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The United States Postal Service will be telling all of its employees that it is undoing virtually all of the policies Postmaster General Louis DeJoy initiated more than two months ago that delayed mail across the country, according to a memo obtained by Motherboard.
The memo, titled “Ready to deliver Election Mail for the nation,” comes after the USPS’s hand was forced. As the memo itself acknowledges, two separate federal judges issued injunctions requiring the USPS to roll back these policies, including limiting overtime and mandating rigid adherence to truck schedules even if mail was not on them. In the wake of those rulings, some mail sorting machines that had been deactivated but not disassembled were being reactivated across the country. A USPS spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the new instructions, overtime is “authorized and instructed to be used as necessary,” managers are “authorized to use their best business judgment to meet service commitments” and hold trucks so mail is on time, retail hours are not to be changed except in emergencies, collection boxes aren’t to be removed except for extraordinary events like extreme weather “or civil unrest,” and election mail is to be processed as first-class mail even without first-class postage.
In some instances, the memo is a precise reversal of the July 10 memo that instituted the policies to begin with and kicked off months of extraordinary Congressional and public scrutiny regarding the postal service. Whereas the July memo stated “One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that—temporarily—we may see mail left behind or mail on on the workroom floor or docks” whereas today’s memo states “Focusing on the transportation schedule does not mean that mail should be left behind — it should not.”
The USPS’s grand experiment originating with the July 10 memo was a profound failure. Service tanked, resulting in hundreds of millions of mail pieces delayed, including essential items like medication and bills. Small businesses suffered. And because of the unreliability of service triggered by DeJoy’s policies, eBay, one of the USPS’s biggest and most profitable customers, began a transition plan to use much less USPS service and more of UPS.
The memo states these new orders will be in effect “until further notice.” The Washington Post has previously reported DeJoy plans major changes to the USPS after the election when he expects less political scrutiny over the agency.
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