Spanberger Presses USPS on Virginia Mail Service Issues Ahead of the Holiday Season

Dec 14, 2023
Local Issues
Press

Since Relaunching USPS Survey Last Month, Spanberger Has Received More Than 1,300 Responses from Virginians Expressing Concerns About USPS Delays

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In direct response to the concerns of Virginians experiencing continued issues with mail and shipping services, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today pressed the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to address these issues, as well as provide an explanation for its decision to reduce seasonal hiring for the 2023 holiday season.

In a letter sent to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Spanberger outlined constituent reports of mail service issues — including delays, incorrect deliveries, and missing mail. Additionally, she requested an explanation of the USPS’s decision to reduce seasonal hiring for the 2023 holiday season — for the second year in a row — during the agency’s peak season. Given the number of Virginians experiencing issues with USPS, she also asked the agency to provide further information about USPS’s contingency plans, should any further issues arise.

Since relaunching her survey last month, Spanberger’s office has received more than 1,300 individual responses from seniors, families, and small business owners across Virginia’s Seventh District detailing significant delays in deliveries and shipments.

“In a recent survey my office conducted, I heard from more than 1,300 Virginians across my district about mail delivery and service issues they have had with USPS. Virginians shared stories with me about delayed delivery of bills that caused them to owe late fees and penalties, mail delivered to the wrong address, and missing mail that was never delivered – including checks and gifts,” wrote Spanberger. “As we approach the busy holiday season, I am concerned about how an already stressed USPS is going to remedy these ongoing challenges, let alone keep up with increased volume – especially as your agency has drastically reduced seasonal hiring for the second year in a row, this year by two-thirds. As you know, efficient and reliable postal services are crucial, especially when USPS is experiencing a significant surge in packages and mail during the holidays. Virginians rely on a strong USPS to deliver not just seasonal cards and gifts, but also lifesaving medications, bills, customer orders, and much more.”

Spanberger continued, “I am proud to serve as the Representative for thousands of hardworking USPS employees who endure long hours and difficult conditions to provide this public service – and they should not pay the price for irresponsible changes to agency-wide policies and operations. I worry about the impact understaffing will have on their work hours, safety, and ability to meet expectations. The USPS Office of Inspector General acknowledged that “changes to processing put the Postal Service at risk for parcel delays.” This risk is not one which American families and workers can afford.”

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

I write with great appreciation for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), our postal employees, and the value of USPS to our community and country. As we approach the holidays, I am concerned about USPS’ seasonal hiring plans and what they will mean for customers and employees.

In a recent survey my office conducted, I heard from more than 1,300 Virginians across my district about mail delivery and service issues they have had with USPS. Virginians shared stories with me about delayed delivery of bills that caused them to owe late fees and penalties, mail delivered to the wrong address, and missing mail that was never delivered – including checks and gifts.

For example, Grace from Stafford County recounted that she was forced to pay a credit card delinquent fee because of late delivery by USPS after she had sent her payment early. Linda from Culpeper reported that her family has mailed bill payments that were never received at their destination. And Cynthia from Spotsylvania lost her monthly Social Security benefit, because she never received a letter that the Social Security Administration mailed to her through USPS. As Jeff from Spotsylvania said bluntly, “Mail service has become very unreliable.”

As we approach the busy holiday season, I am concerned about how an already stressed USPS is going to remedy these ongoing challenges, let alone keep up with increased volume – especially as your agency has drastically reduced seasonal hiring for the second year in a row, this year by two-thirds.

As you know, efficient and reliable postal services are crucial, especially when USPS is experiencing a significant surge in packages and mail during the holidays. Virginians rely on a strong USPS to deliver not just seasonal cards and gifts, but also lifesaving medications, bills, customer orders, and much more.

Additionally, I am proud to serve as the Representative for thousands of hardworking USPS employees who endure long hours and difficult conditions to provide this public service – and they should not pay the price for irresponsible changes to agency-wide policies and operations. I worry about the impact understaffing will have on their work hours, safety, and ability to meet expectations. The USPS Office of Inspector General acknowledged that “changes to processing put the Postal Service at risk for parcel delays.” This risk is not one which American families and workers can afford.

Accordingly, I would appreciate a response to the following:

  1. What steps is USPS taking to address service issues such as those reported by my constituents — including late, incorrect, and missed deliveries?
  2. What led to USPS’ decision to reduce seasonal hiring ahead of the 2023 holiday peak season, despite the above continued service issues?
  3. Please describe the potential impacts and additional hardships that will fall on our hardworking postal workforce during this busy holiday season with less temporary staff on board.
  4. In a recent report, the USPS Office of Inspector General stated, “The Postal Service has developed plans to handle the upcoming peak season. If the initiatives are implemented as planned and volume forecasts are accurate, the Postal Service should be prepared for peak season.” Should mail volume exceed these forecasts, what contingency plans does the USPS have in place to meet demand?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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