Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today released the results of a survey of 2,130 Mainers who were asked about how recent operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) by the Trump administration have impacted them.
56 percent of the survey respondents (1,195 individuals) shared personal stories of mail disruptions they have experienced. Mainers wrote about delayed prescriptions, disrupted business operations, dead mail-order animals, and more. A sampling of responses received by Rep. Pingree’s office is provided below:
- “Having been diagnosed with ALS, I rely on medication to prevent painful muscle cramping and twitching. The only source of this medication is in Florida. It typically takes 3 to 4 days from placing the order to delivery. My last order took ten days to get here, and it was an extraordinarily painful week!”
- “I am a small business person who sells on Etsy. As such, I rely on the postal service to ship orders. I’ve experienced delays and at least one package is lost somewhere. I know other Etsy sellers who are having a really hard time with orders arriving really late, and are losing business.”
- “The post office in our summer community is closed this summer, requiring trips ashore to pick up mail. While understandable, I’m so afraid of this closure—the first in the long history of this office of which I’m aware—will become permanent if things in the USPS aren’t helped. Please get rid of the 75-year prefunding mandate behind its financial issues.”
- “We seem to have 1-2 days delay in mail that affects my cash flow as someone who is self-employed. A couple of my clients only send checks and I do not have option of ACH deposits. My personal income is low because there isn’t a lot of demand for my services now and the cash flow is hard.”
- “I have received time sensitive letters from DHHS and Mainecare too late to respond before the deadline resulting in loss of food supplements for 3 months, the inability to choose my own pccm and additional RX costs. These delays are hampering maine State agencies.”
- “Personally, I have received an Informed Delivery email showing what mail will be arriving at my address that day, only to have no mail arrive. This can only happen if the mail never left (or left late from) the processing plant.”
- “We ordered guinea and chickens back in early June 2020. The shipments coming express still took 3-4 days from Missouri and Ohio. Dead chicks in both shipments.”
- “I received from DHS a letter that required a response on a certain date but I didn’t get the letter until days after the date required. I could have lost Mainecare.”
- “We requested absentee ballots for a primary election held in our home town of York in July. We are unable to return to Maine due to the COVID crisis. The ballots were mailed from York in June 26th and we received them at our P.O. Box in California on August 6th. We missed the opportunity to vote.”
SNAPSHOT OF PINGREE’S USPS SURVEY:
64% of respondents said they have experienced mail delays or know someone who has
89% of respondents said they were aware of the operational changes by Postmaster Louis DeJoy
82% said they’ve paid their bills via USPS or plan to within the next six months
55% said they’ve voted via USPS or plan to within the next six months
40% said they’ve received a prescription medication via USPS or plan to within the next six months
68 percent of respondents (1,462 individuals) shared stories of what the Postal Service means for them, their families, or their small businesses:
- “The USPS is a vital part of daily life. We live on a rural road in a small town, not near services. We send and receive important mail every day. And we rely on the USPS for our 95 year old father, a WWII veteran. We trust the employees and know they are doing their best.”
- “We live in a rural setting and rely on the USPS for the last leg of delivery. In fact, due to quirks in Rockland, they are often the only provider who knows how to find our house. We also have to order many things on line, especially during COVID. But we have always needed to order online for products not carried locally. The USPS is a vital part of communication and commerce in America. It is a strength. It should not be a profit center.”
- “We live on Rural Route, so we depend on the USPS for the ‘last mile’ delivery of many goods. I use the USPS for receiving payments from my customers paying invoices. I rely on the USPS for sending payments related to my small business.”
- “Especially during Covid, I use the mail daily to send packages and letters. Our 2 year old sends cards to her friends in town who can no longer see each other at the library / classes.”
- “I take immune suppressant drugs following an organ transplant. The drugs cannot be ordered far in advance due to insurance regulations. The thought of NOT receiving my drugs on time terrifies me.”
- “We use the USPS for our small businesses; every spring we ship flower bulbs nationwide. Delays of even a day can compromise the quality of the orders.”
- “We are a fledgling farm and we order chicks and geese that arrive through the postal service.”
- “In our little town of Owls Head, the Post Office doubles as a community center where a bulletin board lets us know important things that are going on in the town, information about voting, etc., and an informal meeting place for the community.”
- “Without a reliable, well-funded Postal Service I cannot pay my mortgage or bills in time because I receive paper paychecks. The Postal Service is critical to my family’s basic economic, medical, and logistical needs and should not be politicized. In a rural state like Maine, we can’t survive without the Postal Service running smoothly!”
- “The postal service has enabled many – minorities/women/vets – to have good paying jobs and enter the middle class; it is an equal-opportunity provider for all!”
Click here to read a full text of Pingree’s USPS survey which was emailed to constituents on Monday, August 24.
How Rep. Pingree has responded to the Trump administration’s USPS sabotage at the federal level:
Last week, Pingree voted in support of the Delivering for America Act, which passed the House of Representatives 257 to 150. The critical legislation will provide USPS with $25 billion in emergency appropriations, require USPS to treat election mail as First Class mail, and explicitly reverse the Trump administration’s sabotage of mail delivery under Postmaster Louis DeJoy. The Delivering for America Act is the third bill that the House has sent to the Senate to shore up the finances of the Post Office and ensure Americans can vote safely by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.
In February, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed the USPS Fairness Act repealing the 2006 law requiring USPS to prefund all its employees’ health care at least 50 years into the future—with 87 Republicans voting in support of repeal. The McConnell Senate has been blocking H.R.2382 for over six months. Rep. Pingree supported the USPS Fairness Act and is a cosponsor of the legislation.
In May, Pingree voted for the Heroes Act, which would provide $25 billion in funding for the Post Office. On August 12, Rep. Pingree sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, and 173 other House Democrats calling for the reversal of policies that have worsened the crisis facing the Postal Service and directly caused a dramatic increase in delayed and undelivered mail.
On August 19, Pingree and 90 Democrats demanded that the USPS Board of Governors remove Postmaster DeJoy from his position. In their letter to the board, the members cited destructive changes DeJoy has implemented, as well as his several conflict of interests with investments in USPS competitors and contractors.