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Employees Question Why USPS Is Removing 7 Mail Sorting Machines From Charlotte Facility

EraserGirl/Wikimedia Commons

At least seven mail sorting machines have been removed or are in the process of being removed from a post office facility near the Charlotte Airport. The Postal Service announced Tuesday it would stop removing mail-sorting machines and other changes made to service.

Employees and union officials at the facility on Scott Futrell Drive didn't know why machines have gone missing.

Miriam Bell leads the Charlotte-area local for the American Postal Workers Union. She heard from a worried employee over the weekend that the removal of machines has been going on for several weeks. Bell said removing machines and not replacing them isn’t normal, and she'd reached out to management to ask why it’s being done.

"If there’s going to be a brand new type of machine coming, they may remove a couple of machines to make room for it on the floor physically," Bell said. "But to have just a wholesale trashing -- for the lack of a better word -- of these machines, it’s unheard of."

Bell said the loss of the machines could affect the hours of approximately 42 employees who could sort mail with them each day. She said it would also slow down how much mail the facility could process. U.S. Rep Alma Adams, who represents much of Charlotte, led a protest uptown Tuesday against changes to the postal service before the November election.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced Tuesday he would sue the federal government over the changes to the U.S. Postal Service. Those changes include limiting staff overtime, removing mailboxes and mail-sorting machines. Stein said the Postal Service alerted his office last week that it could not guarantee ballots would be delivered in time to meet election deadlines. Stein said nearly 270,000 requests have been made for absentee ballots in the November election.

The multistate lawsuit, which will be filed later this week, will say that the Postal Service unlawfully implemented widespread changes to mail service nationwide.

Just prior to Stein's announcement,  Postmaster General Louis DeJoy saidthat he would stop removing mailboxes and sorting machines until after the election. 

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Michael Falero is a radio reporter, currently covering voting and the 2020 election. He previously covered environment and energy for WFAE. Before joining WFAE in 2019, Michael worked as a producer for a number of local news podcasts based in Charlotte and Boston. He's a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop intensive on Cape Cod and UNC Chapel Hill.