Postal worker shortages have ravaged mail delivery in the Bronx, delaying essential letters and packages and leaving Bronxites in the dark about when they can expect to receive them.
BRONX, NY – Nearly twenty elected officials representing the Bronx sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and United States Postmaster General Megan Brennan to highlight serious concerns about inconsistent and unreliable mail service throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The letter represents an escalation from previous efforts to call attention to delivery problems that were first noticed in the 10463 zip code but are now present in many neighborhoods all over the borough.
The letter calls attention to “great concern regarding the health and safety of postal workers and the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on mail delivery in New York City.” The Bronx officials highlight specifically that their constituents have not been receiving updated and transparent information on postal procedures, causing severe distress as crucial letters, bills, checks, medications, and packages are delayed for days or weeks with minimal information from USPS.
Additionally, the Bronx officials highlight health risks posed to postal service employees as a result of nationwide shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). Postal workers have been calling out sick in significantly greater numbers than usual, sometimes reducing workforces to less than one-quarter of what is needed to deliver one day’s mail.
The letter includes three specific questions for Vice President Pence and Postmaster General Brennan to answer. First, the Bronx officials ask about how USPS is handling worker shortages to ensure that mail is delivered in a timely manner. Second, they ask about guidelines provided to post offices for ensuring that postal customers throughout the USPS system are kept informed about operations and delays in services. Third, the letter requests a current status of PPE supplies that are available to fulfill USPS’s guarantee that masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer are available to employees upon request.
The letter is available here and was signed by:
- Congressmembers Adriano Espaillat, Eliot Engel, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Assemblymembers Jeffrey Dinowitz, Michael Benedetto, Michael Blake, Marcos Crespo, Nathalia Fernandez, Latoya Joyner, Victor Pichardo, Karines Reyes, and Jose Rivera
- State Senators Jamaal T. Bailey, Alessandra Biaggi, Gustavo Rivera, and Jose M. Serrano
- Council Members Andrew Cohen and Mark Gjonaj
- Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the Assembly Bronx Delegation, said: “There is power in numbers, and right now what the Bronx needs is the power to get a response from the United States Postal Service and the White House Administration. I am sick and tired of these serious problems going unaddressed at a systemwide level. We cannot operate a nationwide postal system by waiting for employees to get sick before making a plan. USPS needs to step up and be leaders here by making sure their workers have readily available PPE so that people can get their mail. Our borough is the canary in the coal mine for USPS, and what we are experiencing with COVID-19 now is what should be expected across the nation over the next several months. Thank you to all of my fellow Bronx advocates for joining me on this letter, and I am hopeful that our constituents will soon have some desperately needed answers about their mail service.”
“The health and safety of postal workers and the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on USPS services and mail delivery is having a tremendous impact on residents throughout New York City,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Many residents rely on these services to receive critical supplies and other packages that they would otherwise get physically. However, due to the pandemic and lockdown, postal delivery is the only method available to them. As our community continues to address the ongoing needs that individuals and families face, we must ensure postal services continue as regularly as possible. Additionally, we must ensure the safety and well-being of postal workers and provide the necessary equipment that allows them to continue their jobs amid this ongoing pandemic. These are unprecedented times for our communities and it will take each of working together to provide services that keep our communities functioning as we continue to respond to the daily challenges brought about due to this pandemic.”
Said Congressman Eliot Engel: “The US Postal Service is facing a real crisis. A global pandemic is putting mail carriers and postal employees in danger every day. USPS finances are in dire straits. Mail delivery has become erratic or non-existent in our borough, and the President seems content to let the entire operation wither and die on the vine. We simply can’t let that happen. Medications, pay checks, absentee ballots—the post office delivers all of these items, which are more essential today than ever before. How USPS plans to continue delivery, while keeping their workers safe with PPE and other necessary protocols, must be addressed by the highest members of the Trump Administration. I will continue the fight in Washington to stop Trump from destroying the USPS, but we need a real, tangible plan to keep the mail coming at least several times a week during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“In order to continue quality postal service for our Bronx residents, we must ensure the safety of those delivering the mail, as essential workers,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “As we all do our part and stay home to flatten the curve, we have become more dependent on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver essential mail and packages. Bronx residents have reached out to our office about the lag time in delivery, which is why we must do all that we can to keep postal workers safe. In light of Governor Cuomo’s recent executive order to make sure postal workers have the proper personal protective equipment, we fully support any safety measures that will aid the indispensable men and women of the U.S. Postal Service.”
State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said: “Our postal workers go out everyday risking themselves in order to ensure that residents receive their mail. The Bronx has recently seen shortages in customer service and transparency in the postal system. Residents rely heavily on the postal system to receive benefits, crucial information, and bills they need to pay by a certain date. Additionally, we’ve seen our postal workers lack proper PPE, and believe that all workers should have access adequate PPE when delivering mail. I urge Vice President Mike Pence and United State Postmaster General Megan Brennan to increase transparency, and efficiency in our postal system, and ensure that our postal workers have access to adequate PPE.”
Council Member Andrew Cohen said: “The U.S. Postal Service provides a lifeline for millions of people depending on essential mail service for everything from medication to delivery of protective equipment and mail-in ballots, no matter where they live. At a time when we need the Postal Service to be strong, this pandemic has laid bare glaring weaknesses and urgent need for Postal reform to ensure future viability and safeguard the agency for the sake of millions of Americans and more than 600,000 dedicated Postal Service employees. The current situation is untenable – hard-working postal employees are falling sick and serious delays in critical mail service and lack of communication compounds the anxiety already felt by many in this moment of crisis. New York City and communities in the Bronx are bearing the brunt of the crisis but these challenges are widespread and everyday Americans will suffer in the absence of a system-wide plan.”
Dinowitz Contact: Frederic Klein // firstname.lastname@example.org // 703-967-3446 (cell)
Espaillat Contact: Candace Person // Candace.Person@mail.house.gov
Engel Contact: Bryant Daniels // Bryant.Daniels@mail.house.gov
Diaz Contact: Edwin Molina // Emolina@bronxbp.nyc.gov // 917-891-0049 (cell)
Bailey Contact: Ashley Meza // email@example.com // 718-547-8854
Cohen Contact: Harmony Guo // HGuo@council.nyc.gov