CHICAGO (CBS) — The U. S. Postmaster General defended his agency’s ability to handle an expected flood of mail-in ballots this November.
Louis DeJoy testified before Senate lawmakers during a virtual hearing. DeJoy’s two months on the job have been marred by controversy, after he implemented, then suspended changes. Those changes included the removal of blue mailboxes and a reduction in mail sorting machines.
Democrats have accused the Trump administration of using the postal service to sabotage the upcoming election. DeJoy’s testimony isn’t sitting well with Chicago postal workers. CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has more from Kenwood.
Some postal workers said they see the ins and outs of the delivery system and the inefficiencies they said were caused by cost cutting measures put in place by the U.S. Postmaster General.
June Harris has worked for USPS for 36 years. But you’ve never seen her delivering letters to your doorstep.
“We’re taking the mail, transporting from machines to the vans, to the trailers, so it can get out for delivery,” Harris said.
This week the CBS 2 Investigators confirmed the removal of at least two dozen high-volume mail sorting machines in the area. Harris has seen the impact firsthand. She added there have been changes to transportation schedules.
“Some of my dock workers are telling me they have a small window to get mail on the trucks,” Harris said.
Have to let trucks going out that are 80% empty.
“To me, that’s a waste,” Harris said.
She said she feels defensive when her friends and neighbors complain about recent mail delays.
“I understand their frustration, but we’re frustrated too,” Harris said.
Frustrations shared by workers and labor organizations who rallied outside the Hyde Park post office on 46th and Cottage Grove.
On Friday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor and close ally of President Trump, said Postal Service “fully capable” of delivering election mail on time.
But some of his testimony struck the wrong chord.
“DeJoy said that replacing the machines was not necessary,” said Susan Hurley of Chicago Jobs With Justice.
DeJoy also did not plan to replace blue collection boxes that have gone missing as well.
“Since my arrival, we removed 700 collection boxes, of which I had no idea that that was a process,” he said.
While the employees said they appreciate a halt to any further changes until after the election, they’re nervous about November.
DeJoy said they are doubling down on election mail efforts. He said he’s voted by mail for years and said the American public should be able to vote by mail too.