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Central Ohio Facing Only Slight Mail Delays, Postal Service Union Says

Mail delivery vehicles are parked outside a post office in Boys Town, Neb., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Nati Harnik
Associated Press
Mail delivery vehicles are parked outside a post office in Boys Town, Neb., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.

The Postmaster General said Tuesday he’s suspending U.S. Postal Service reforms until after November, after President Trump said he opposed emergency funding for the agency because he doesn’t want to enable mail-in voting.

Trump's comments caused an uproar and renewed attention to Postal Service funding cuts, and related delays in service that could impact the election. But one local union says Central Ohio is doing all right.

“In the Columbus area, you're not really seeing the major delays that you are hearing being reported throughout the country," says Mark Camilli, who represents Ohio in the National Association of Letter Carriers. "We're not seeing multiple days of delays, there have been reports of a day or two."

Camilli's comments stand in contrast to reporting from the Washington Postwhich found that Columbus is one of the areas hardest-hit by the cutbacks— with a decrease in sorting capacity of 327,000 pieces of mail per hour.

"The Postal Service is really set up to handle a tremendous amount of mail volume," Camilli says.

He points out that in 2019, the average hovered around 470 million pieces of mail per day. Now, because of the pandemic, that number sits between 250-400 million. While those numbers may make it seem like the Postal Service has capacity to spare, Camilli says that decrease actually means the agency needs more support from Congress.

“The Postal Service has lost obviously a lot of revenue from losing first-class mail volume, letter mail volume during the pandemic,” he says. “We did get an uptick in parcels, but it just doesn’t make up for the lost revenue in letter, it’s the most profitable portion of the postal service.”

Camilli says aging infrastructure and aging vehicles make additional funding crucial. Even so, he’s confident that the Postal Service will be able to handle November’s election.

“The Postal Service really has a considerable excess capacity to handle a surge in mail volume, so we’re ready, we’re going to be able to handle this election," he says.