MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From Washington D.C. to Minnesota, the fight over funding for the U.S. Postal Service is not over.
Twin Cities postal workers and their supporters protested Saturday outside the USPS distribution center in Eagan. They’re calling on U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to resign.
This comes after DeJoy implemented severe cost-cutting moves, like removing hundreds of mail-sorting machines.
Members of the local postal workers union say the problem with that is no longer having backups in case a machine breaks. They also say it simply lowers the amount of mail that gets through.
Former St. Paul Postal Workers Union President Tom Edwards was at Saturday’s protest.
“These machines process between 35,000 and 40,000 pieces of mail per hour, and there is no intention by the postmaster to bring these machines back,” Edwards said.
Postmaster General DeJoy has said he wouldn’t restore mailboxes and sorting machines that have been removed. Postal Service changes have set off warning bells for some people concerned their mail-in ballots won’t be counted in November. Mail-in is expected to be a popular option because of the risks of in-person voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Do I believe that the intentions are to destroy the mail service, destroy the unions and create havoc with our backbone of our democracy, our right to vote? Yes, I really do,” Edwards said.
After a barrage of backlash, DeJoy said he would halt cost-cutting moves until after the presidential election. He’s also expressed support for mail-in voting. But President Donald Trump is a vocal critic of the option, and he now saying he will deploy law enforcement to polling places. It’s unclear if the president has the authority to do that.
Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to pump money into the post office. The House passed legislation in a rare Saturday vote that Democrats say is needed to protect the November election.
“It’s so angering for Americans across the political spectrum that President Trump and Postmaster General DeJoy openly sabotaged the Postal Service in order to prevent people from casting votes through the mail,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said.
The Democrat-sponsored bill calls for the cash-strapped Postal Service to receive an extra $25 billion in funding. House Republicans slammed the legislation, which would also reverse recent Postal Service changes.
“This bill is a sham, it is a shame,” Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Georgia) said.
The legislation is not expected to be taken up in the Republican-controlled Senate, and President Trump promises to veto the bill if it does reach his desk.
Postmaster General DeJoy is expected to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Monday.
As part of the CARES Act, $10 billion was loaned to the Postal Service in July.