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Delays in Utah mail delivery expected with new U.S. Postal Service rules in place

Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 20:58:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — There may be some delays in getting your mail in the coming weeks as changes have been made by the newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

The U.S. Postal Service has been delivering mail for more than 200 years, so it’s expected some people might be uncomfortable with DeJoy’s changes to the system.

“We’re trying to keep everybody calm,” said Russell Franklin, the president of the Salt Lake Area American Postal Workers Union.

There are three large processing plants in the Salt Lake City area, and two of them are already seeing the impacts.

“We used to go by the premise of every piece of mail every day,” said Franklin.

With DeJoy’s new system, Franklin said he is seeing mail left behind in the processing centers and in the delivery offices, rather than being taken out and delivered.

The pandemic caused a huge decrease in letters or first class mail, but an influx in parcels and packages mailed out — something Franklin said has had a tremendous impact in the Salt Lake area.

According to Nick Vafiadas, the national business agent over postal services in Utah’s region, there are approximately 174 post offices in the state of Utah and about 1,800 city letter carriers.

Four post offices in the State have tested out DeJoy’s new system — sort mail for less time and no overtime allowed if you don’t finish your route by the end of the work day.

“You have seniors relying on the medication and you have veterans relying on their medications from the VA,” said Vafiadas. “It just goes against everything these carriers believe in to leave it sitting in the post office or having to bring it back.”

About 25 percent of postal service workers are veterans, including Vafiadas.

“It’s just a pride in doing a good job in a needed service, and people appreciate it,” said Vafiadas.

They hope the changes will not impact the election in November or their ability to serve their communities.

“Some are much in favor and some are adamantly opposed to what the current administration is doing,” said Franklin.