California Seeks Immediate Reversal of U.S. Postal Service Changes

When Republican Party donor Louis DeJoy was approved as U.S. Postmaster General on May 6, critics said it was part of a strategic move to gut the government service in a blatant attack on free elections at a time when most voters will opt to mail in their ballots because of COVID-19.

DeJoy almost immediately began to slow down mail service by removing mail sorting machines and mail collection boxes, eliminating overtime, shaking up personnel and various other policy changes that made it almost impossible for postal workers to do their jobs. 

The results of these changes resulted in weeks-long delays on delivering prescriptions by mail, benefits checks, paychecks, online purchases, payments to small businesses, social security checks, licenses, hearing notices, Census forms, applications and the list goes on. 

In August, Malibu’s La Costa Post Office announced it would be limiting hours beginning Sept. 14. Previously, the office was open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 5 p.m. Beginning next week, the flyer indicated, the post office would be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. Concerned citizens joined local celebrity Cher at a rally in front of the Point Dume post office on Aug. 22 to support postal workers.

Despite a public outcry, DeJoy refused to restore decommissioned mail-sorting machines and blue collection boxes, or reverse any other changes.

A coalition of 21 states including California sued the post office on Aug. 18.

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On Sept. 3, instead of waiting for the lawsuit to be resolved, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York in filing a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking an immediate halt to alleged illegal changes the U.S. Postal Service put in place.

The preliminary injunction filing says the changes were illegal because the Postmaster General is required to get approval for such changes from the Postal Regulatory Commission and failed to do so. Therefore, the attorneys general argued, the changes should be immediately stopped and reversed until further review.

In Pennsylvania, it is possible for the court to issue a preliminary or special injunction without a hearing or notice.

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