CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The quickly-approaching holiday buying season serves up big bucks for business owners like Carolyn Jäger.
For the last 10 years, the SugarMedical.com owner has relied on the United States Postal Service to ship diabetes accessories from her Midlothian warehouse and across the world.
“If we could stay with USPS we definitely would be doing that, but we don’t feel confident doing that moving into the holiday,” Jäger explained. “From our holiday season last year, we saw at least about 40 percent of our packages with extreme delays. That’s why this year we are making that big change over to UPS.”
She experienced a change in service when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, but the issues have persisted.
Jäger estimated her shipping costs will double when she makes the move from the government-operated USPS to the privately-owned shipping company.
However, she’s confident her packages will arrive on time.
The CBS 6 Problem Solvers have reported on mail delivery delays and missing packages for more than a year.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) described the current USPS situation as a “disaster” during a call with journalists on Wednesday.
“When Postmaster [Louis] Dejoy took over, post office complaints - and there are always some complaints about the post office - but the number of complains started to skyrocket virtually as soon as he took over,” Kaine said.
Kaine spoke about how the mail service delays have personally impacted him.
“I sent my bar dues in 12 days before they were due in July, but it took 19 days for the letter to go from Richmond to Alexandria,” he said.
The Democrat co-sponsored the Postal Service Reform Act, a bipartisan bill that would force the postal service to strengthen transparency for both customers and Congress and require the agency to maintain its “standard of delivering for at least six days a week.”
The bill, if passed and signed into law by President Joe Biden, would also eliminate what Kaine described as “aggressive prefunding” requirements that would create nearly $46 billion in savings for the agency over the next 10 years.
The Virginia senator doesn’t blame the local employees for the issues, but rather their leadership.
“What we need to do is reform the Board [of Governors] and President Biden is replacing board members to get a more responsive board in place. Once we have a reformed board, we’ll get a better postmaster and hold them accountable,” he said.
Jäger said the USPS issues have cost her company thousands of dollars each month.
“The costs that we are having to raise prices isn’t dramatic,” she said. “But we need to cover our extra costs by 50 cents here or a dollar there to help our margins.”
The CBS 6 Problem Solvers reached out to USPS for comment and received the following response:
The Postal Service is prepared to deliver for the upcoming holiday season. As part of our recently implemented “Delivering For America” plan, the Postal Service is investing $40 billion over 10 years in infrastructure and our employees.
The infrastructure investment includes modernizing and streamlining our retail and delivery networks, especially for parcel delivery. The Postal Service has recently opened or will open Parcel Sorting Annexes (PSAs) nationwide before the holiday season, including a PSA in Richmond, to handle the expected increases in holiday package volume.
As part of the Delivering For America plan, the Postal Service is also committed to stabilizing and strengthening our workforce. From January 2021 through January 2022 we expect to hire approximately 100,000 employees nationwide. This number covers normal attrition and our peak holiday season. We have been hiring more than 40,000 employees for peak season, which includes positions in Richmond and the surrounding area. We encourage people who are interested in a career, part-time or seasonal position with the Postal Service to check usps.com/careers regularly as job listings are updated frequently.
This year has been very challenging, not only for the Postal Service, but for the entire country. The Postal Service has contended with huge increases in package volume coupled with equally dramatic declines in letter mail. The nation's logistics supply chain has been upended by surging demand combined with disruptions—some extremely serious—to the surface and air transport industries.
Additionally, this has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, staffing was impacted at Postal facilities around the country, including Richmond. We thank our customers for their understanding and continued support.
The full “Delivering for America” 10-Year Plan is available online at usps.com/deliveringforamerica.
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