WNY postal workers decry attempts to slow the mail

Aug 26, 2020

The fight over the U.S. Postal Service, its finances and slowing delivery moved to the center of Niagara Falls Tuesday. Workers, Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) and Falls Mayor Robert Restaino protested Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's changes in operations.

DeJoy, a major campaign contributor and associate of President Trump, has said Robert Restainothe changes won't slow the mail and will save money for taxpayers. Both are denied by workers and their unions.

"We have somebody come in and tell us, all of a sudden, you're not going to do your job the way we taught you to do it. You're going to do it completely differently," said Western New York union branch President Lori Cash. "You're going to follow this set of rules that's going to cause turmoil to your customers. It is going to cause their prescriptions to be late. It is going to cause your checks to be late. It is going to cause gifts to be late and cards to be late, in the middle of a pandemic."

Cash led chants of "Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho. DeJoy's delays have got to go."

Doug Fordyce is legislator and political chairman for Letter Carriers Local 3. Fordyce said the slowing mail delivery was a deliberate decision by the Trump Administration.

"They knew when they made those decisions, in those instructions, they were delaying that mail. Now this happens, day after day after day," Fordyce said. "So the public's mail has been backed up for six weeks now. This is going back to mid-July."

Restaino backed postal workers.

"This is really a fight for an institution that is as important to our country as any," he said.

Higgins was also there to back the workers. He has been a vocal critic of the Postal Service cuts, including five of the 20 sorting machines at the main post office on William Street in Buffalo, which mean fewer pieces of mail can be sorted for delivery on time every day. He said the slowing mail has delayed everything from baby chicks to farmers to drug prescriptions to veterans.

President Trump has attacked mail voting and Democrats. DeJoy now says he will stop some of his changes until after the election. The House of Representatives has passed the Delivery for America Act to end the slowdown and provide $25 million to keep the fiscally-strapped Postal Service in full operation.