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Union President says delayed mail is skyrocketing in Southwest Florida

Posted at 6:54 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 10:41:50-04

CAPE CORAL — Millions of people in Southwest Florida aren’t getting their mail on time.

That’s according to the President of the Postal Workers Union in Fort Myers. He says changes made in the last few months have caused late mail to skyrocket.

“I’ve never seen anything like this, ever, since I’ve been working for the post office over 29 years," said Union President Sam Wood.

Wood says the data shows, since the beginning of this year, delays have increased exponentially for mail getting to customers all across Southwest Florida.

“Back in April, there was a little over 150,000 pieces of delayed mail for that month. It went up to 400,000 pieces of delayed mail in May, and then in June, it went up to 700,000 pieces of delayed mail. And then July, which I was very shocked, it went to 5.7 million," said Wood.

That’s an increase of more than 3,000%, and Wood says, it has to do with changes that were made in just the last few months.

“At the Fort Myers P & DC, there’s been 5 machines that have been taken out, and those got taken out starting in June," said Wood.

Wood even provided us with a picture of one of those machines being put in a dumpster.

According to an email Wood says he received from the Fort Myers plant manager, the machines were “tarped” because of a "decline in letter volume."

Wood says, there’s also been a change in how much mail workers are allowed to process.

“Everything they got in they would process and get that mail out on a daily basis. Now they’re being told that they’re to run a certain amount of pieces of mail. Whatever’s left over is delayed," said Wood.

On Tuesday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy put out a statement, saying in part “There are some longstanding operational initiatives, efforts that predate my arrival at the postal service, that have been raised as areas of concern… To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election.”

But Wood says, that doesn’t fix the problem.

“It’s great that the new Postmaster General has stopped those changes until election time, but my question is, what happens after election time?” said Wood.

UPDATE: USPS responded to our questions about the cause of any backlogs that exist at the Fort Myers Mail Processing Facility. The agency referred us back to the Postmaster General's statement released on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Wednesday afternoon that DeJoy told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi he has no plans to reverse any of the changes he has already made to the postal service.