How do the changes of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy affect workers? : NPR
NPR’s Noel King speaks with Kimberly Karol, president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, about the changes Postmaster General DeJoy is implementing. Karol, a postal worker, says the mail is piling up in her office.
NOEL KING, HOST:
Postal voting will likely be a big part of this year’s election. And the new head of the US Postal Service is making major changes to this agency. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is a campaign donor to President Trump and he made his first public remarks on Friday.
(EXTRACT FROM THE ARCHIVED RECORD)
LOUIS DEJOY: We are at the start of a transformation process. Our goal is to change and improve the postal service.
KING: He reassigned or moved 23 postal executives. He changed delivery policies, banned overtime, and did other things to keep costs down. So what does all of this mean for employees? Kimberly Karol is president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union and herself a postal worker in Waterloo, Iowa. Hi.
KIMBERLY KAROL: Hello.
KING: Do you feel these changes happening in Iowa?
KAROL: Yeah, we’re starting to see these changes and their impact on mail. Mail is starting to accumulate in our offices, and we are seeing equipment withdrawals. So we are starting to see the impact of these changes.
KING: Curious – I hadn’t heard of this one – the equipment was removed. What equipment?
KAROL: The sorting equipment we use to process mail for delivery. In Iowa, we are losing machines. And they were already in Waterloo losing one of those machines. So it also affects our ability to process mail as we have done in the past.
KING: Of course. Looks like it would. Have you been a postman for 30 years? What do you think of Louis DeJoy?
KAROL: I’m not a fan. I grew up in a culture of service, where every part had to be delivered every day. And its policies, although they’ve only been in place for a few weeks, now affect the way we do business and don’t allow us to deliver every part every day like we have in the past.
KING: Do you have the impression that your feelings towards him are widely shared by the postal workers? Do people agree with you?
KAROL: Yeah, all over the country. We’re trying to activate people across the country and educate the public because we will – my opinion is that the PMG is trying to get around the rules that were put in place to protect the public by making changes that don’t do not require public comment but have the same impact as closing offices and / or changing delivery standards. And so it’s a way to avoid that kind of public comment. And we try to make sure that the audience understands that they have to comment.
KING: Is the postal service equipped to handle this upcoming election?
KAROL: Yeah. Keep in mind that the postal service has been around for 200 years. We are used to being able to process mail. And we have been developing and perfecting our methods during this time. So even if the Postmaster General takes measures that are starting to have an impact, by having the preparation in advance of these elections, we still have the system that will do it.
KING: Last question for you very quickly – the postal service is facing financial pressures. And the argument is, you know, these are cost cutting measures. We need them. What do you say to that?
KAROL: Well, unfortunately I don’t see it as a cost saving measure. I see this as a way of undermining public confidence in the postal service. It is not a cost saving. We are spending more time trying to implement these policy changes. And it is, in our offices, more expensive over time.
KING: Over time, we understand that this is also one of the things that is cut. Kimberly Karol, President of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, thank you for your time.
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