Two Additional Federal Courts Issue Injunctions Against Postal Service’s Policy Changes

October 2, 2020

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Two federal district courts have entered a third and fourth injunction against the Postal Service to undo the policy changes that it implemented over the summer and to protect voting by mail.

Judge Emmett Sullivan in Washington, D.C., found for a group of litigants led by the New York State Attorney General. The plaintiffs alleged that the policy changes implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over the summer were significant enough to be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).

The Court focused on removing sorting machines; operational changes to extra trips and late trips that the Postal Service itself described as a “pivot” to postal operations and culture; the ESAS pilot for city carriers; and communications suggesting ballots would not be handled as First Class Mail. The Court credited the testimony of various experts, including an APWU representative, that these changes had a meaningful impact on service for all types of mail, not only election mail. The Court concluded that these changes warranted the review and advice of the PRC.

In Pennsylvania, Judge Gerald McHugh entered an injunction against the Postal Service in a case led by the Pennsylvania Attorney General. Judge McHugh questioned the Postal Service’s approach to the changes it made and its failure to assess the impact of those changes on election mail. Judge McHugh borrowed from the proceedings and injunction in the case out of New York to enter a detailed order designed to improve communication of the processes developed by the Postal Service for handling election mail.

The Postal Service is actively taking steps to comply with the four court injunctions.

The injunctions reinforce the need for the Postal Service to take great care in making operational changes that effect its service to the American public. A vibrant public postal system is critical to the economic, social, and political life of the United States.

The APWU is working to preserve the Postal Service’s tradition of security, speed, and care for all users of the mail, no matter where they live, how much money they have, or how they vote.

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