APWU Member Testifies on Service Standards

Judy Beard

August 27, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the September-October issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

APWU member Brian McLaurin was asked to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) by Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen (D), who serves as chairman of the subcommittee. The hearing, held July 13, was convened to review the 2022 fiscal year budget request for the USPS Office Inspector General and review the ongoing USPS service issues. McLaurin was one of four witnesses asked to testify by the subcommittee. The subcommittee also asked USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb to testify.

McLaurin, who currently serves as the Motor Vehicle Service Craft Director of APWU’s Nation’s Capital Southern Maryland Area Local, was hired by the Post Office in 1998 as a driver. He has driven tractor-trailers for the Postal Service for 23 years. Having “personally witnessed the slow and steady decline and delay of our nation’s mail,” McLaurin offered the subcommittee a firsthand account of the service issues currently afflicting the Postal Service.

In his testimony, he outlined the gravity of the problems that post offices and postal facilities around the country currently face. McLaurin reported that “the mail is already late as a result of changes in delivery schedules. To make matters even worse, postal facilities are shortstaffed; so, when mail finally arrives at a station, there aren’t enough workers to process mail and get it out for delivery. We’re seeing the same mail sitting in the facility for two or three days. Postal employees get to it when they can. Over the years, these processing changes have made it difficult for us to distribute the mail on time.”

In response to these issues, McLaurin presented our union’s demand: that the Appropriations Committee intervene to guarantee a baseline level of service for USPS performance, facility and window hours. McLaurin, on behalf of the APWU, requested that Congress add language to the FSGG Appropriations bill which would: 1) prohibit the USPS from reducing its service standards, mail delivery times, facility hours, post office operation/ window service hours, and performance metrics below its 2020 levels and 2) direct the PRC to look at the costs and benefits of returning USPS to its 2012 service standards.

In her testimony, USPS Inspector General Whitcomb expressed similar concerns regarding the need to further study the impact of the Postal Service’s proposed slow down, saying that “[p]rior to changes in the network, service really needs to be analyzed to see what the impacts of those changes would be.”

As the hearing wound to a close, Chairman Van Hollen thanked McLaurin for his testimony before the subcommittee and agreed that returning to 2012 service standards is necessary. The APWU is incredibly proud of McLaurin for his illuminating testimony and is grateful to him for presenting our union’s ask before the Senate subcommittee.

“We need to get back to those 2012 standards,” said Chairman Van Hollen. “We know that [processing the mail on time] can be done right, because you were doing it right in 2012 before some of these deliberate changes were made that have compromised the ability to deliver mail on time.”

For more information, please visit apwu.org/legislative-priorities.

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