Detroit, MI

Metro Detroit Mad About Mail Delays

Matthew Donnellon

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To be a mailman, one must brave the cold, the rain, and neighborhood dogs. But now they must contend with something else, disgruntled customers.

The mail around Southeastern Michigan hasn’t just been slow. It’s been positively glacial.

At first, there were reasons put forth for the delays. The pandemic caused an uptick in mail traffic. That was understandable.

Then it was the election.

All those ballots had to be brought by somebody.

Finally, the yuletide season forced delays on everyone.

But now we’re nearing May and the mail is still coming slower then when it was carried by the Pony Express.

I have spoken to many local residents who were understanding at first, but now they are mad that they aren’t getting mail. Important things aren’t coming in time. One local resident got a notice from the City that was weeks late, and required and answer week after she received it.

Bank information.

Court documents.

Important mail isn’t getting to citizens.

Heather Catallo of Channel 7 did a deep dive on the issue. She reported that Covid -19 was the culprit, “USPS staff have also been hit hard by the pandemic. And now there’s a new wrinkle. The latest COVID relief bill granted more paid leave to federal employees who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, or who have child care issues due to remote learning.

“Now that people are beginning to use that again, it’s causing more delays,” said Keith Combs, American Postal Workers Union Detroit District No. 295 President.”

It is a two fold problem. Many of the postal workers have been sidelined due to quarantine or because they have to stay home to take care of children. These workers have not been replaced which have caused the delays to mount.

In Catallo’s piece, the post office told residents to get a P.O. box to make sure they’d get their mail. Resident’s were not happy as it would cost an additional 68 dollars just to get their mail.

Area residents’ finances are now being affected by this. One woman relayed in the report that because the bills came late her credit is now lower. And, many people do not have access to a computer so they rely on mail to conduct all of their business.

I have also spoken with elder residents who are worried their medication won’t be on time, and they rely on mail delivery to keep from having to go in person during the pandemic.

A report on the issue is coming soon. Hopefully Detroiters will get some answers.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI
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