WASHINGTON—Every member of Minnesota’s Republican congressional delegation, Representatives Brad Finstad (MN-01), Michelle Fischbach (MN-07) and Pete Stauber (MN-08), joined a letter led by Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) addressing the postal delays which have impacted homes and businesses across Minnesota. The letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is the delegation’s second inquiry into the United States Postal Service (USPS) service delays this year.
“We have heard consistent concerns from Carver residents that their everyday mail service is delayed and unreliable. Even though our local mail carriers are working overtime, they simply can’t keep up with their routes,” Emmer said.“Sixth District residents rely on timely mail service and their mail carriers deserve to be compensated for their hard work. Postmaster General DeJoy must answer for these persistent delays across our state.”
The members wrote:
We are writing to you regarding the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) operation within the Minnesota-North Dakota Region. In the middle of one of the busiest seasons for mail and package delivery, we are extremely concerned about the current state of mail delivery in Minnesota.
Nearly a year ago, we shared our concerns over the lack of mail delivery and delays across Minnesota that worsened during the holiday season. A month after the initial letter, we received a response stating that mail service was delayed due to staffing shortages and inclement weather, and that the USPS was working on solutions to provide Minnesotans with reliable, timely mail services.
Unfortunately, we are in an identical situation a year later. Our offices have received many complaints from constituents that they are not receiving mail at a consistent rate, some going without mail for up to a week. It was recently announced by the Inspector General that four post offices in the south metro would be receiving audits and Congressman Stauber’s office was informed that the Bemidji and Blackduck post offices would receive audits as well.
We are aware the USPS is facing a staffing shortage across the state and there is significant burnout among current employees. While it is welcomed news that the Minnesota-North Dakota Region has been holding job fairs in an effort to hire additional staff, we are concerned about the recent reports that USPS workers are working overtime without receiving correlating pay. Mail carriers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area have been working 60-to-80-hour weeks just to keep up with demand. Additionally, it was reported that some Minnesota Post Offices are directing their employees to set aside traditional USPS mail delivery for other non-traditional mail deliveries.
Our constituents, especially those in rural areas, rely on the USPS to pay their bills, get their prescriptions, and keep in touch with their loved ones. To further understand the actions that the USPS is taking, please provide a response to the following questions:
- What steps has the USPS taken to ensure that Minnesotans are able to receive their mail and packages during the holiday season?
- Given the recent news that the Bemidji Post Office instructed their mail carriers to work extended hours without overtime pay, are any other post offices in Minnesota offering similar instructions to their employees?
- Are Minnesota Post Offices instructing their carriers to prioritize deliveries other than traditional mail?
- What steps, other than career fairs, is the USPS taking to recruit and retain workers?
- How did the Inspector General determine which post offices in Minnesota would receive an audit?
- Is there potential for any additional post offices in Minnesota to receive an audit or the possibility for a statewide audit?
It is imperative that the USPS finds solutions to ensure that Minnesotans receive their mail in a timely fashion, while providing a safe working environment for their employees. Thank you for your prompt consideration of our questions.
This month, constituents in the City of Carver have contacted Rep. Emmer’s office regarding mail delays, with some residents not receiving mail for five days. Additionally, as the City of Carver’s population continues to grow, the city’s post office faces capacity and space issues including reports that postal workers previously had to sort mail in the parking lot.