If you think your voice can’t make a difference, look to the local president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union Kimberly Karol and how an interview at National Public Radio sparked massive outrage and congressional hearings on the Postal Service changes implemented in early June.
Karol, a postal employee at the Waterloo, Iowa, post office, was being interviewed by NPR’s Noel King about the role of mail-in voting in the 2020 Presidential election when she revealed that Postmaster General’s Louis DeJoy had had equipment removed from the post offices.
King replied, “Curious – I hadn’t heard about this one – equipment being removed. What equipment?”
“The sorting equipment that we use to process mail for delivery,” Karol told King. “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.”
She told King later in the interview, “… 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.”
“My opinion is that the PMG [DeJoy] is trying to circumvent the rules that have been set in place to safeguard the public by making changes that don’t require public comment but have the same impact as closing offices and/or changing delivery standards,” Karol went on to say. “And so this is a way to avoid that kind of public comment. And we’re trying to make sure that the public understands that they need to make comment.”
Karol’s interview generated media interest across the country. DeJoy was asked to testify to Congress about his “sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service.”
Meanwhile, Karol was interviewed on CNN, MSNBC, in the Des Moines Register and by other news organizations, bringing the unique perspective of the Postal Workers to the forefront
Despite DeJoy’s protests that he was not trying to slow down mail delivery, data in October collected by an NBC television station revealed that there was “a significant slowdown in first-class mail in late September and early October, just as tens of millions of Americans went to drop their presidential ballots in mailboxes across the country.”
A recent federal audit explained how 57 new DeJoy “cost-reduction strategies” created confusion and disruptions among the USPS ranks, leading to adverse impact on the agency’s performance (https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2020/20-292-R21.pdf).
Karol pointed in one of her interviews that DeJoy’s measures were a “way to undermine the public confidence in the mail service.”