WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A union representing some Postal Service workers claims changes made at the federal level are disrupting mail service in the north country.
Michael Dunn, who delivers mail in Watertown, says some of the mail he’s been getting has been coming in late.
Union leaders believe it’s because the main Syracuse U.S. Postal Service facility - which processes mail for Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties - has had some of its equipment taken away.
“With this new Postmaster General, all of a sudden, we got about a week’s notice that we have to move all this equipment from the Syracuse processing center,” said Nicole Burnett, American Postal Workers Union Local 257 President.
“That equipment is what we use to sort and process mail for delivery. It’s taking us a lot longer to process that mail over fewer pieces of equipment; it’s not all getting where it needs to go for that delivery commitment.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an appointee of President Trump, has ordered the removal of postal service equipment and collection boxes across the country, not allowed late distribution trips and has cut the hours of mailing facilities. DeJoy has pointed to a decrease in the amount of “flat mail,” like letters, ads and magazines.
The Postal Service is a perennial, huge money loser for the federal government, and supporters of DeJoy say he’s just trying to impose needed efficiencies, doing what any other business would do.
Democrats charge that’s an excuse to tamper with the November election, by making delivery of mail-in ballots unreliable.
“It seems highly possible that this is being done for political reasons,” New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand said earlier this week.
“President Trump has continued to spread conspiracy theories about vote by mail, and over the weekend, he admitted that he does not want to fund the post office because it would lead to an expand in mail-in voting.”
Burnett, the union leader, agrees.
“We feel it is clearly an orchestrated, intentional effort to deceive Americans and interfere with elections and take away the postal service,” she said.
DeJoy reversed course Tuesday, saying all changes made to the Postal Service would be suspended until after the November 3 election.
His change of heart came just as 20 Democratic states announced plans to file federal lawsuits.
And union members say much damage is already done - the sorting equipment they need is gone, and won’t be coming back.
7 News was unable to reach a regional representative of the Postal Service for comment.