On Jan. 26, U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash) issued a letter to the U.S Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, strongly urging him to “reconsider” the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to move mail operations out of the Seattle East DDC in Redmond.
On Jan. 5, DelBene toured the East DDC facility and met with postal worker union members about their concerns regarding the changing work conditions and service standards. In her letter DelBene emphasized the employees’ concerns regarding the impending mail move, lack of necessary processing equipment, delays in mail delivery, and staffing shortages.
DelBene said USPS has been planning the East DDC move and others for nearly a decade, yet in that time the region served by the facility has experienced rapid growth, with communities like Kirkland increasing its population by 90 percent. The congresswoman wrote that in the same time period equipment that is “critical to the timely processing of mail” has been significantly reduced at the Seattle East DDC.
In her meeting with postal workers union members, one employee at the East DDC said delivery bar code sorter machines had been reduced from 16 at the facility to now only seven.
“This shortage of processing equipment is straining operations, with the vast majority of machines servicing an unprecedented 3 zones and requiring multiple shifts to run the machines.” DelBene wrote. “I urge you to immediately restore the DBCS machines necessary for the safe and timely processing of mail.”
On October 1, 2021, DelBen wrote to DeJoy expressing concern over the plans to proceed with mail moves at 18 facilities across the country, including the Seattle East DDC, and asked for additional information regarding the rationale of these moves before USPS proceeded with implementing any changes.
“Your response to my letter was unsatisfactory in providing a business case justification for why these changes should move forward, and following my tour of the facility, I am more convinced that this operational mail move should not proceed.” DelBene wrote regarding the response to her October 2021 letter.
The operational mail move was originally slated for Feb. 26, 2022, as understood by employees at the East DDC, but DelBene’s letter seems to suggest that that date has been scrapped and that plans for the move may be up in the air.
“I request that you immediately suspend your plans to move mail processing operations from this facility, and instead invest in the infrastructure needed to ensure this facility can support the growing region.” DelBene wrote to Postmaster DeJoy.