Washington’s Attorney General ‘considering all of our legal options’ about changes to the postal service

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s attorney general strongly hinted Friday that the state would file a lawsuit over recent, dramatic changes to the U.S. Postal Service.

Records obtained by the Associated Press and other agencies show changes to the USPS in recent weeks that include closing some offices, removing collection boxes and upcoming plans to reduces hours and close on Saturdays.

President Trump told Fox News Thursday that he doesn’t support additional funding for the postal service that was laid out in a stimulus plan; he said that if that money doesn’t come through, the postal service couldn’t handle the demand for voting by mail in the November election.

Our Spokane sister station 4 News Now heard from the Washington State American Postal Workers Union about changes happening in Washington. The president of the organization said he knew of no blue collection boxes being removed, but said collection times are being changed, some processing centers are being closed and moved to Spokane and that small-town post offices could be closed during lunch hours and other crucial times of the day.

The WAPWU said it is working with Governor Inslee’s office and Attorney General Bob Ferguson to see what can be done.

4 News Now asked Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office if the state was planning a lawsuit over this.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Ferguson said, “I am deeply concerned about changes at the Postal Service and their impacts on our elections and other mail services. I’ve been talking to other attorneys general, and we are considering all of our legal options. We have a strong record of stopping illegal actions by President Trump and his administration.”

WAPUW President Ryan Harris sent an email to 4 News Now Friday, detailing concerns over the changes. He said a letter was sent to union leaders in Wenatchee, Yakima and Tacoma stating that “all outgoing origination letters and flats would no longer be canceled and processed at these facilities. They would instead be loaded onto a truck and sent to either Spokane or Seattle.”

Despite the letter saying there would be no impact to jobs, Harris is concerned that people would lose their jobs in those facilities, including disabled veterans who work on the machines there.

“Packages alone in Wenatchee is six full-time jobs,” Harris said, “All those employees would have no work to do on Monday.”

Harris said no notices have been given to the general public about the changes, which he says would result in delays.

Lawmakers expressed concerns Friday that slow delivery is taking a toll on military veterans who are waiting longer than usual to receive mail-order prescription drugs.

Harris also said there is talk among managers in Seattle of closing many Post Offices for lunch.

“With the up rise in online shopping and package delivery, many working customers are not home during the day to have their packages delivered to them,” Harris said. “Those packages are taken back to the Post office with a notice left for the customer to come to the Post office to pick up their packages. These working Americans try to come in on their lunch breaks to pick up packages. Many times this is medications.”