As Sorting Machines Sit In Pieces, DeJoy Reportedly Has No Plans To Restore Them
Reports have emerged of dismantled mail sorting machines sitting around at U.S. Postal Service facilities in Oregon and Michigan, but Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reportedly has no intention of replacing them or putting them back together.
- ABC News reported Wednesday that it had obtained photos showing “mail sorting machines -- critical pieces of equipment used to speed up the mail delivery process -- sitting in parts in a postal facility in Portland, Ore.”
- The sorting “machines are wrapped in yellow caution tape after having recently been decommissioned and broken down into parts within the last month,” the news outlet reported.
- Photos of the dismantled machinery were provided to ABC news by a postal employee “who requested anonymity because they are not permitted to take photos inside the facility.”
- When asked about the machines, Ernie Swanson, a spokesperson in the Oregon office of the USPS, said "Mail processing equipment is replaced as it becomes out-of-date. It is replaced by state-of-the-art new machines."
- Asked if the machines had been replaced with newer models, Swanson did not respond, according to the report, and instead “replied with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's statement Tuesday in which he announced he would be ‘suspending’ until after the presidential election the contentious cuts he implemented at the postal service, which saw overtime slashed and equipment taken out of service-- a major reversal in the face of public outcry.”
- Ronald Stroman, the former Deputy Postmaster General until June, said that DeJoy’s statement raised more questions than it answered, saying on Tuesday:
"[The statement] goes on to say that mail processing equipment will remain as it is, will remain where they are. ... Well, if you've already dismantled some of that equipment or removed it, the fact that it's remaining as it is doesn't mean that you're going to reassemble that equipment, or return it to the extent that it's been removed.”
- “At least six sorting machines at the Portland facility alone have already been taken offline in the past month, according to Joe Cogan, the head of Portland's postal union. Their fate remains unclear,” ABC News reported.
Sorting machines have been removed in cities across the country in recent weeks, according to local reports in Michigan, Oklahoma, and Kansas, among others. Similar issues were raised when images emerged showing the removal of some blue mail collection boxes across the country.
In Michigan, local news reporter Heather Walker shared a video to Twitter on Wednesday that appeared to show mail sorting machines dismantled in the parking lot of a USPS facility in Grand Rapids.
- Walker described the scene as a “graveyard of mail sorting pieces.”
- “They’re just large pieces of machinery that have been yanked out,” Walker reported. “You can see some of the cords are just — they were just cut.”
- Walker continued: “In addition to that, there is also a dumpster right there, and according to an employee that works across the way, they tell me that that dumpster has been filled three times since last week with parts and pieces of what we’re being told are the mail sorting machines.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Wednesday that DeJoy “told her he has no intention of restoring removed blue mailboxes or sorting equipment and no plans for employee overtime,” The Associated Press reported.
Pelosi said she told DeJoy that his pause in operations was “wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked.”
“Widespread mail disruptions have stunned Americans and led to warnings that Trump is trying to undermine the Postal Service as he rails against mail-in ballots just as millions of people are trying vote absentee to avoid polling places during the COVID-19 crisis,” the AP reported.