19 Investigates worsening mail delivery delays affecting Northeast Ohioans
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Mad about missing mail?
It’s a widespread feeling in Northeast Ohio that residents tell us only seems to be getting worse.
After taking calls from viewers all week, 19 Investigates went to find out what the hold up is and what you can do if you’re having trouble.
It’s been almost a month since Lori Stumph’s seen mail dropped into her box.
“Our credit is getting hit because we aren’t getting our bills,” she said.
She said she still hasn’t gotten a package she ordered at Christmas.
Her husband’s waiting on a new debit card.
And, she was late on paying property taxes because they didn’t get the bill until after it was due.
“We got notifications from the bank that our debit card has been mailed, [the post office doesn’t] have it,” she said.
For some reason, she said the worker at the counter suggested she just put her mail on hold for a while.
“I didn’t understand why, because I’m not getting my mail to begin with,” she said. “A month ago they told me that five workers were out with broken fingers and COVID.”
Stumph’s Bedford Post office is covered in signs asking people to apply for a job.
Several other viewers across Northeast Ohio told 19 Investigates they haven’t gotten mail all week.
When we reached out for residents on Melgrave Avenue in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, USPS told us, “Local management is aware of delivery issues” and said the mail would be delivered there Thursday. However, it still hadn’t come as of Friday afternoon, according to those residents.
We asked USPS how many postal carriers it’s down, and a spokesperson told us she couldn’t give us that information.
She blamed recent bad weather like this for delays though, in addition to staffing shortages for delays.
In a statement, the spokesperson said in part:
“Our workforce, like others, is not immune to the human impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We will continue flexing our available resources to match the workload and we are proud of the efforts of postal employees as they define essential public service every day.
Weather is also an added challenge. Delivery service may be delayed or curtailed whenever streets or walkways present hazardous conditions for letter carriers or when snow is plowed against mailboxes. The Postal Service curtails delivery only after careful consideration, and only as a last resort. Any curtailed mail is attempted the next delivery day.
Customers can also help us rebound from this winter storm. Customers receiving door delivery should make sure their sidewalks, steps and porches are clear. Customers receiving curbside delivery should remove snow piles left by snowplows to keep access to their mailboxes clear for letter carriers.
When mail service issues occur, we take steps to quickly resolve customer concerns. We gladly work to address any specific issue from the community when brought to our attention and we encourage customers to reach out to their local postal station. Customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on “Contact us” at the bottom of our homepage, or utilize this direct web address: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/. Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service. In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp. The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customer’s concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities.”
19 Investigates tweeted at the USPS Help account for Stumph on Thursday night.
As of Friday afternoon, no one had responded.
“We shouldn’t have to contact every single person who sends us mail and tell them to send it FedEx or UPS,” Stumph said. “I mean is that the only way we can get our mail?”
The post office says the Cleveland branch is holding job fairs, trying to recruit workers until mid-March.
According to a release from Representative Shontel M. Brown (OH-11), Brown supported passage in the House of Representatives of the Postal Service Reform Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen the financial viability of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and improve the reliability of its service.
In 2020, the Postal Service incurred its fourteenth consecutive net annual loss, and experts predict that the USPS will run out of cash as soon as 2024.
This is due in no small part to the undue burdens placed on the USPS, including the requirement that it pre-fund 75 years of retiree benefits in advance and pre-fund the health care costs of its employees, regardless of whether they serve until retirement.
The USPS’s deteriorating financial condition threatens to lead to further reductions in services and prolong the mail delays that already impact Northeast Ohioans.
“Post offices are critical to our communities and to our country. Every day, Americans rely on the Postal Service to conduct business, get prescription medications, pay their bills, and receive their paychecks and social security checks,” said Rep. Brown. “Yet the Postal Service’s financial condition has been worsening over the last decade, leading to reduced services and unacceptable mail delays. The Postal Service Reform Act makes desperately needed improvements to the Postal Service so that it provides people with the service they expect and deserve. These reforms will support the future of the Postal Service, while ensuring Ohioans receive their mail and deliveries on time.”
Among its many provisions, the Postal Service Reform Act would:
- Ensure all future Postal Service retirees have access to quality health care through Medicare;
- Eliminate the requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits for all current and retired employees for 75 years in the future;
- Require the Postal Service to develop a public-facing, online dashboard with national and local level service performance data updated each week; and
- Require the Postal Service to deliver both mail and packages at least six days per week.
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