• The NAACP suit is the latest in a series accusing DeJoy of failing to follow federal law
  • Reports of mail delivery delays began surfacing last month when DeJoy instituted operational changes
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree said farmers across Maine who have been ordering chicks by mail for years have received 4,800 dead birds, which must be delivered within 72 hours


The head of the NAACP on Thursday accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of lying when he said the operational changes ordered at the U.S. Postal Service would make the agency more efficient while the American Postal Workers Union filed a grievance to prevent the agency from dismantling 671 sorting machines that handle 21.4 million pieces of mail an hour.

In an interview with the Hill, Derrick Johnson said DeJoy’s comments went beyond being disingenuous.

"When you take sorting machines out of the Post Office, that were expressly put in to be rapid sorters to ensure mail is timely, and the rationale is making it quicker, that is lying,” Johnson said after the civil rights group filed its lawsuit, the latest in a series that accuse DeJoy of failing to follow federal law in making the changes that rendered mail delivery “unreliable.”

"It is not only seeking to undermine elections and subvert democracy, it is putting people's lives at risk," Johnson said.

DeJoy said earlier this week he would suspend further actions until after the November election, which is expected to produce a deluge of mail-in ballots, perhaps as many as 80 million.

Johnson said DeJoy’s latest decision fails to address “the harm already created.”

Postal officials have warned state elections officials they could not guarantee timely delivery of completed ballots.

The officials said the decision to remove 10% of the agency’s sorting machines was part of a long-range modernization effort, reflecting the decline in first class mail and the increase in package delivery. Though the postal service decommissions machines every year, regulatory filings indicate this year’s plans outstrip the previous pace.

The postal workers union filed a grievance over DeJoy’s operational changes, which included cutting overtime and eliminating extra deliveries. Carriers also are restricted to sorting mail after they’ve completed their rounds and prohibited from doing any sorting in the morning.

Reports of delivery problems began surfacing last month, with people complaining about delayed delivery of needed medications. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, told the Portland (Maine) Press Herald 4,800 dead chicks have been delivered to farms across Maine in recent weeks.

“Mortality losses from delays and mishandling are not only hugely problematic from an animal welfare perspective, but have also taken an emotional toll on the recipients, many of whom are families building a backyard flock or children raising birds for 4-H or Future Farmers of America projects,” Pingree wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

The chicks need to be transported within 72 hours to survive, the Poultry Extension Collaborative notes.