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Postmaster General "suspending" cost-cutting directives until after election

WNY unions "happy to hear the news"
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Posted at 1:22 AM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 01:26:34-04

(WKBW) — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced Tuesday he is “suspending” recently introduce cost-cutting directives. The move comes after weeks of intense scrutiny from the public and lawmakers.

“I’m very happy to hear the news…I think it’s a wonderful step in the right direction,” said Lori Cash. She serves as President of the American Postal Workers Union Western New York Local 183.

Local union president David Grosskopf, Jr. said Tuesday was a good day for the United States Postal Service. Fellow postal workers union president Cash agreed.

“A lot of smiles. A lot of good jobs,” said Grosskopf, Jr. He is the President of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch Three Buffalo and Western New York.

For now, DeJoy said equipment and collection boxes will remain put, overtime will be approved as needed, retail hours will not change and mail processing facilities will not close.

“We were dismantling the network. We’ve now stopped dismantling it. Now we want that system put back in place,” said Grosskopf, Jr.

Part of that system includes mail sorting machines and any collection boxes taken out or locked. Grosskopf, Jr. said Buffalo has seen five sorting machines taken away, which he said means hundreds of thousands of letters are in limbo every single day.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Nikki DeMentri asked: “I did want to read you one part of Postmaster DeJoy’s statement here: 'To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.' What do you make of that statement?” Grosskopf, Jr. replied: “Well on the surface that sounds good to me. But when I scratch the surface a little deeper with that if you didn’t want to give the appearance, again that there was any type of manipulation from the USPS in this run up to the election, one would think he would never issued some of the directives that he issued.”

Both believe Tuesday’s reversal was a direct result of the American public. It is the support and pressure that both agree needs to continue since these changes are only postponed until after the November election.

“To know the public is behind you. It’s incredible. It’s like the 12th man of the Buffalo Bills,” said Grosskopf, Jr.

Cash added: “We need to keep forward with our fight and with our drive to save our public postal service.”

DeMentri also asked Cash: “At this point in time, is the USPS, in your view, ready for the upcoming election?” Cash said: "I think if we can work with the communities and be able to be flexible to make sure everything is handled properly and handled First Priority, we will have no problem moving those ballots.”

A big part of the future of the USPS is funding. Both union leaders said they are anxious for an upcoming House vote on Saturday which includes $25 billion in funding. DeJoy is set to testify Friday at a Senate hearing and Monday at a House hearing.