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Congressional staffers to go to put up workplace the place Amazon packages brought on mail delays

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Mail carriers in a rural Minnesota put up workplace overwhelmed by Amazon packages say they’ve been warned to not use the phrase “Amazon,” together with when clients ask why the mail is delayed.

“We’re not to say the phrase ‘Amazon’ to anybody,” mentioned a mail provider who spoke on the situation of anonymity to guard their job.

“If requested, they’re to be known as ‘Supply Companions’ or ‘Distributors,’” mentioned a second provider. “It’s ridiculous.”

The directive, handed down Monday morning from U.S. Postal Service administration, comes three weeks after mail carriers within the northern Minnesota city staged a symbolic strike exterior the put up workplace, protesting the heavy workloads and lengthy hours brought on by the sudden arrival of hundreds of Amazon packages.

On Tuesday, staffers from the places of work of Democratic Minnesota senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar are internet hosting a “listening session” with Bemidji residents to “talk about ongoing postal points associated to package deal and mail supply,” in accordance with an invite distributed by Bemidji Mayor Jorge Prince.

Along with being banned from saying “Amazon,” postal staff have additionally been advised their jobs may very well be in danger in the event that they converse publicly about put up workplace points. Staffers had been advised they will attend the assembly solely on their 30-minute lunch break if they modify out of uniform, mail carriers mentioned.

Postal clients in Bemidji have been complaining about late and lacking mail for the reason that starting of November, when the contract for delivering Amazon packages on the town switched from UPS to the put up workplace. Mail carriers advised The Washington Publish final month that they had been instructed to ship packages earlier than the mail, leaving residents ready for tax rebates, bank card statements, medical paperwork and checks.

Lots of these residents complained to elected officers, together with Smith, who wrote a letter to the postmaster common inquiring about studies that “Amazon is interfering with well timed deliveries and stretching the company’s already-overburdened staff too skinny.”

In the meantime, Bemidji Metropolis Council members agreed at a Monday assembly to draft “a decision in assist of well timed mail service for our neighborhood,” Prince mentioned.

As the vacation buying season will get underway, the packages in Bemidji proceed to pile up — at one level they had been stacked so excessive somebody known as the fireplace marshal. Mail carriers say they’ve been mandated to work on Sundays, delivering mail seven days per week on lonely rural routes that may now take as much as 12 hours to finish. Many postal staff subsequently received’t have time to attend Tuesday’s 3 p.m. assembly in Bemidji — and one mail provider mentioned he’d been warned there may very well be “penalties” for individuals who confirmed up.

“Folks want to know how simply how dangerous it’s gotten,” mentioned Eric Cerroni, whose spouse is a mail provider in Bemidji.

Mail carriers requested Cerroni to current written testimony on behalf of postal staff on the Tuesday assembly as a result of they’re “too busy with work and doubtless fearful of repercussions.”

Kyle Sorbe, a spokesperson for Sen. Smith’s workplace, mentioned in an e mail that “if these studies are true, they’re extraordinarily regarding and Senator Smith will probably be searching for a clarification from the Postal Service.”

Publish workplace spokesperson David Partenheimer mentioned the assembly “isn’t a USPS-sponsored occasion and we don’t plan to attend,” as employees members “are centered on our peak-season operations now.”

“Relating to questions on Amazon or different firms we work with,” he continued, “the Postal Service doesn’t talk about specifics of our working relationships.”

The put up workplace has held a contract to ship Amazon packages on Sundays since 2013. The company, which has misplaced $6.5 billion previously yr, has mentioned growing package deal quantity by reducing offers with Amazon and different retailers is an important a part of the Delivering for America plan introduced by Postmaster Common Louis DeJoy in 2021.

Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

(Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Publish. Interim CEO Patty Stonesifer sits on Amazon’s board.)

correction

A earlier model of this text misidentified Kyle Sorbe, a spokesperson for Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), as Kyle Smith. The article has been corrected.

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