Last week, the Seattle Metro Chamber submitted a legal declaration supporting Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit opposing recent cuts to the United States Postal Service. These cuts impact many of our small business members that rely on the Postal Service to fulfill customer orders. Last year, a study done by the USPS Office of the Inspector General found that 70 percent of microbusinesses surveyed said they had used the Postal Service in the prior six months, and a majority said they use USPS more frequently than other carriers.
Small businesses in Puget Sound are already struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting closures. Changes to the Postal Service, causing delays and unpredictable delivery times, strain small businesses at a time when efficient and reliable service is more critical than ever.
The recent analysis the Chamber commissioned from Community Attributes about the economic impacts of COVID-19 found that our region has already experienced a loss of $900M in taxable retail sales as the result of the pandemic. The uncertainty in storefront retail led some Chamber members to shift more toward online inventory, meaning businesses are more heavily relying on delivery orders than ever before.
Attorney General Ferguson filed the lawsuit on behalf of Washington and other states opposing recent cuts including the elimination of staff overtime and decommissioning mail sorting equipment. Recent cuts to USPS have resulted in the shut down or dismantling of 40% of local high-speed letter sorting machines. While Postmaster General Louis DeJoy promised last week to halt any additional service cuts until after the November election, he has not agreed to restore service that was already eliminated or reduced in recent weeks. In fact, the Postal Service’s director of maintenance operations issued guidance that postal workers should NOT reconnect or reinstall disconnected letter sorting machines.