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USPS Cutbacks Hit New Mexico, Congressional And Union Leaders Push Back

Nash Jones
U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland speaks out against USPS cutbacks in front of the Main Office post office in Albuquerque on Aug. 18, 2020

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has made some cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service since being appointed in June, delaying mail deliveries around the country. Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation and union leaders gathered in front of the main post office in Albuquerque Tuesday, Aug. 18, to decry the changes made ahead of the election and explain what they mean for people in New Mexico.

Albuquerque Postal Workers Union President Ken Fajardo confirmed Tuesday morning that changes to USPS operations, which he called “senseless and degrading,” are being felt locally. He said the policies are removing sorting machines in Albuquerque. “These are machines that process millions of pieces of mail every day.”

Fajardo said one machine is gone, and three more are scheduled to be removed, and that can mean a 3- to 4-day mail delay. Since the majority of the state’s mail is sorted in Albuquerque, he said, the impacts are far-reaching. 

In the Coronado post office in Santa Fe,  policy changes mean delivery drivers are required to head out at a specific time regardless of whether all of the mail has been sorted, said Fajardo. That can mean some mail gets left behind.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland also spoke in front of the post office Tuesday, expressing her concerns before returning to Washington D.C. to vote on a bill that would reverse this year’s cutbacks - including eliminating overtime - before an election that will likely depend heavily on the mail. “The President, enabled by his top mega-donor Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, is waging a campaign to sabotage the postal service,” Haaland said. NPR reports DeJoy has donated over $1.2 million to President Trump’s campaign.

The Postmaster General also announced Tuesday that he’s suspending the controversial changes until after the election, “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.” It’s unclear if DeJoy’s announcement means the mail-sorting machine that’s been taken from the Albuquerque post office will be returned. 

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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