I still got an ad for Medicare Advantage today, I don't turn 65 until November. A few here have told me that as they approached that milestone, all kinds of crap flooded their mailboxes.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 8, 2020, 04:15 PM

2. Age 65 & advantage soliciting, it's relentless I've also heard.

I will personally thank the next mail carriers I encounter after what I've been reading about the situation. Heroes.

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