FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) –– The president of the Northwest Arkansas Area Local American Postal Worker’s Union said new “cost-cutting” efforts by new postmaster general go against the core values of the post office.
The postmaster general stated that employees will need to “adopt a different mindset” in order to for the Postal Service survives the Coronavirus pandemic.
New cost-cutting efforts include eliminating late night trips and overtime. This means packages could be left undelivered overnight and delayed.
“I don’t think any of us are happy with the changes we’re seeing coming,” Royce Mills, president of NWA Postal Worker’s Union said.
Mills said overtime is just part of the industry. “The last several years, they’ve cut staffing to the bare minimum, so overtime is just a way of life for us.”
A memo from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy states “If the plants run late, they will keep the mail for the next day.” Postal Service officials have been outspoken about the decline in mail volume since the pandemic began in March.
But Mills said this should not be a factor, “I don’t think the pandemic should change anything.” He said there are changes to be made, but this isn’t the way to do it
“We have to be more careful, we have to be protective of each other and protective of our customers, but we should provide the same service, no matter what,” Mills said.
KNWA reached out to USPS to get their input on the cutbacks and received the following statement.
The United States Postal Service is developing a business plan to ensure that we will be financially stable and able to continue to provide dependable, affordable, safe and secure delivery of mail and packages to all Americans as a vital part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The plan, which will be presented to the Board of Governors when it is finalized, will include new and creative ways to help us fulfill our mission, and will focus on the Postal Service’s strengths to maximize our prospects for long-term success.
In addition to developing a broader business plan, the Postal Service is taking immediate steps to increase operational efficiency by re-emphasizing existing plans that have been designed to provide prompt and reliable service within current service standards. By running operations on time and on schedule, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable so that we can continue to provide high-quality, reasonably-priced service to all people and businesses in the country.Kanickewa Johnson, USPS Media
Mills said there are also people’s jobs at stake, it’s not just about customer service. “We need those jobs, and so we’re gonna fight with everything we can to keep those jobs,”
Mills said without legislative help, things could get bad.
“So we’re gonna fight it with every bit of strength we have, to make sure he follows our collective bargaining agreements, and give the customers the service they deserve.” he said.