Local USPS union group reports equipment cutbacks at Green Bay facility

The loss of three sorting machines translates into delays in mail delivery.
Local USPS union group reports equipment cutbacks at Green Bay facility
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 5:12 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - More people staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic means more mail and more packages for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

“Please don’t take out your anger on the workers or the mailman or mailwoman,” said Kelly Heaney, a postal worker of more than 20 years and president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Northeastern Wisconsin Area chapter. “We’re trying to do the best we can to get the mail out as quickly as possible.”

Delays come as more than 17,000 postal workers across the country have been quarantined because of COVID-19. Nearly 70 of those essential workers have died because of the virus.

On top of the lost manpower comes a cut in equipment at processing centers nationwide, including Green Bay. This comes as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reduces services in an effort to make the USPS more profitable.

“Currently, we have two delivery processing machines that sort letters out of commission right now. They plan on removing them for good,” said Heaney. “They have not told us where they are taking them.”

Heaney tells Action 2 News another flat sorting machine has also been removed. “Right now, the government is the most trusted government, and our cuts in service will handcuff the workers and management at USPS to deliver their product on time.”

Despite losing those machines, the amount of mail coming through the Green Bay facility has not changed.

“We have about 10 machines that do about half a million pieces a day up to 1.8 million depending on volume,” said Heaney.

With the reduced equipment also comes a push to reduce the amount of overtime for postal workers.

“They’ve already decided to say mail carriers need to leave earlier,” said Heaney. “If mail is left behind, mail is left behind.”

“I’ve got grandparents who get medications through the mail, equipment for my folks and my grandparents,” said Terry Lee of Green Bay. “My brother used to, you know, he voted overseas as a military voter, so I understand the importance of overseas military voters being able to cast their ballots through the mail.”

Lee helped organize ‘Save the Post Office - Green Bay’ which is part of a growing national effort calling on lawmakers to take action in protecting the public service. There is a rally scheduled for Friday, August 21 in support of postal workers starting at 4 p.m. outside of the post office in downtown Green Bay (118 N. Monroe Avenue). Lee emphasizes that safety at the outdoor event is the priority with social distancing planned.

Action 2 News reached out to a USPS spokesperson for comment but did not receive a reply.

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