10 Steps You Can Take to Save the U.S. Postal Service

Welcome! This blog is inspired by a year I spent writing letters to “change the world.” Normally, I’ll share letters and strategies for bringing about change through letter writing. But because there is a postal emergency going on, this inaugural post will focus on steps you can take to save the U.S. Postal Service instead.

Background: In mid-June, Louis DeJoy became the new postmaster general for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). DeJoy, a former Republican fundraiser, has several problematic (and potentially illegal) investments in companies that contract or compete with the Postal Service. He took over at a time when USPS was struggling financially, largely due to decreased mail volume exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and a 2006 law that requires the postal service to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees on a 50-year schedule. This law has effectively bankrupted the Postal Service.

Since DeJoy took office, he’s implemented numerous policies that will likely result in mail delivery delays, just in time for an election where at least 50% of voters are expected to vote by mail or early. He cut overtime, displaced or reassigned 23 postal executives (including two who oversaw day-to-day operations) and abruptly removed mail sorting machines across the country. Meanwhile, President Trump is blocking emergency funding for the Postal Service. According to an opinion columnist for The Washington Post, Trump’s attack on the Postal Service is now a national emergency.”

What you can do: Here are some things you can do to stop this “national emergency”:

  1. Contact your Congressional representatives to let them know you are concerned about DeJoy’s actions and that you support the Delivering for America Act, which would prohibit the USPS from changing its operations during the Covid-19 pandemic and would temporarily reverse the changes made by DeJoy. There is a sample letter you can use at the end of this post. You can also sign this petition, but a letter or email is more effective.
  2. Complete this form to share any stories about delays or problems you’ve had with mail deliveries. The form was created by Michigan Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), who is conducting an investigation into recent changes at the USPS for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
  3. Sign this petition and/or send a letter to Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI.), chair of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, asking him to investigate DeJoy’s actions and conflicts.
  4. Sign this petition and/or send a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking him to immediately reverse the changes. You can use the petition as a model or this letter from Senate Democrats.
  5. Sign this petition asking the USPS Board of Governors to remove DeJoy. 
  6. Write to the USPS Inspector General to tell her that you support the August 7 letter from Senate Democrats requesting an audit of the actions taken by DeJoy. (See sample letter below).
  7. Buy stamps and merchandise from the Postal Service.
  8. Send a letter to the White House voicing your concerns about DeJoy and the recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service. (See sample letter below).
  9. Consider not sending mail in October and the beginning of November, to decrease the likelihood of ballot delivery delays. During this time, you can support USPS by purchasing stamps. Also, consider early in-person voting or dropping off your ballot at a drop box instead of mailing it. If you do decide to mail it, please return it the day you receive it to maximize the chances of your vote being counted.
  10. Donate to organizations working on this issue, such as Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Greenpeace and MomsRising.

Have additional recommendations for action steps? If so, please share them in the comments below. Thanks!

Sample letter to Senators and Representatives (you can find your representatives here)

Dear [Senator x]:

            I’m writing to express my concerns about recent actions taken by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. As your constituent, I’m concerned about the impact his actions – including decisions to cut overtime, displace or reassign postal executives and remove mail-sorting machines – could have on the timely delivery of mail in our state, including ballots for the upcoming election. I am therefore requesting that you take the following actions to protect the integrity of our mail delivery system and democracy:

  1. Support the Delivering for America Act introduced by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY).
  2. Call for an investigation into DeJoy’s actions and potential conflicts of interest.
  3. Commit to providing emergency funding to the Postal Service through the next stimulus package.
  4. Introduce and/or support legislation that reverses the pre-funded health benefits schedule in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. This law has effectively bankrupted the USPS as it places a $6.6 billion burden on the Postal Service that is unique to this agency.

            The Postal Service is America’s most popular government agency and approximately 91 percent of Americans have a favorable view of it. I hope that you will take these steps to protect this crucial American institution.

            Thank you for your attention to this issue.

            Sincerely,

Sample letter to The Inspector General

Tammy L. Whitcomb

Inspector General

United States Postal Service

1735 N. Lynn St.

Arlington, VA 22209-2020

Dear Inspector General Whitcomb:

I am writing to express my concerns regarding Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the policies he has implemented at the United States Postal Service, as well as his apparent conflicts of interest. I fully support the letter written to you by Senate Democrats on August 7, 2020, and hope that you will immediately launch both an audit of all operational changes put in place by Mr. DeJoy (and other Trump Administration officials) and an investigation into Mr. DeJoy’s potential conflicts of interest.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,

Sample letter to The White House

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Concerns about Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and request that you remove him immediately and stop opposing emergency funding for the Postal Service

Dear President Trump:

I’m a voter who is writing to express my concerns about recent actions taken by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, as well as his apparent conflicts of interest. Since DeJoy took office, he’s implemented numerous policies that will likely result in mail delivery delays, just in time for an election where at least 50% of voters are expected to vote by mail or early. He cut overtime, displaced or reassigned 23 postal executives and abruptly removed mail sorting machines across the country. I’m also concerned about DeJoy’s apparent conflicts of interest, including his multimillion-dollar stake in his former company, which is a U.S. Postal Service contractor, as well as his purchase of Amazon stock options.

This is not “draining the swamp;” it’s filling it up with muckier water. I therefore request that you terminate DeJoy’s employment immediately.

I am also requesting that you commit to providing the emergency funding for the Postal Service that is being requested by Congressional Democrats. The Postal Service is America’s most popular government agency and approximately 91 percent of Americans have a favorable view of it. We need to support this American institution, not undermine it.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,

Published by Letters To Change the World

I recently spent a year writing 180 letters to “change the world.” In this blog, I share letters and strategies for bringing about change. My hope is that I will inspire others to take action to improve our world.

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