With Montanans Experiencing Postal Delays, Tester Urges Biden Administration to Fix USPS Staffing Challenges

Senator: “It is unacceptable that folks are being asked to shoulder the burden of paying for a service that USPS is no longer able to reliably provide in rural communities”

As a part of his continued efforts to ensure Montana’s rural communities have access to reliable and convenient mail service, U.S. Senator Jon Tester this week pressed the Biden Administration to address staffing challenges and fill upcoming openings in United States Postal Service (USPS) leadership with people who have experience with postal matters in rural areas.

In his letter, Tester addressed unacceptable postal delays in communities across the state, stressing the importance of reliable postal service for Montanans to run businesses and support their families.

“I remain concerned that USPS leadership has not yet found a solution to address low pay in areas with high-cost of living. Montanans depend on reliable postal service to pay their bills, receive their medications, and support small businesses,” wrote Tester.

Tester continued by putting a spotlight on the shortcomings of hiring in rural areas, punctuating the burdensome effect on Montanans:“USPS is failing its own retention goals for non-career employees and as a result, Montanan postal workers are being spread thin and working more than 60 hours a week… It is unacceptable that folks are being asked to shoulder the burden of paying for a service that USPS is no longer able to reliably provide in rural communities.”

Senator Tester concluded the letter by emphasizing the importance of swiftly nominating leadership that understands rural America and prioritizes finding solutions to issues that are currently plaguing Montana communities: “We must have an experienced Board of Governors that is prepared to address delivery delays in rural communities. I urge you to swiftly nominate individuals to the Board of Governors that will do just that.”

Tester has been Montana’s leading champion holding the USPS accountable. In June, following months of discussions with Big Sky Post Office stakeholders and USPS, Tester secured a $229,000 per year increase in funding for the Big Sky Post Office to support continued services in the face of the area’s rapid population growth.

Tester was also instrumental in the survival of the Coram Post Office, which faced potential closure earlier this summer.

In April, his Postal Service Reform Act was signed into law, which ensures long-term, reliable mail service and put the USPS on sound financial footing. He has repeatedly pushed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on USPS policy changes that have delayed mail, threatened to undermine the agency, and harmed rural America. In 2020, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the November election. Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of Montanans have contacted Tester to express concerns about mail delays and their effects on Montana communities.

Tester’s full letter to President Biden can be read HERE.