Maui News

Hawaiʻi Attorney General Joins Coalition To Stop More US Post Office Service Cuts

June 22, 2021, 10:25 AM HST
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A coalition of 21 attorneys general, including Hawaiʻi’s Clare E. Connors, submitted a letter to oppose the United States Postal Service’s proposed changes to increase delivery times for some First-Class Mail and other essential postal services. Photo Courtesy: USPS

Hawaiʻi Attorney General Clare E. Connors joined a group of 21 attorneys general and two cities to oppose Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s efforts to increase delivery times for First-Class Mail and other essential postal services.

As part of the USPS’ Strategic Plan, it seeks to further degrade service standards with more than 30
percent of contiguous First-Class Mail subject to a delivery standard of 4 or 5 days as opposed to the current standard of 2 to 3 days, the coalition said in its statement of position.

Attorney General Connors said it is critical to Hawaiʻi’s welfare for the United States Postal Service to continue to function efficiently and affordably.”

“Because of our location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i depends on having varied, economical ways of sending and receiving letters, gifts, commercial packages and other items,” she said.

The attorneys general coalition is led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and New York Attorney General Letitia James. The coalition submitted a statement of position to the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent federal agency that provides transparency and accountability for US Postal Service’s operations, urging that USPS focus its attention on improving the mistakes of the previous year, rather than implementing changes that would further degrade service:

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“One year ago, the Postal Service implemented a series of purported cost-saving initiatives that had a devastating effect on mail service. Those initiatives, which included drastic changes to USPS’s policies with respect to extra and late trips, were implemented virtually overnight without any prior input from the Commission. Mail delivery across the nation slowed, and Americans who depended on the Postal Service for the delivery of prescription medication, paychecks and other necessities were left stranded. The increased delays also made it more difficult for the States to perform a variety of essential functions and provide critical services to their residents… Regrettably, it appears that the Postal Service is poised to repeat many of these mistakes,” the coalition said its position statement.

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It also reminded the Postal Regulatory Commission of the obligations and benefits of the USPS, including its commitment to prompt, reliable service of necessary, life-saving goods to all people of Hawai’i. 

The proposed service standards would slow down mail delivery for a significant portion of First-Class mail, which would significantly hinder the USPS’s mission to provide reliable service. This change would hinder the State of Hawai’i and the federal government in delivering essential services in a timely manner, including providing public assistance to low-income individuals and families, running driver’s licensing and child welfare programs, and administering elections. 

The group also acknowledged the difficulties put upon postal service workers by these cuts, and how critical it is for the Commission to prevent further changes after a disastrous year, writing:

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“Indeed, the events of the past year caution strongly against imposing sweeping changes of the type the Postal Service proposes. The Postal Service has faced enormous challenges as a result of the pandemic, and postal employees have performed their jobs admirably under incredible strain… The Postal Service has already once imposed sweeping changes in the face of these unprecedented challenges, and the result was disastrous. As the Inspector General found, the July 2020 cost-saving initiatives were implemented without adequate planning and were poorly communicated, leading to a rapid decline in service from which the Postal Service has not fully recovered… The Postal Service should abandon its current effort and refocus its energies on fixing its ongoing performance deficiencies.”

The statement of position also was joined by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia. The attorneys general of the City of New York and the City and County of San Francisco also joined the coalition.

A copy of the statement of position can be found here.

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