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YRUMarchingTX

An Interview with William Moody, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Local Branch 181

Q: How many workers are employed by the USPS in Austin?

A: A little over 800 letter carriers and city carrier assistants in Austin, Bastrop, Burnet, Fredericksburg, Georgetown, Lockhart, Marble Falls and Round Rock. Not sure how many workers are employed in the other crafts with USPS.

Q: How many of these workers are veterans?

A: There are 650,000 USPS employees nationwide with about 100,000 veterans. Locally with branch 181, we have about 150 veterans.

Q: What irregularities have Austin area postal workers noticed since DeJoy became postmaster?

A: It was reported to me by the Mail Handlers Union that one flat sorting machine has been removed from the facility and four letter sorting machines have been roped off and are not being used. Each letter sorting machine can sort 30,000 letters/hour. Also, letter carriers are being instructed to leave the office for their route by 8:30 AM each morning whether their mail is complete or not. Also, no second trips if parcels are late and no over time.

Q: Can you explain that a bit more?

A: Usually, if the late truck is late coming to the station(s), which happens every morning at every station, the carriers are instructed to go to their routes with what mail they have. Once the mail handlers get done sorting mail to each route, management sends out a message on the carriers’ scanner to come back in to pick up the late mail This way all mail gets delivered every day. With no second trips and no overtime, mail is getting pushed back to the next day and begins to pile up. This is what was going on leading into the rally [to save USPS, organized by Mike Siegel’s congressional campaign].

William Moody (far left), concerned citizens, and Mike Siegel (far right) at rally to save USPS

Q: Has Austin experienced mail slowdowns, undelivered medications, or other problems with mail service as a result of recent changes at USPS?

A: Yes, the recent changes have slowed down the delivery of medications, social security checks, VA checks, parcels, e-commerce, etc. Impact it has on citizens is a delay in their mail. What usually takes a couple days could be pushed to 5, 6, 7, 8 days, etc. The impact on carriers causes carriers to have to take bigger/heavier loads out on their routes, slowing them down. Having to stop and explain to customers on their route why their mail is late or answer questions about something they mailed (bill, parcel, birthday card etc.) and why has it not made it there yet. This adds time to a carrier’s day, especially if it happens multiple times throughout the day. No second trips mean the carrier doesn’t return to the office that day to pick up more mail to be delivered. It all gets pushed to the next day, next day, next day like I explained above.

USPS is the most trusted government agency. Delaying the mail hurts the confidence the American people have in our service that we provide to them each day across America.

Q: DeJoy has said he will postpone making further changes until after the election. However, it seems he has already done damage to the USPS. In your opinion, how might this affect the upcoming election?

A: The postponing of changes until after the election is good for the confidence of our customers, the American people. However, the fight to save the post office will begin after the election. We will need all Americans to support USPS because that’s when Postmaster DeJoy’s additional changes will take place.

Q: What is the effect of the politicization of the USPS on postal workers in Austin — psychologically, physically, financially?

A: Politicizing USPS has put a lot of undue stress on letter carriers. Customers are constantly asking letter carriers why their mail is being delayed. Asking, “Will my ballot be counted?” “Where is my check?” “Where is my medicine?” This adds unwanted stress on letter carriers who are already dealing with 100-degree days and the invisible virus Covid-19 that’s killed over 170,000 Americans, including 70 plus USPS employees. In Austin we have lost one employee to Covid-19.

Q: How can citizens of Austin support postal workers and the USPS?

A: You can support postal workers by logging into heroesdelivering.com, reaching out to your local elected officials to voice your opinions and encouraging and supporting your personal carriers as you see them day to day. We do work for the American people! Every two weeks when we receive our paychecks the pay stubs say from our customers. We are the United States Postal Service, please help us keep the Service in USPS.

Thank you for your interest and support of postal workers, Annie.

[Editor’s Note: USPS runs off the sale of stamps. You can buy stamps here.]

[Interviewer’s note: This interview was conducted via email and lightly edited for coherence.]

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Annie H Hartnett

Annie H Hartnett

mother, dancer, writer, lady arm wrestler, curiouser and curiouser