Spanberger Presses U.S. Postal Service to Fix Mail Delivery & Service Delays in Spotsylvania & Fredericksburg

Sep 29, 2021
Local Issues
Press

The Congresswoman has Heard from Many Virginians within the 22407 Zip Code about the Impacts of Severe Delays & Staffing Shortages on their Daily Lives

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger today pressed the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to address mail delivery and service delays experienced by Virginians living in the 22407 zip code — including the Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg areas.

In a letter sent to U.S. Postal Service Virginia District Manager Mr. Gerald Roane, Spanberger outlined specific concerns she has heard directly from Virginians in this region about their subpar experiences with their USPS service. Additionally, she asked for answers about how the USPS will address and fix ongoing issues— including staffing shortages, the end of mail pick-ups at local offices, and continued delivery delays.

“Many constituents have recently contacted my office to report significant delays in mail delivery in the 22407 zip code serving the Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg regions,” said Spanberger in her letter. “For many of them, these delays have been the worst since the pandemic began. Notably, one constituent reported having not received any mail for more than three weeks. When she did receive mail, there were only five pieces — two of which were not addressed to her. When this constituent attempted to pick up mail at her post office, she was told pick-ups had ceased.”

Spanberger continued, “As a Representative for the Spotsylvania region, I hope to work with you on addressing these concerning mail delays that prevent those we serve from receiving the important items they rely on. Additionally, I look forward to working with you on ensuring our hardworking postal workforce does not have to bear the brunt of organizational challenges and staffing insufficiencies.”

Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Mr. Roane,

Thank you for your service as Virginia District Manager for the United States Postal Service (USPS) during these difficult times. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly placed an immense strain on operations at the USPS, and I am grateful for the dedication of public servants like yourself working on behalf of the American people.

More than ever, Virginians rely on the USPS to deliver prescription medications, bills, groceries, and other essential items in a timely manner. Throughout this public health crisis, USPS mail carriers, sales associates, supervisors, and more have been working tirelessly — day in and day out — to carry out the USPS’ mission of providing the nation with reliable, affordable, universal mail service.

The confluence of a global pandemic, extensive restructuring by USPS leadership, a nationwide election, and surges surrounding holidays has had a dramatic impact on mail service since March 2020 — and I understand these factors have caused mail slowdowns at points over the last year and a half.

Unfortunately, many constituents have recently contacted my office to report significant delays in mail delivery in the 22407 zip code serving the Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg regions. For many of them, these delays have been the worst since the pandemic began. Notably, one constituent reported having not received any mail for more than three weeks. When she did receive mail, there were only five pieces — two of which were not addressed to her. When this constituent attempted to pick up mail at her post office, she was told pick-ups had ceased.

Government liaisons at the USPS informed my office that staffing shortages have been contributing to recent delays in service. Concerningly, we were told the 22407 zip code had recently been down approximately 15 carriers from its previous staffing level of 43 carriers – a nearly 35% drop — and post offices have contacted carriers from neighboring zip codes to help complete routes.

As a Representative for the Spotsylvania region, I hope to work with you on addressing these concerning mail delays that prevent those we serve from receiving the important items they rely on. Additionally, I look forward to working with you on ensuring our hardworking postal workforce does not have to bear the brunt of organizational challenges and staffing insufficiencies. To understand the full scope of challenges facing the USPS in the 22407 zip code, I would like to request the following information regarding these ongoing issues:

  • Please expand on the staffing shortages impacting the 22407 zip code.
    • Please include the nature of the shortages – are they due to temporary leave, permanent leave, a combination?
  • What contingency plans are currently in place to mitigate insufficient staffing levels?
  • From your vantage point as a district manager for the Commonwealth, what additional assistance or resources could be useful to improve the contingency plans currently in place?
    • Please expound upon the decision to cease mail pick-up at local offices, especially when some customers have not received mail in weeks.
  • In the event of sudden staffing shortages, does the USPS have a process in place to notify customers about anticipated mail delays?
  • For customers whose mail has been severely delayed, are there efforts by the USPS to expedite their deliveries?
  • In addition to staffing issues, please describe any additional causes of mail delivery issues impacting the Spotsylvania region.
  • Are there any additional resources that would be helpful for district managers like yourself to ensure efficient and timely mail delivery in Virginia?

During this uncertain time, Americans must be able to rely on the USPS for timely delivery of prescription medications, bills, and more. Additionally, we must ensure that USPS employees are not casualties in the absence of preparation for staff shortages. As I am sure you know, many hardworking USPS employees have already been stretched thin for months — and being expected to pick up additional delivery routes certainly cannot improve morale.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter — and for the hard work of the USPS in handling the challenges posed by this historic year and a half. I look forward to your response and please let my office know if you have any questions.

BACKGROUND

Last year, Spanberger cosponsored and voted to pass the Delivering for America Act, which would prohibit the USPS from making any structural changes impacting its service during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when more Americans are relying on home deliveries, the legislation seeks to stabilize the USPS and its operations. Additionally, the bill seeks to prevent any targeted structural changes that would weaken the USPS or threaten the job security of its employees.

Since the pandemic began, Spanberger has also sought direct feedback from Central Virginians on the negative impacts of mail and delivery service delays. Earlier this year, her office received more than 3,700 individual responses from Virginians highlighting significant delays in deliveries and shipments of cell phone bills, tax documents, orders for small businesses, prescription drugs, and more. Spanberger first launched her survey in August 2020.

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