Press Releases

Delaware & Pennsylvania Congressional members ask for responses from USPS by next week 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) were joined by Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), Daniel Meuser (R-Pa.), and Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) in sending a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) Delaware and Pennsylvania District Manager Gary Vaccarella asking for an action plan on how they intend to implement solutions to ongoing postal service delays and disruptions. After continued delays for the past year and previous attempts to ask USPS how they plan to address these issues, the Congressional members are now seeking responses to their questions no later than August 16, 2022.

“Last year, the USPS provided a briefing to staff outlining its plans to address staffing shortages to alleviate broader disruptions in service in the Delaware/Pennsylvania 2 Postal District. A year later, the USPS still faces critical workforce shortages, which continue to affect mail delivery service for households in Delaware and Pennsylvania,” the members wrote.

They continued: “In recent months, our offices have received a sharp increase in constituent calls regarding disruptions to regular mail delivery, in some cases from households who have not received mail service for multiple days or even weeks at a time. Our staffs continue to engage the district management leadership about these growing complaints and continued delays but have yet to receive a proactive plan to address these deficiencies in the near-term.”

The full text of the letter can be found below, or by clicking HERE.

Dear Mr. Vaccarella:

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed immense pressure on many industries and government services, including the United States Postal Service (USPS). Timely mail delivery service has suffered at a time when Americans are relying on the USPS more than ever. As you know, earlier this year, Congress passed the historic Postal Service Reform Act, which will help put the USPS on a sustainable financial foundation moving forward. That said, there remains much work to be done to ensure that the USPS can continue efficiently serving the American people, and we remain committed to working with our colleagues in Washington to look for additional avenues to assist the USPS in accomplishing its mission.

Last year, the USPS provided a briefing to staff outlining its plans to address staffing shortages to alleviate broader disruptions in service in the Delaware/Pennsylvania 2 Postal District. A year later, the USPS still faces critical workforce shortages, which continue to affect mail delivery service for households in Delaware and Pennsylvania. In recent months, our offices have received a sharp increase in constituent calls regarding disruptions to regular mail delivery, in some cases from households who have not received mail service for multiple days or even weeks at a time. Our staffs continue to engage the district management leadership about these growing complaints and continued delays but have yet to receive a proactive plan to address these deficiencies in the near-term.

The response from the USPS district leadership has largely been an acknowledgement of a depleted workforce. The regional leadership team presented the USPS’s plan to recruit and hire additional mail carriers to resolve the shortage of workers, while acknowledging that there is a very high rate of rejection for new applicants. This delay in onboarding new staff, coupled with unanticipated call-outs for sick leave and anticipated vacation leave, has left our postal region short-staffed.

In response to concerns from households that have gone multiple days without mail delivery, the USPS regional leadership team has maintained that these households simply must not have any mail to be delivered, asserting that it is the USPS’s policy that routes that do not receive service on one day will be prioritized for service the following day. However, in separate conversations with our staffs, letter carriers have stated that it is not uncommon for mail to go undelivered for multiple days due to workforce shortages and the demanding schedules and routes that letter carriers are currently working.

We understand that addressing the workforce shortage will require a long-term plan to both recruit new employees and retain current workers. However, we continue to hear daily from Delawareans and Pennsylvanians about service delays and interruptions, and the USPS’s long-term plans to address the workforce shortage do not address the immediate concerns these constituents are raising about delayed or absent mail delivery.

We respectfully request that you respond to these questions no later than August 16, 2022:

  • Other than efforts to expand the USPS workforce, what immediate solutions has the USPS implemented or considered to address disruptions of daily mail service in the Delaware/Pennsylvania 2 Postal District? Has the USPS considered shifting resources to areas that have experienced repeated disruptions?
  • As proactive monitoring can help tackle disruptions in service before they occur or intensify, how does USPS analyze data to identify areas that are experiencing disruptions of service?

Given the complaints we receive from constituents about service disruptions, we are requesting a monthly meeting involving our staffs, the regional USPS Service District Manager, and appropriate USPS staff to review hiring and recruitment efforts, performance data, other pertinent items related to service delays, and the ways in which the USPS is working to make improvements. We look forward to working with you as we make strides to improve delivery service for Delawareans and Pennsylvanians.

Thank you for your continued leadership as we work to move the USPS forward. We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.

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