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Postal Service tractor-trailer driver recounts ‘slow and steady’ service decline

Trucks told to avoid overtime pay by not waiting at loading docks, veteran driver tells lawmakers

McLaurin testified Tuesday on Postal Service’s “steady decline.” (Photo: U.S. Congress)

A U.S. Postal Service tractor-trailer driver testified before Congress on Tuesday that operational changes over the past year have resulted in a “slow and steady decline and delay” of the nation’s mail.

Brian McLaurin, a 23-year veteran of the struggling agency, told lawmakers that heavy-duty truck drivers working for the Postal Service had been empowered over the years to move the mail on time by waiting for their truck to be fully loaded before heading out from the loading dock — and getting paid overtime to do it.

“If some mail didn’t make it on the truck, that wasn’t a serious problem since we made multiple trips early in the day, and sometimes extra trips to move the mail,” McLaurin said at the U.S. Senate hearing on the agency’s service issues.

“Today, however, we leave mail behind because we make fewer trips, are understaffed, and are required to stick to rigid delivery schedules which require drivers like me to leave with trucks that are not fully loaded. Times have changed where we don’t value the sanctity of the mail — we would never leave mail behind.”

The operational changes cited by McLaurin were initiated last summer by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. They were aimed at cutting costs by requiring semi-trailer trucks moving from mail processing plants to delivery units to run on a fixed schedule.

But DeJoy had disputed allegations that the initiative called for allowing trucks to run less than fully loaded. Keeping trucks on schedule, DeJoy said, is “a fundamental premise of how the whole mail network is put together. If the trucks don’t run on time, the mail carriers can’t leave on time. I see $7 billion in potential savings in getting the system to connect properly.”

DeJoy earlier this year unveiled a 10-year strategy for the post office that includes another cost-cutting measure that would move approximately 9% of first-class mail and 31% of first-class packages from planes to trucks.

“The goal of this change is to increase service reliability and save costs, but these changes can only be made in conjunction with a reduction in service standards,” said U.S. Postal Service Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb in testimony at Tuesday’s hearing. “Postal customers are concerned the Postal Service will neither reap the financial benefits nor enhance service reliability.”

To ensure proper oversight of DeJoy’s strategy, Whitcomb asked Congress to provide the Office of Inspector General of the Post Office an additional $17 million over the $263 million that was included in President Joe Biden’s budget for FY22 submitted last year, before DeJoy had announced the plan.

McLaurin asked that Congress add language to the appropriations bill prohibiting the Postal Service from reducing its service standards, mail delivery times, facility hours and performance metrics below its 2020 levels.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


  1. Mike

    Folks, the USPS, much like the FBI, is a political arm of the democrat party, they are not a package or mail delivery service, just as the FBI is no longer a policing agency. Both are corrupt to the bone and need to be completely eliminated.

    1. RT

      Most ridiculous statement I have ever read. The US Post Office was a federal entity. Nearly 50 years ago it transitioned to the US Postal Service. At that point it was no longer a department or arm of the federal government. Technically it became a private company. It is still heavily overseen by the federal government. As such whichever party has the advantage in congress may have greater influence. If you do not want democrats to have edge vote for a republican. The reverse of that is also true. So stop whinning!

      1. Tony Jones

        All this is true. However, the biggest part, the unnoticed, is the incredible waste. Notwithstanding, this Non-Federal Agency, somehow, retained its, Police and Investigative Powers. That is as illegal as if the grocery Clerk, had arrest power. Back tot he point, what I see here, are a bunch of Postal Service Employees, who could really give a hoot about the customer experience. What they care about, is like most agencies run by Democrats, those employed, love the deep pockets of the tax-Payer. They should never have a “budget” if they are a Private Agency. They, like any private business, needs to stand on its own two feet. If it doesn’t, then it should fail, Most mail is sent via email and packages are sent via UPS, FedEx and other carriers. There really is no need any longer for day to day carrying. We, as a nation, are just used to it. There was, at one time, some kind of efficiency, however, those days are gone. The LTL, pays much less, we know this too. When I was a kid, it was just a few cents to deliver mail. Now, how much is it to deliver 1st Class Mail? It would of course be argued, would UPS or FedEx, deliver granny’s Christmas Card? Not likely, but granny can always send a beautiful email or put her card into the box with Granny’s goodies. The USPS, is the most wasteful agency, even surpassing that of the Welfare Agencies, who provide food and medical to Illegals, who, unless in Federal Prions, should not receive any of that, even private pay. Since when s do we reward felonious behavior? Apparently, if you’re a criminal, all the red carpets are rolled out. no holds barred. Finally, anyone have any idea how many carriers are arrested each year for issues of Sexual Assaults and dumping mail, drug distribution? You would be shocked.

    2. RT

      And another thing! USPS is the cheapest way to mail/ship. If the USPS is abolished you will not be able to mail anything smaller than a parcel. UPS & FEDEX are not setup to deliver letters by the billion on a daily basis. USPS delivers to EVERY address in the United States EVERY day! For UPS & FEDEX to assume letter delivery would cost so much it would be prohibitive. Some things are best left to government.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.