CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — For over a year people across the country have had issues receiving and sending mail through the United States Postal Service. While less severe delays persist nationwide, Sen. Mark Warner has identified the City of Charlottesville as a hotspot for these issues.
During a virtual briefing on Tuesday, Warner explained that many issues with the postal service are stemming from the very top of the organization. He said Donald Trump’s political choice to appoint Louis DeJoy to the position of Postmaster General has been problematic for USPS. He also said competition with UPS and Fedex, and issues with the USPS pension fund are creating tensions on the service.
“Inefficiency seems to breed from the top,” Warner said.
A release from the United States Postal Service sent on Sept. 30, said that 88.1% of first-class mail, 92.5% of marketing mail and 82.2% of periodicals are arriving on-time based on service standards. This is an improvement in all three categories from earlier this quarter but means some mail delays persist. Starting in October some service standards, not including first-class, will be increased by a day or two to loosen requirements for mail traveling long distances.
Warner acknowledged that across Virginia many places are seeing improvements but not everywhere.
The delays in Charlottesville became so bad that 55 extra workers were called in Saturday and 65 were brought in on Sunday. However, Warner said some are staying on for awhile but it’s unclear how long or how often these extra workers will be available to help.
The post offices in Charlottesville and Albemarle County are understaffed and Warner is frustrated with slow efforts to properly staff the offices. The senator who first attempted to address mail issues in the city back in August said since then there haven’t been enough efforts to recruit more staff.
He is hoping that increased pressures will lead to at least one if not multiple hiring fairs to fill some of the vacancies. He said a job with the postal service used to be viewed as a path to the middle class but now people aren’t seeking out those jobs as much.
Like many other service related industries, Warner says some of the decrease in staff could be due to the increased unemployment benefits but now that those are over there are still issues keeping enough staff.
He is hoping there will be job fairs in Charlottesville to bring on more long term staff.
During the briefing, Warner acknowledged the delays are not the fault of current postal service carriers and sorters. He said he has heard positive praise for the work being down by mail providers in their communities.
Instead the senator believes that issues with managing and hiring are hindering the efforts of the postal service, especially in Charlottesville. The city recently got a new postmaster and Warner said he wants Charlottesville to get the relief from the postal service that they deserve.
It’s not just Charlottesville though, people in the Richmond area are also experiencing mail delays. Warner said Chesterfield County in particular continues to have issues. He said if needs to meet with Richmond area officials to encourage changes like he did in Charlottesville, he will.