A U.S. Postal Service worker in San Antonio claimed that supervisors at a mail distribution facility ordered staff to hide several bags of undelivered mail ahead of a visit from Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro.
“This mail has been sitting there for weeks and weeks out,” Carlos Barrios, clerk craft director at the mail processing center, told the San Antonio Express-News.
“So rather than show Castro when he comes in and he sees the cluster there, it’s best to not even have it there. So they moved it and they transported the majority of that to the north dock, where they were put on a trailer so they can be sent to Austin,” he said, adding: “They played [Castro] for a fool.”
In a statement responding to the claim, Castro demanded answers.
“If this conduct is true, it’s outrageous that USPS management would attempt to deceive the people of San Antonio about the condition of postal operations,” he said. “I expect an explanation from USPS leadership and an immediate reversal of these delays: Deliver the people’s mail now.”
The charge comes amid unfounded claims by Democrats that the Trump administration and in particular the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who has been a major GOP donor, is intentionally cutting back on Postal Service capabilities and personnel to thwart mail-in ballots.
In fact, DeJoy, a former logistics company executive, has made a number of cutbacks in recent months including getting rid of overtime because the Postal Service is badly in debt and is hemorrhaging money.
But, as the paper noted further, DeJoy said on Tuesday that he has suspended additional cutbacks until after the November election.
Castro was at the processing center to investigate claims that mail delivery had slowed in recent weeks amid instructions from DeJoy to remove mail processing machines. Union leaders told the Texas Democrat that two more machines — for a total of six — had been removed than they previously knew about.
“They were told by Washington to remove those six machines,” Castro said, citing information given to him by Dennis Stasa, senior plant manager for the Postal Service’s Rio Grande District.
“[He] said they have been able to carry out their work. But as I told him, even my own mom had an issue getting medicine on time that she’s usually able to get in a few days. And others have shared similar stories,” Castro added.
Asked about activity at the processing hub, Castro said his visit did not come at a busy time of the day and that things “looked orderly.”
In May, the USPS proposed removing 15 percent of mail processing machines — a move the mail carrier called “necessary” — only to field allegations from Democrats and Left-wing critics that it was being done to thwart mail-in balloting, which President Donald Trump has regularly criticized.
“The Postal Service routinely moves equipment around its network as necessary to match changing mail and package volumes,” USPS spokesperson Marti Johnson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Package volume is up, but mail volume continues to decline.”
The postal service’s board of governors selected DeJoy to be postmaster general in May.
In a memo obtained by The Daily Caller, changes called for by DeJoy included cutting back on overtime and ending a practice by postal workers to return to distribution centers during their shifts to pick up more mail to deliver.
“One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that – temporarily – we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks,” the memo said.
But President Trump has nothing to do with these changes nor is he directing them, as former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) explained in a Fox News column earlier this week.
“Swirling and sudden concerns about the United States Postal Service (USPS) have arisen from Democrats who are wildly accusing President Trump of cheating and manipulating the Postal Service in his favor,” he wrote.
“Conveniently they forget to mention the president is more than an arms-length away from how we vote, and the Postal Service is not under the thumb of his control. Senate Democrats joined Republicans to unanimously install postal leadership — of which, one is an Obama appointee,” Chaffetz added.
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