Ayanna Pressley

Questioning of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy - Feb. 24, 2021

Ayanna Pressley
February 24, 2021
House Oversight Committee on Postal Service Finances and Operations
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[Pressley] While some of our colleagues might use this hearing to continue to gaslight and mislead our constituents, I am here to get to the truth. The American people deserve that.

To direct the systemic slowdown of mail delivery during a pandemic, within months of national elections is incomprehensible. At best, these actions represent irresponsible leadership from a notice who has absolutely no business leading a government agency. At worse, they are cruel, unethical, and anti-democratic. And this is certainly no way to repay the 600,000 dedicated and brave employees who risk their lives every day to deliver essential mail. The postal services is one of the largest employers of veterans and has one of the most diverse workforces in our country. 40% of postal workers are people of color, and for generations working for the USPS was one of the only living wage jobs accessible to black and brown Americans. No doubt many of these families have a personal story of how the USPS job made it possible for them to buy their first home or to send their child to college. Now it is well document that many of these same families have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will bear the brunt of any effort to dismantle the USPS. So Mr. DeJoy, in the interest of time, yes or no, at your direction the postal services is currently under a management hiring freezing? Yes or no?

[DeJoy] At management level yes.

[Pressley] For the record, Mr. DeJoy, does the hiring freeze apply to any other category of workers?

[DeJoy] No ma’am.

[Pressley] And you are also seeking to push early retirement, correct?

[DeJoy] We submitted the –

[Pressley] Yes or no.

[DeJoy] Yes. Yes.

[Pressley] Mr. DeJoy, 40 thousand postal workers have had to quarantine. Over 60 thousand have tested positive, and over 60 have died from COVID-19. Do you know if these numbers are the most accurate and up to date?

[DeJoy] 83 have died.

[Pressley] And so to be clear, does this mean, that you are collecting in real time, formal data, on COVID-19 and its impact on your workforce?

[DeJoy] We have a taskforce that has complete visibility of everything from PPE to cases in geographical areas, cases within the postal service –

[Pressley] So you do have a mechanism whereby you are, in real time, formally collecting data as to the impact of COIVD-19 on your workforce?

[DeJoy] Yes we do.

[Pressley] Okay. In the greater Boston region alone, more than 220 postal works have contracted COVID-19. A letter carrier in Chelsey, a city in my district, was hospitalized and told by his doctors that his respiratory system would never be the same. Mr. DeJoy, will you commit to providing this committee with the data that you say you are already formally collecting, disaggregated by congressional district, on COVID-19 related deaths, positive tests, and quarantines of postal workers, by Friday? Since this is quite literally a matter of life and death.

Can you commit to that? To providing this committee with data disaggregated by congressional district, on COVID-19 related deaths, positive tests, and quarantines of postal workers, by Friday?

[DeJoy] I will look into our ability to provide that to the congress, and if it’s available we will certainly do it.

[Pressley] It would certainly in keeping with the oath that you took, and what you’ve offered here, so. I look forward to receiving that by Friday. Now a few days ago, before the Senate, you said the delays in delivery are attributable to quote, unquote “employee available in many, many parts of the country” – so isn’t it true that employing a hiring freeze and early retirement when your workforce is already stretched thin by coronavirus would exacerbate delays in the mail? Yes or no?

[DeJoy] Pursuing a hiring freeze did not have anything to do –

[Pressley] Yes or no, your workforces are –

[DeJoy] No. No. No. No. No. No.

[Pressley] Mr. Duncan were you aware, when you selected – where is Mr. Duncan?

[DeJoy] He’s not here.

[Pressley] Oh, okay. Here you go.


Mr. Duncan –

[Duncan] Ms. Congresswoman.

[Pressley] I was just looking to direct myself - were you aware when you selected Mr. DeJoy that his company, New Breed Logistics, was determined, by the National Labor Relations Board, to have acted with anti-union animus? Yes or no?

[Duncan] No.

[Pressley] Were you aware that the Equal Opportunity Commission won a 1.5 million dollar lawsuit against New Breed, for sexual arrestment and retaliation, yes or no? [Duncan] No.

[Pressley] Where you are that four women working for New Breed suffered miscarriages because the company refused to accommodate their request for light duty, yes or no?

[Duncan] No.

[Pressley] Did you make any attempt to investigate these labor and employment practices before making him the head, of one of the largest and most diverse federal workforces? If not, why not?

[Duncan] Yes, we have various background checks. Russel Reynolds hired a D.C. firm to do an additional background check on him. We worked [inaudible]

[Pressley] I question the integrity of the background check if you don’t have answers to these questions. And Mr. DeJoy, the hardworking people of the United States Postal Service deserve a better leader – in my opinion, the only think you should be delivering is your resignation.

Pressley, A. [NowThis News]. (2020, August 26) Rep. Ayanna Pressley Grills DeJoy Over Attack on Essential Postal Workers | NowThis [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE5Q7fhMXB0]. Retrieved on February 21, 2022 from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn4sPeUomNGIr26bElVdDYg.