Spanberger Presses USPS Postmaster General to Address Service Issues After Hearing From More Than 1,800 Virginians

May 17, 2024
Local Issues
Press

Since Relaunching Her USPS Survey Last Month Following Audit of the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center, the Congresswoman Has Received More Than 1,800 Responses from Virginians Expressing Concerns About USPS Delays & Disruptions

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 — particularly amid ongoing delays and disruptions originating at the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center (RPDC) in Sandston, Virginia.

Last month, Spanberger relaunched her USPS survey to hear from families, seniors, and business owners across the Seventh District who have been impacted by inconsistent and unreliable service. Specifically, she relaunched her survey after the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an audit report assessing the effectiveness and operational impacts of the new Richmond RPDC, which serves much of Virginia’s Seventh District and began operating in July 2023 as a result of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s “Delivering for America” plan. The report highlighted various issues on the local, regional, and national levels that have impacted service in Virginia — including poor synchronization between machines processing mail at the facility and the schedules of trucks transporting mail to and from the facility, and concerns about whether the RPDC model is generating the cost savings and efficiency improvements this model has promised.

In a letter sent to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Spanberger outlined constituent reports of mail service issues — including delays, incorrect deliveries, missing mail, and the futility of filing missing mail reports and mail tracking forms. Additionally, she requested that USPS provide information on the steps it is taking to resolve the issues raised by the OIG in their audit report and to implement their recommendations.

Since relaunching her survey last month, Spanberger’s office has received more than 1,800 individual responses from seniors, families, and small business owners across Virginia’s Seventh District detailing significant delays in deliveries and shipments.

Over the past month, I have heard from more than 1,800 Virginians who continue to experience unacceptable service from USPS. Virginians have reported not only delayed delivery of important bills and medications, but mail that has gone missing altogether — without any possibility to track it, or any recourse from USPS despite filing reports,” said Spanberger. “These service issues have gone far beyond basic inconveniences to imposing harmful consequences on Virginians’ health, finances, and lives.”

Spanberger continued, “Notably, my constituents have frequently emphasized that their local post offices and mail carriers are hard-working and excellent at their jobs — and that these issues are clearly coming from the top down. This echoes the OIG’s findings in their audit report on the Richmond RPDC — which became the first consolidated processing center in the country as part of USPS’s 10-year Delivering for America plan to centralize outgoing mail and package processing.”

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

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy,

In light of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recent audit of the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center (RPDC) — which found that USPS had failed to coordinate with local management and staff at the Richmond RPDC or to provide them with the resources and guidance they needed for the enormous undertaking of consolidating the vast majority of the Commonwealth’s mail traffic through one facility, I write to request information on the steps your agency is taking to resolve the issues raised by the OIG in their audit report and to implement their recommendations.

  1. Has USPS finalized new machine sort plans and transportation schedules? If not, when will they be finalized?
  1. Has USPS identified all post offices that have relationships with smaller post offices in Virginia, to send mail to and from the Richmond RPDC? If not, when will these activities be completed?
  1. What steps is USPS taking to address inadequate staffing levels at the Richmond RPDC?
  1. What additional staff training has been conducted on standard work instructions for new processes, if any? What additional staff training is necessary to continue to improve coordination and efficiency at the Richmond RPDC?
  1. What volume of mail has been delayed or missing due to these issues since the implementation of the Richmond RPDC in August 2023?
  1. What contingency plans, if any, does USPS have prepared should it become evident through continued outcomes that the RPDC model fails to accomplish its promised cost savings and efficiency improvements?

I am requesting this information because over the past month, I have heard from more than 1,800 Virginians who continue to experience unacceptable service from USPS. Virginians have reported not only delayed delivery of important bills and medications, but mail that has gone missing altogether — without any possibility to track it, or any recourse from USPS despite filing reports. These service issues have gone far beyond basic inconveniences to imposing harmful consequences on Virginians’ health, finances, and lives.

Notably, my constituents have frequently emphasized that their local post offices and mail carriers are hard-working and excellent at their jobs — and that these issues are clearly coming from the top down. This echoes the OIG’s findings in their audit report on the Richmond RPDC — which became the first consolidated processing center in the country as part of USPS’s 10-year Delivering for America plan to centralize outgoing mail and package processing.

To illustrate the real impacts the Richmond RPDC’s issues have had on Virginians’ daily lives and the urgency with which these problems must be resolved, I am sharing a snapshot of the stories my constituents have shared with me. Judith from Spotsylvania reports that she has sent several checks through the mail which never arrived at their destinations — forcing her to pay a $35 fee multiple times to stop payment on those checks, write replacement checks, and then pay for a rush delivery through alternative mail carrier services. Janice from Prince William County has reported several missing packages to USPS that never arrived. Despite her taking the time to submit reports and tracking forms, USPS did nothing.

Several constituents in Fredericksburg — including a frustrated former mail carrier who laments “what was once a highly professional service” — reported to my office that their packages have been unnecessarily delayed for weeks. The tracking shows that upon arrival in Virginia, they were sent out again to other states as far away as Florida and California, only to be sent back to Virginia. As Robert states bluntly, “Sandston (Richmond) has a reputation as a place packages go to disappear.”

Another constituent, Cat from Orange County, recently told me during a town hall that her friend — who lives two miles down the road — sent her a piece of mail to the post office one mile from Cat’s house. The mail went from this post office all the way to the Richmond RPDC — more than 70 miles away — before making it to her house in Orange. Cat’s husband is currently recovering from an unplanned hip replacement, and she’s worried their medications will be delayed in the mail.

I look forward to hearing from you with updates on your efforts to resolve these issues and working with you to improve USPS service for Virginians as quickly as possible. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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