“The head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union alleged Tuesday that mail sorting machines are “being removed” from Post Offices in her state due to new policies imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump whose operational changes have resulted in dramatic mail slowdowns across the nation.”
‘A conspiracy’: Alarms sound after postal worker reports removal of sorting machines
The removal of key equipment from Post Offices should be viewed as nothing less than “sabotage,” said one observer.
18 U.S. Code § 1703.Delay or destruction of mail or newspapers
(a)Whoever, being a Postal Service officer or employee, unlawfully secretes, destroys, detains, delays, or opens any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail entrusted to him or which shall come into his possession, and which was intended to be conveyed by mail, or carried or delivered by any carrier or other employee of the Postal Service, or forwarded through or delivered from any post office or station thereof established by authority of the Postmaster General or the Postal Service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(b)Whoever, being a Postal Service officer or employee, improperly detains, delays, or destroys any newspaper, or permits any other person to detain, delay, or destroy the same, or opens, or permits any other person to open, any mail or package of newspapers not directed to the office where he is employed; or
Whoever, without authority, opens, or destroys any mail or package of newspapers not directed to him, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 778; May 24, 1949, ch. 139, § 37, 63 Stat. 95; Pub. L. 91–375, § 6(j)(16), Aug. 12, 1970, 84 Stat. 778; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(B), (G), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2146, 2147.)
The head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union alleged Tuesday that mail sorting machines are “being removed” from Post Offices in her state due to new policies imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump whose operational changes have resulted in dramatic mail slowdowns across the nation.
Asked by NPR‘s Noel King whether she has felt the impact of DeJoy’s changes, Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol—a 30-year Postal Service veteran—answered in the affirmative, saying “mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed.”“I don’t see this as cost-saving measures. I see this as a way to undermine the public confidence in the mail service.”
—Kimberly Karol, Iowa Postal Workers Union
Karol went on to specify that “equipment that we use to process mail for delivery”—including sorting machines—is being removed from Postal Service facilities in Iowa as DeJoy rushes ahead with policies that, according to critics, are sabotaging the Postal Service’s day-to-day operations less than 90 days before an election that could hinge on mail-in ballots.
“In Iowa, we are losing machines. And they already in Waterloo were losing one of those machines. So that also hinders our ability to process mail in the way that we had in the past,” added Karol, who said she is “not a fan” of the postmaster general. Washington state election officials have also raised concerns about the removal of mail sorting machines.
“I grew up in a culture of service, where every piece was to be delivered every day. And his policies, although they’ve only been in place for a few weeks, are now affecting the way that we do business and not allowing us to deliver every piece every day, as we’ve done in the past,” said Karol. “I don’t see this as cost-saving measures. I see this as a way to undermine the public confidence in the mail service. It’s not saving costs. We’re spending more time trying to implement these policy changes. And it’s, in our offices, costing more over time.”
Observers reacted with alarm to Karol’s comments, viewing them as further confirmation that DeJoy is deliberately attempting to damage the Postal Service with the goal of helping Trump win reelection in November.
“It’s a conspiracy to steal the election, folks,” tweeted The Week‘s political columnist Ryan Cooper.
Freelance journalist Erin Biba said there’s “absolutely no way to see” the removal of mail sorting machines from Post Offices as anything other than “sabotage” of the most popular government institution in the U.S.“It’s so blatant,” added Biba.