Amazon: A Burr under a Presidential Saddle?

August 14, 2020

This may just be an example of how a national scheme plays out on the local level. The Portland Press Herald reports, “Amazon Gets Priority While Mail Gets Delayed, Say Letter Carriers.” Mark Seitz, a Portland postal service veteran and president of the Maine State Association of Letter Carriers and the National Association of Letter Carriers Local 92, filed a complaint on July 13 with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. Corroborated by two colleagues, Seitz alleges Portland’s Postmaster James Thornton deliberately delayed first-, second-, and third-class mail by ordering Amazon’s fourth-class packages be sorted first. Willfully delaying mail, it turns out, is a federal offense. Interesting.

Reporter Reuben Schafir informs us:

“Seitz’s complaint says that Thornton had done so on June 29, July 6 and July 13, all Mondays when the volume of mail is especially challenging. Two other carriers say it happens even more frequently. … According to three letter carriers working out of the Portland office, enough mail to fill four to five ‘shark cages’ – 4-by-5-foot bins containing mail – have been left in each of the office’s five units overnight multiple days per week. Carriers estimated that 1,500 to 2,000 first-class and priority packages were delivered late each time this happened. Typically, letter carriers sort a small amount of mail in the morning before they begin their routes. If mail isn’t sorted by the time carriers leave, they return midday to collect it or an assistant carrier would step in and ensure that all the mail is delivered on time. Now, according to letter carriers inside the Portland post office, clerks are told to stop sorting by 8:30 a.m., an hour and a half before most carriers leave for their routes, and are then sent home to cut costs, leaving first-class parcels unsorted in the office overnight.”

See the article for more details. Could this be part of a national effort to slow down the mail for political gain? Some believe so. The agency is already struggling with staff shortages accompanied by delayed route reviews, meaning fewer workers are expected to deliver more and more mail. Another factor is Amazon’s 2013 lopsided contract with the USPS. Through rain, sleet, and bureaucracy, the Amazon packages get through. Will Thornton be held accountable? Will anyone? Will the burr be barred?

Cynthia Murrell, August 14, 2020


One Response to “Amazon: A Burr under a Presidential Saddle?”

  1. Kathy Rompola on August 19th, 2020 4:39 pm

    Amazon could be exactly the reason why there has been an extremely sharp increase in mail theft by carriers. The theft is unprecedented and includes mail that is being opened before arrival,both coming and going, empty of cash money, gift cards and checks that are proving to have been fraudulently modified upon bank inspection. Homeowners are being left with “package delivered” notifications and no package! or the package has been opened and emptied of it’s contents and left at the door. Just go into the NEXTDOOR App in any neighborhood and ask the question, “Is your Postal Carrier stealing from you?” It will blow your mind how bad it is. AMAZON packages are enticing theft. There I said it.

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