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Higgins visits Buffalo mail processing facility

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Fri, Sep 11th 2020 10:40 am

Congressman says USPS WNY needs more equipment & resources, not less, to deal with mail delays & restore public trust

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, toured Buffalo’s William Street mail processing facility on Wednesday to get a first-hand look at the current state of U.S. Postal Service operations in Western New York. The Congressman requested the visit after hearing from over 4,800 residents and employees throughout 2020 expressing concern about current delays as well as the future of the USPS.

Higgins said, “Visiting Western New York’s mail processing hub is an incredible reminder of the hard work and great care our postal workers put into doing their job. That diligence, generation after generation, is what has built public trust and confidence in the United States Postal Service. Unfortunately, Postmaster DeJoy’s actions have eroded that trust and made it increasingly difficult for workers to do their jobs. To plan for the future, facilities like ours in Buffalo need more equipment and investment, not less. We will continue to fight for the additional resources needed to help residents and businesses get the on-time U.S. mail delivery they’ve come to expect and deserve.”

Higgins made the following observations:

•Postal workers in the Buffalo facility are working hard to process delayed mail, but more people and equipment are needed to handle the increase in packages.

•The postmaster general’s directive to not allow trucks to wait for all of the day’s mail, to not send extra trucks (no lates, no extras) and to pull sorters out of Buffalo is leading to delays.

•While thousands of delayed packages have been moved out of the Buffalo facility in the last week, thousands more remain. This includes fresh fruit sitting for weeks and three-day priority mail delayed for a month or longer.

•The USPS has promised but not delivered to Buffalo a used package sorting machine currently in Pittsburgh.

•There is not clarity on whether absentee ballots will be handled as first class mail or bulk mail.

Under the direction of the postmaster general, 671 pieces of mail processing equipment were removed from postal facilities across the nation. This includes the removal of a quarter of the mail sorters – five out of 20 – from Buffalo and nearly a quarter of the sorters – four out of 17 – from the Rochester facility. Higgins witnessed one of the deactivated sorters, which remains on the floor but is getting dismantled and pieced out to provide added bins to the existing mail sorting machines.

USPS performance documents show a significant drop in efficiency and delayed mail since DeJoy was sworn in on June 15 and implemented changes.

In August, Higgins joined Western New York postal workers and residents outside the William Street mail processing facility in Buffalo to express opposition to these recent changes.

Higgins voted twice to provide the USPS with the $25 billion in COVID-19 emergency relief they requested: first in the Heroes Act approved by the House in May and again in the Delivering for America Act approved by the House in August. The Delivering for America Act also requires election mail to be processed as first class mail. The Senate has yet to act on either of these bills.

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