Letter to Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General of the United States - Cartwright, Casey, Evans Demand Answers for Ongoing Postal Service Issues in Pennsylvania


Date: Oct. 3, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy:

We write today to express our deep concerns about the persistent service issues at post offices throughout the state of Pennsylvania. At the recent field hearing of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations in Philadelphia, we joined many of our congressional colleagues in discussing the reports we have heard from constituents about the quality of service in the Commonwealth. While this hearing was a meaningful opportunity to compare and discuss the experiences of our constituents, it must be followed by action. We send this letter today to emphasize our concerns following the hearing, highlight two cases which we feel exemplify the daily issues that Pennsylvanians have lived with for far too long and call for quick and deliberate action to address these problems.

The Postal Service has continued to play an ever-growing role in the distribution of critical goods and services to Pennsylvanians. In addition to the standard deliveries of paychecks, medical supplies and letters from loved ones, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Postal Service was crucial in disbursing economic impact payments to individuals, providing support to small businesses and facilitating vote-by-mail in the 2020 general election. For a wide range of activities, Pennsylvanians relied on the Postal Service and the quality, timely service that they were promised it would provide. While we recognize the extraordinary circumstances the Postal Service has experienced in recent years and are grateful for the frontline postal workers who served our communities under difficult circumstances, we cannot ignore the reports of systemic problems with the quality of mail service. Quality service--timely, secure, and responsive service--is not optional. There are two post offices in Pennsylvania that exemplify the ongoing issues and impacts for our constituents.

Over the past several years, our offices have received outreach from many constituents regarding mail delays and theft at the Germantown Post Office in Philadelphia. These allegations include mail being delivered weeks or months late, lost packages, opened envelopes with money or gift cards removed and other issues. Our constituents have informed us about the hardship these challenges have caused them, including missed bills and associated late fees or being unable to respond in a timely manner to critical documents like parole paperwork. In March of 2021, our constituents informed the members of Congress who represented Philadelphia that over 2,000 pieces of mail were discovered dumped in bags in a lot near the Germantown post office. These bags of mail were dropped off at a nearby police station, where local authorities alerted the federal government.

It is our understanding that, despite communication with the Philadelphia Postmaster General and other authorities, the reported service issues and theft at the Germantown post office have yet to be addressed. As long as these issues are allowed to persist, they will continue to disrupt the daily lives of our constituents and deny them a critical service necessary for their health, safety and the expression of their constitutional rights. The Postal Service has, to this point, demonstrated extremely limited seriousness about rectifying the abysmal standards of service my constituents have experienced.

In the northeast region of our state, we have heard hundreds of complaints related to more than 30 post offices across the 8th Congressional District in recent years. Residents in White Haven, Pennsylvania have contacted our offices to express their disgust with their mail service. They report that the mail is delivered inconsistently and is frequently delivered to the wrong addresses. Many people have had to bring mail over to their neighbors' homes to ensure that it is received by the appropriate person. There have been many residents who have not received necessary mail pieces like paper bills and much needed medications. While we are told that the Postal Service is making adjustments to their operations in White Haven in response to complaints, the fact that such a situation was allowed to persist for so long does not inspire confidence.

Finally, it is our understanding that, amid these service issues, the Postal Service is undertaking consolidation efforts that may complicate matters further. We also write to request a thorough briefing on how proposed consolidation plans will impact the service provided to Pennsylvanians and the day-to-day lives of the postal workers. It is essential that Congress, postal workers and the American public understand how the planned consolidation of package processing to new regional Sort and Delivery Centers might impact the service provided to Pennsylvanians and the commutes and jobs of workers. While the Postal Service contends that these consolidations will drive efficiency and we applaud steps towards financial sustainability, it essential that the Postal Service better communicate their plans and the potential impact of their plans to all stakeholders involved.

Despite repeated attempts by community members to resolve issues with senior postal service officials, the reports of serious service issues throughout the state have persisted. We understand that problems will arise, and the expectation is not perfection. However, Pennsylvanians rely on the postal service to communicate with loved ones, engage in business, and receive critical documents and medical supplies. To that end, we request the following:

That the concerns of Germantown residents be swiftly addressed in order to preserve their access to postal services;
That consistent and reliable service be achieved and sustained for the residents of White Haven as soon as possible; and
That postal officials offer full briefings to key stakeholders on the details of their consolidation plans and that USPS explain the reasons for and its planned response to the sustained service issues throughout the Commonwealth.
That the Postal Service develop and share with our offices a new plan to address the broader pattern of significant service issues throughout the Commonwealth.
Earlier this year, we were all proud to vote in favor of H.R. 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022. This legislation extended a financial lifeline to the Postal Service, helping reduce the agency's financial burdens and creating additional accountability mechanisms. We will continue to be supportive of the Postal Service in hopes that Pennsylvanians will receive this critical service for years to come. We believe the Postal Service can provide the quality of service the American public deserves, and we look forward to the opportunity to support the Postal Service as it seeks to improve service quality and restore the public's trust.

If there is any way that our offices can assist you in these efforts, please contact our offices. Thank you for your attention to this matter.