A coalition of activists led by MoveOn.org have declared Saturday a “day of action” aimed at saving the U.S. Postal system, with nearly 700 rallies planned nationwide — including three in Riverside County.
The rallies are set for 11 a.m. local time outside various postal facilities.
“… we will show up at local post offices across the country for “Save the Post Office Saturday” to save the post office from (President Donald) Trump and declare that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must resign,” said a statement on the MoveOn.org website.
Riverside County rallies include:
— Riverside – Main Post Office, 4150 Chicago Ave.
— Beaumont – 950 Beaumont Avenue
— Banning – 176 N. Alessandro St.
DeJoy, who became postmaster general June 16, has been accused of tampering with the nation’s postal service by banning overtime, removing mail sorting equipment and prohibiting extra trips by postal workers to collect mail and parcels that arrive later in the day to cut costs.
The U.S. Postal Service lost $8.8 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, more than twice what it lost the previous year, and DeJoy has said the changes are necessary to save money.
Critics have said the changes have slowed mail delivery at a time when more people are relying on the service amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and to vote by mail ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
DeJoy defended his leadership during a hearing Friday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and said operational changes would be put on hold until after the election. He also vowed post offices will be able to handle mail-in ballots.
He is expected to testify Monday before the House Oversight Committee.
Trump described DeJoy last Saturday as “a very talented man” and “a brilliant business person.” He was chairman and CEO of the High Point, North Carolina-based contract logistics firm New Breed Logistics from 1983 until 2014 when it was acquired by the Connecticut-based freight transporter XPO Logistics.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing Wednesday that the Postal Service “does have sufficient funding through 2021, and they do currently have cash on hand. They’ve been given that $10 billion line of credit through the CARES Act,” referring to the federal coronavirus relief bill.
McEnany said the Trump administration is “certainly open to” increased Postal Service funding.
On Tuesday, Trump called for Amazon to pay more for shipping packages through the Postal Service.
“Amazon is paying an ancient price, and they shouldn’t be,” Trump said. “And they shouldn’t be allowed to pass it on to their customer.”
Trump also said “we shouldn’t get rid of any of our postal workers.”
Ruth Y. Goldway, a commissioner of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission from 1998-2015 and its chair from 2009-14, urged “everyone to be calm,” in an op-ed published Tuesday by The New York Times.
“Don’t fall prey to the alarmists on both sides of this debate,” wrote Goldway, a Democrat appointed to the commission by then-President Bill Clinton and reappointed in 2002 and 2008 by then-President George W. Bush. “The Postal Service is not incapacitated. It is still fully capable of delivering the mail.”
Goldway wrote that “while the agency indeed has financial problems, as a result of a huge increase in packages being sent through the system and a credit line through the CARES Act, it has access to about $25 billion in cash. Its own forecasts predict that it will have enough money to operate into 2021.”
Goldway attributed the Postal Service’s “shaky financial situation” largely to the approximately 30% drop in first-class mail, typically used for letters, from 10 years ago.
“The service’s expensive, overbuilt infrastructure can absorb the addition of more mail in 2020, including election mail that is mailed to and sent back by every voter in every state,” Goldway wrote.