ALBANY, N.Y. -- More changes went into effect this month at the U.S. Postal Service, and some New York postal workers worry about how the policies will impact the avalanche of mail this holiday season.
The Postal Service's new service standards, which went into effect on Oct. 1, include moving away from air mail delivery for first-class mail.
It is expected mail traveling less than 1,000 miles will reach its destination in three days, and mail traveling more than 1,900 miles will take about five days. The Postal Service said these efforts are meant to cut costs.
John Tabak, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 390 in Albany, said the changes are regrettable.
"Standards for the Post Office should not be slowed," Tabak argued. "The future of the Post Office isn't more automation. It's not in going back to trucks. It's not in going back to sorting mail by hand. It's in innovation, and there is a possibility here to innovate its way out, but it takes some money, and right now the Post Office doesn't have it."
These latest changes are part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's 10-year plan for the service, called "Delivering for America," which aims to avoid $160 billion in losses by 2030 and includes modernizing the vehicle fleet, as well as investments in processing facilities.
Other new changes to the Postal Service include cuts to office hours.
Chuck Zlatkin, legislative and political director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union, said it remains to be seen what impact the changes will have on the busy holiday months ahead. He is concerned the changes will privatize the Postal Service.
"People should understand that postal workers are fully aware of the job that they do, the importance of it to the public, and that they feel terrible about these delays in service," Zlatkin observed. "It's not the postal workers' fault. They're on your side."
DeJoy said last month the Postal Service is hiring 40,000 seasonal workers.
Zlatkin contended it is critical for Congress to pass the Postal Service Reform Act, which would eliminate the pre-funding of future retiree health benefits and add new measures to better hold Postal Service leadership accountable.
SOURCE: New York News Connection