WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), alongside 18 of their Senate colleagues, to send a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy urging him to stop any changes to United States Postal Service (USPS) service standards that would result in job losses and further degrade mail delivery performance, especially in rural areas.

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While the Postal Service claims that its “Mail Processing Facility Reviews” will not result in closures or career employee layoffs, “we are concerned these facility reviews will functionally result in both,” wrote the Senators. “In many instances, outgoing mail processing will move hundreds of miles to a regional facility, outside reasonable commuting distance and, in some cases, to another state entirely.”

While the Postal Service says that career postal workers will keep their jobs, non-career workers are not protected. Currently, 59 mail processing facilities—including some in Illinois—are under review or recently had their review completed, resulting in job losses and slower mail services for local residents.

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The Senators noted their concerns about the long distances mail will have to travel and the potential for delayed service in multiple states. In Illinois, mail processing at the Quad Cities facility in Milan will likely transfer to a facility in Des Moines, Iowa, a distance of around 170 miles.

Americans all over the country—particularly in rural areas—depend on reliable and expedient mail service to conduct business, pay their bills, receive medication including lifesaving prescription drugs, get their Social Security checks, and stay in touch with loved ones. For rural communities, the loss of local jobs and even slower mail service represent further setbacks to the revitalization of rural life.

“The Postal Service is at its best when it treats its workers right and delivers mail in a timely fashion,” concluded the Senators. “We therefore urge you to prevent facility changes or outright closures that will result in any job losses and slower mail.”

In addition to Durbin, Duckworth, and Sanders, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jacklyn Rosen (D-NV), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

To read the full letter, click here.

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