Casten Joins Durbin In Urging Postmaster General To Address Delays In Letter & Parcel Delivery In Illinois

August 7, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in leading fourteen Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional delegation in urging Postmaster General DeJoy to take corrective action against the recent operational changes, including the elimination of overtime and a reduction in mail sorting and processing hours, which have led to significant delays in the delivery of letters and packages to Illinoisans. In their letter, the lawmakers emphasized the damaging effects the delayed packages are causing, such as preventing Illinoisans from receiving lifesaving medications in a timely manner.

“As stay at home orders and social distancing have been implemented in Illinois and across the country to control the spread of COVID-19, the prompt delivery of vital medications, home health equipment, and goods has become increasingly important.  In recent months, USPS has seen an increase in parcel volume anywhere from 20 percent to over 80 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.  Limiting processing hours and overtime when the timely home delivery of medication, medical equipment, and other goods is more important than ever to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus is simply irresponsible,” wrote the lawmakers.

In their letter, the lawmakers also expressed their concerns that the recent changes will impact the delivery of mail-in ballots as the 2020 general election is in less than 100 days.

“It is also concerning that we are seeing significant delays in the delivery of mail when we are less than 100 days from a national election where mail-in ballots delivered by USPS will be vital to ensuring people, of all political persuasions, can safely exercise their right to vote while following public health experts’ recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” they wrote.

Along with Durbin, the letter was also signed by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representatives Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-3), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8), Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL-4), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Danny Davis (D-IL-7), Bobby Rush (D-IL-1), Mike Quigley (D-IL-5), Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), and Sean Casten (D-IL-6).

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

 

August 6, 2020

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy:

We write today about our concerns about delays in letter and parcel deliveries in Illinois and across the country during the COVID-19 public health crisis.  The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plays a vital role in our fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.  Recent operational changes, made at your direction, have undermined the ability of USPS to carry out its mission during this critical time.  We urge you to immediately take corrective action to ensure the timely delivery of letters and parcels in Illinois and across the country during this critical time.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has upended daily life across the country, millions of Americans with underlying health conditions, including cancer, heart conditions, and other illnesses, have remained at home to avoid possible infection.  The delivery of medications, home health equipment, nonperishable goods, and other vital mail is critical to the well-being of millions of Americans.  As a result, delays in USPS delivery can have life-threating implications. 

Nationwide, there have been reports of critical mail being delivered days behind schedule.  In Illinois, we are receiving thousands of reports of mail delay across the state, from Chicago to Cairo.  For example, there have been reports of individuals going up to two weeks without mail delivery in some Chicago neighborhoods.

Reports indicate that the recent operational changes made at USPS are directly contributing to these delays.  Two recent memos, sent to Postal Service employees in July, acknowledges that employees “may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks, which is not typical” and an announcement prohibiting the use of overtime to complete delivery rounds.  These policy changes, in addition to a reduction in mail sorting and processing hours, are contributing to an unacceptable delay in mail delivery during a historic public health crisis.

As stay at home orders and social distancing have been implemented in Illinois and across the country to control the spread of COVID-19, the prompt delivery of vital medications, home health equipment, and goods has become increasingly important.  In recent months, USPS has seen an increase in parcel volume anywhere from 20 percent to over 80 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.  Limiting processing hours and overtime when the timely home delivery of medication, medical equipment, and other goods is more important than ever to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus is simply irresponsible.

It is also concerning that we are seeing significant delays in the delivery of mail when we are less than 100 days from a national election where mail-in ballots delivered by USPS will be vital to ensuring people, of all political persuasions, can safely exercise their right to vote while following public health experts’ recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Millions of Americans rely on, now more than ever, the hard work of the USPS for the delivery of their medications, home health equipment, nonperishable food, ballots, and other vital pieces of mail.  As the head of the U.S. Postal Service, we expect you to take immediate corrective action to reduce delays and ensure families receive their mail in a timely manner. 

We look forward to your response on how your office will work to eliminate these delays as quickly as possible.  

Sincerely,

-30-