Locals join nationwide fight to ‘Save the Post Office’

SPOKANE, Wash. — Recent changes to the Postal Service could delay letters, critical medications, and other packages for millions of Americans. 

Now, advocates in Spokane are calling for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to resign. 

During testimony before the Senate yesterday, the postmaster general defended the postal service’s ability to handle the influx of mail-in ballots this November. 

He also downplayed the changes he’s made since taking over in June. 

Changing hours, removing collection boxes and shutting down some sorting facilities has already started to slow down the mail. 

Not only could this impact this year’s election, it also puts some people’s health at risk, since they rely on prescriptions by mail. 

Spokane activists demanding protection for a service that delivers more than just junk mail. 

“I was down to my last pill yesterday for my blood pressure medicine,” said Tim Carney. “But the bottle arrived just in time.” 

Carney receives all his medicine through the mail, like many other veterans. 

“I’m healthy and it’s not a big deal for me to miss mine, but lots of veterans have service-related illnesses that require medicine daily,” said Carney. 

There are growing concerns about the crippling impacts on our postal system, despite a recent promise by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that changes will hold off until after the election. 

But shutdowns were already underway. The Wenatchee sorting facility temporarily shut down and sent all mail to Spokane. 

“It’s add like one or two days to each side of the mail, so a letter that would normally take two to three days would take four to five,” said Ryan Harris, of the Washington Postal Workers Union. 

That sorting center is up and running again as of Tuesday.

Yakima’s sorting machines didn’t get pulled. In Tacoma, changes to sorting machines cut productivity by up to 40%, according to Harris.

These concerns center around the November election, where a record number of states are opting for mail-in ballots due to the pandemic. 

In Washington, you just need to postmark your ballot by election day. But that’s not the case in all states, so leaders are urging you to vote early. 

2020 has already had its fair share of controversy. Carney wishes the Post Office wasn’t at the center of this one. 

“It’s shocking to me, just shocking, but I look around me and I see people who are concerned, and who are working to make sure people are aware of what’s going on and it gives me hope, and that’s a good thing,” said Carney.

READ: House approves bill to send $25 billion to Postal Service and halt changes