Portland postal activists join national rallies

Portland, Oregon

Postal workers, retirees, union officials and community supporters rallied outside the East Portland post office on May 9 demanding an end to recent mail delays and job cuts. Many demonstrators wore red T-shirts saying “Dump DeJoy and his 10-year plan.” Portland, Oregon, was where one of many “We won’t be silent” demonstrations across the U.S. took place.

Postal workers are concerned that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s ultimate goal is to privatize the postal service.

U.S. Postal Service standards have been eroding since DeJoy was appointed Postmaster General under Trump in 2020. Jamie Partridge, a retired postal worker and community organizer, said DeJoy’s “Ten-Year Plan is slowing the mail, raising prices, cutting and closing postal facilities, outsourcing postal work, and paving the way for the privatization of the US Postal Service.”

In October 2021, when mail delivery was switched from air to ground transportation, first-class mail slowed down about 40%. Three-day mail was changed to four-day or even five-day mail.

In February 2024, the introduction of a new phase of DeJoy’s plan slowed down mail delivery even more. The postal system network is being consolidated into 60 Regional Processing and Distribution Centers. Now, all mail travels to an RPDC before being sent to its destination, which in many cases is much closer.

RPDCs will cause local post office closures, the loss of postal jobs, delays in mail delivery time and an increase in postal rates. Mail carriers often need to travel 10 or 20 miles farther to their routes, with many postal workers facing relocation to a new job many miles away.

Rural post offices are being hit with “Local Transportation Optimization.” This occurs in locations over 50 miles from a processing plant with a population of less than 30,000. Instead of there being two mail trucks a day, the evening truck, which picks up the day’s outgoing mail, is being eliminated. This adds an extra day in delivery time to much of the area’s mail. Nearly half of Oregon’s post offices, and 10,000 across the U.S., are being affected.

The USPS has refused to answer concerns by Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, who have called on the postal service to hold a local “Listening Session.”

The Postal Board of Governors has also refused to attend a local community hearing called by the Portland City Council and U.S. Postal Service representatives. The meeting was to give elected officials, including senators and House representatives, a chance to raise concerns about the impact of these recent changes in the USPS on jobs and quality of service.

Rallies to demand improved postal services and to protect good, living-wage union jobs were held during the week of May 6 in more than 85 cities in 36 states.

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