Postal service

Position: Only temporary workers have been made redundant

In a letter to DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a spokeswoman denied the Postal Service had laid off any permanent employees since the vacation ended.

The US Postal Service responded to a recent letter from DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton on recent cuts to her workforce, saying only holiday workers have been released.

In this letter sent on January 12Norton expressed concern that “permanent USPS employees have recently been laid off, in addition to traditional post-holiday seasonal worker layoffs.”

But in his Friday response to Norton – which she shared publicly on Tuesday – a Postal Service spokesman denied laying off any permanent employees since the vacation ended.

“It is important to clarify that the Postal Service has not collectively separated or ‘terminated’ any career employees or employees in carrier positions in Washington,” James Cari wrote.

Instead, it released 198 clerks and 85 mail processing assistants, who were classified as “non-career” employees who work up to 360 days. They were fired, the Postal Service said, pursuant to an agreement with the American Postal Workers Union and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.

These positions, Cari wrote, “are discretionary and subject to business needs.”

Seven vacation office assistants were also fired on Dec. 31, Cari wrote, in accordance with the union contract.

Norton is one of many local leaders who have heard complaints from residents about late delivery times in recent months. She conveyed those concerns to the Postal Service in the fall, and the Postal Service blamed “increased employee absences and reduced employee availability” for the delays.

In that earlier letter, the Postal Service also detailed steps to improve service, such as loaning employees to post offices who need help and allowing high overtime hours. Friday’s letter also referred to those same measures to speed up service and said the Postal Service would “expand mail delivery earlier in the morning, later in the evening and on Sundays.”

In a statement made with the release of the Postal Service’s response, Norton said it would “look at the results” of those measures.

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