OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general, as well as the cities of New York and San Francisco, in a comment letter condemning a proposed 10-year strategic plan put forward by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that threatens to significantly slow the speed of mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) across the country, including first-class election mail. Specifically, the proposed plan, along with other changes, would permanently alter USPS’ service standards to extend the number of days it has to meet delivery deadlines in a superficial effort to demonstrate improved reliability. In the comment letter, the coalition urges the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject the proposal and calls on USPS to take other steps to substantively improve its performance.
“The U.S. Postal Service is a lifeline for millions of Americans and small businesses across the country,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Reliable, timely deliveries make a difference when it comes to keeping a customer or exercising our right to vote. Shame on Postmaster General DeJoy for playing politics with our postal service, a nearly 250-year-old American institution. We respectfully urge the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject this foolhardy proposal. You can’t fix something just by moving the goalposts. Our communities and the more than 600,000 postal workers nationwide deserve better.”
Under the proposed 10-year plan, USPS is, among other things, seeking to change its service standards for first-class mail from 1-3 days to 1-5 days, claiming the existing service standards are incompatible with declines in mail volume. As part of the proposal, USPS asserts that the existing standards make it difficult to provide reliable and consistent service because of high costs and inefficiencies in its transportation network, citing, for instance, low utilization of long-haul truck capacity. However, extending the delivery timeline and then citing the new standard as evidence of improved reliability only serves to create the illusion of a solution without addressing any systemic issues inhibiting USPS’ performance. Thus, USPS’ plan to change the performance standard does not actually address its failings to timely deliver the mail and may well result in overall slower delivery and even worse customer satisfaction. Ultimately, the proposed plan fundamentally deviates from USPS’ core mission as a public service and ignores the potential consequences on the delivery of all types of mail across the country, including with regards to regular government services, paychecks for working families, and election mail. Rural communities and critical state business conducted through the mail would especially suffer from an inefficient postal service.
In the comment letter, the attorneys general assert that the proposal:
Would have significant adverse effects on postal service across the country;
Threatens to harm the states and their residents, including through direct impacts on government services, election mail, and rural and low-income communities; and
Cannot be justified based on USPS' rationale for the changes.
Today’s comment letter is separate from the California Department of Justice’s ongoing litigation against Postmaster General DeJoy in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al. v. Louis DeJoy, et al. As a result of that case, USPS was preliminarily blocked from implementing a series of sudden policy changes ahead of last year’s presidential election that threatened to slow the delivery of election mail during an election that saw a record number of ballots cast by mail.
In filing the comment letter, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Pennsylvania, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, as well as City of New York and the City and County of San Francisco.