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Larsen, DelBene Call for Answers Around Persistent Postal Delays, Workforce Shortages in Northwest Washington

WHATCOM COUNTY, WA – Representatives Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) are calling for answers about persistent mail delays reported to both offices in Northwest Washington, including in Whatcom County during the December holiday period. In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Larsen and DelBene called for the United States Postal Service (USPS) to expeditiously address delays and mail failures. The lawmakers had previously written to DeJoy in July about widespread mail delays in the region.

“Following our July letter, we continued to receive regular reports of delayed mail across the region. Starting in mid-December, we increasingly heard a number of  constituent complaints of significant daily mail delivery delays and complete lack of service in parts of Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden and other areas of Whatcom County. While brief delays due to weather and the busy holiday period are understandable, many constituents reported no mail delivery for over a week,” said Larsen and DelBene.

Larsen and DelBene also emphasized their concerns about hiring challenges USPS is experiencing statewide.

“In our July letter, we requested updates on USPS’s efforts to increase staffing amid severe workforce shortages. Though we appreciate the steps you outlined to us and subsequent actions USPS has taken to increase hiring in Northwest Washington, including local hiring days and a statewide hiring fair in December, these efforts are clearly insufficient as delays in mail delivery continue,” the lawmakers continued.

The lawmakers asked DeJoy to promptly address the following concerns:

  • Can you provide a detailed list of all steps USPS is taking to ensure timely mail delivery during periods of high mail volume, including the December holiday period?
  • What is the specific USPS policy under which USPS employees are required to prioritize package delivery over letters, flats, and other classes of mail?
  • What steps is USPS taking to improve communication with constituents impacted by mail delivery delays?
  • What steps is USPS taking to address its workforce shortage, both in terms of hiring new employees and improving retention of current employees?
  • What training and resources are provided to new employees, and how are supervisors trained to help new employees?
  • How is USPS training supervisors to manage busy mail periods and support employees?
  • What additional resources can Congress provide to help USPS address these issues?

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