Postal services may be at issue in Upper Peninsula

Postal services in the Upper Peninsula appear to be headed down a disastrous path. Thankfully, Gary Peters is attempting to subvert that.

Peters, D-Michigan, authored legislation in 2021 for significant postal reform, improving operations and “saving about $50 billion over the next 10 years,” Peters said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The legislation removed a requirement that the U.S. Postal Service pre-fund health benefits for employees and put the USPS on firmer financial footing.

It also codified six-day delivery.

U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy devised a multi-year plan to streamline postal operations called Delivering for America, which the USPS has started rolling out over the past several months.

Reviews of how it’s going so far from citizens and lawmakers have not been positive. DeJoy’s plan has included consolidating mail sorting away from individual post offices in favor of centralized centers and moving processing operations away from hundreds of cities and towns in favor of 60 mega-centers throughout the country. As part of a new initiative, USPS is also rolling out an optimized collection plan that will require mail to sit overnight at post offices instead of being collected each evening for transportation to a processing center.

Peters spoke to reporters following a senate hearing Monday with DeJoy, in which he fielded questions and endured significant criticism. Peters had asked DeJoy to pause the rollout until the USPS can prove the changes will not negatively impact mail service. Peters chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees the USPS.

Peters said he is disappointed and concerned about how the implementation of changes to operations have gone so far.

Rollout of some of the new changes in some of the first cities affected, including Atlanta, Charleston and Houston have shown significant decreases in on-time delivery.

“I’ve heard concerns from people in my home state of Michigan, worried about changing the Kingsford Postal facility into a local processing and distribution center, which has been proposed by the USPS in its initial review,” he said.

The USPS review has drawn criticism because becoming a LPC would shift some mail operations to Green Bay, Wis. The Kingsford processing facility is the only one in the U.P. and Peters and other lawmakers say it’s central to the timely processing and delivery of mail.

Michelle Yuhasey, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1189, noted changes already have affected local service, since the center is no longer able to provide next-day delivery within the U.P., which had been available until Jan. 8.

The USPS statement has not clarified whether next-day delivery would be restored if the Kingsford facility is converted to a local processing center.

“The nature of USPS’s network changes has now raised significant concerns including the potential for degraded rural service due to fewer facilities, delayed delivery of election mail that would be processed at out-of-state facilities, and critical health information such as laboratory tests not being processed same-day due to decreased transportation trips,” he said.

This is a mess that not a single Yooper wants, and we are pleased to see someone in power putting their foot down. DeJoy clearly doesn’t understand the potential consequences of his actions, that much is clear.


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