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Tune into WAER this election season for comprehensive coverage of local and statewide races. It's the information you'll need to make educated decisions on the races that could have an impact on your life.

Syracuse Post Office Feeling Effects Of Federal Cuts And Changes

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Scott Willis
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WAER News

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s decision to halt sweeping changes to the US postal service probably comes as little comfort to postal workers who’ve already felt the impact.  DeJoy wants to cut employee hours and remove mail sorting machinery, but yesterday afternoon said he’d postpone these changes until after the election. 

President of American Postal Workers Union Local 257, Nicole Burnet, says the Taft Road facility has already been impacted.

They have removed numerous pieces of mail processing equipment from this facility,” said Burnet. “Equipment that we use to process and sort for delivery of mail going to our communities. They just notified me late last week that they intend on removing even more of this mail processing equipment.”

President of the National Association for Letter Carriers, Tom Dlugolenski said that he and other mail carriers have been trying to do their jobs, including handling ballots, despite uncertainty surrounding the postal service.

“As a 27-year employee, I intend to make that happen. Make sure that ballot gets delivered,” said Dlugolenski. “There are initiatives coming from headquarters that are telling us to leave mail behind. I don’t know what’s being left behind at the plant. I don’t know what machinery is being taken out. But I know that as a letter carrier, when I get to the station, the mail that’s there for me to take out, I need to take out.”

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Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
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WAER News
State Senator Rachel May called for secure drop boxes and tracking abilities to ensure secure ballots.

Central New York’s delegation of state lawmakers including Senator Rachel May, as well as assembly members Bill Magnarelli, Pam Hunter, and Al Stirpe all called on the Trump administration to stop playing political games with the postal service, and for Congress to provide adequate funding to handle all mail and parcels, including medicines and absentee ballots. 

May says it should be as easy as possible to vote, and they’re working on other solutions in case the postal service compromised.

More time to receive and return absentee ballots,” said May. “Secure drop boxes, and the ability to track absentee ballots and fix mistakes if you forgot to sign the envelope or didn’t seal it properly.”

Postal Service workers aren’t the only ones being affected by the restructuring. Assemblyman Al Stirpe said a large portion of local businesses rely on the postal service for shipments, and those businesses could also be hurt.

“[They] may depend on the Post Office for their supply chain. All the materials that come into them and the distribution, all the products they ship out. It’s far more affordable than private companies,” said Stirpe.

Stirpe says a 2019 study found 70% of small businesses used the postal service within 6 months. 

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.