‘Like Armageddon’: Rotting Food, Dead Animals At Postal Facilities Amid Cutbacks
U.S. Postal Service workers are reporting rotting food, dead animals, and chaos in general amid cutbacks implemented by President Trump’s new Postmaster General, according to The Los Angeles Times.
- “Six weeks ago, U.S. Postal Service workers in the high desert town of Tehachapi, Calif., began to notice crates of mail sitting in the post office in the early morning that should have been shipped out for delivery the night before,” The Times reported.
- And in Santa Clarita in July, “workers discovered that their automated sorting machines had been disabled and padlocked.”
- At a massive mail-sorting facility in South Los Angeles, The Times wrote, “workers fell so far behind processing packages that by early August, gnats and rodents were swarming around containers of rotted fruit and meat, and baby chicks were dead inside their boxes.”
- These conditions come in the wake of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s recently imposed cutbacks in staffing and equipment.
- Following outcry over disruptions caused by his policy changes and concerns over their likely effect on the election, DeJoy said he would pause implementation until after November.
- However, The Times reported that “postal workers say significant damage has already been done, including the removal of mail-sorting machines, which may not be replaced.”
- The newspaper also noted that although “the long-term effect of the cuts on U.S. mail service is unclear, the evidence of serious disruptions appears to be mounting, according to postal employees interviewed by The Times as well as customers, lawmakers and union leaders.”
- At a large facility in Los Angeles that serves 92 L.A.-area post offices, the cutbacks have caused utter chaos, according to USPS employees.
Before the recent cuts, workers at the facility were working six days per week, and were still struggling to keep up with the volume of packages driven by an influx of online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, said mail handler Aukushan Scantlebury, 47.
When DeJoy restricted overtime two months ago, Scantlebury and other workers saw their schedules cut back to five days per week. Within days, he said, the facility was in chaos.
Packages piled up, blocking the aisles and the heavy sorting machinery. Boxes of steaks, fruit and other perishables rotted. Rats dashed across the floor. At one point, Scantlebury said, the “whole building was filled with gnats.”
- Sumi Ali, co-owner of the Yes Plz coffee subscription company, told The Times of his July 25 visit to the facility: “It was like Armageddon. It was a total maze. You could not walk through the facility without having to move things out of your way. I don’t know how they got forklifts through there. There were only inches of space between containers.”
- Omar Gonzalez, the Western regional coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union, expects the situation to worsen once DeJoy’s plan is put back into motion.
- He told The Times: “A lot of the machinery has already been gutted. Some of it has been dismantled and relocated or trashed. Although we welcome the news of the suspension of these changes, it’s just that — a suspension. The attacks and undermining of our operations will resume, maybe at the worst possible time, in December, our peak season.”