Editorial Roundup: South Dakota

Yankton Press & Dakotan. May 6, 2024.

Editorial: USPS Decision Seemed Inevitable

Ultimately and unfortunately, the United States Postal Service (USPS) did what it was always going to do when it was announced last week that they were going ahead with their plan to shift some of the duties of the Sioux Falls Processing & Distribution Center (P&DC) to Omaha, Nebraska.

This move, coupled with a recent decision to shift the Huron P&DC duties to Fargo, North Dakota, leaves South Dakota without such a facility, and there are very serious concerns this will further slow postal deliveries in this region.

The potential problems with this decision have been chronicled by this newspaper and other media, and they have been aired in other places that are being impacted by the so-called Delivering for America (DFA) plan. This proposal carries the stated aim of improving “organizational and operational processes and actively make the Postal Service an efficient, high-performing, world-class logistics and delivery provider.”

No one should buy that disingenuous hype.

The genuine motive was on display in the carefully worded press release sent out by the USPS to announce its decision. At front and center, it trumpeted a $12.75 million investment in the Sioux Falls facility, which was originally announced as part of the reorganizational process. (Many people and some media organizations took this to mean that the USPS had changed course in their plans.) But very deep in the release, it was announced that the distribution facility was being moved to Omaha anyway.

In the run-up to this decision, there was a poorly advertised public meeting several weeks ago in Sioux Falls, during which resistance to the plan was aired. But to no effect.

At the time of that meeting, the word we were getting from some sources was that the USPS decision was already a done deal and the public meeting seeking input was likely little more than window dressing.

The decision leaves a lot of people in this region unhappy.

“It’s going to delay the mail,” Todd West, president of the South Dakota Postal Workers Union, told the Press & Dakotan. “We sell service. What they’re doing is deteriorating the service.”

He placed much of the blame on controversial Postmaster Louis DeJoy, who West accused of trying to convert the constitutionally mandated postal service into a private operation.

The dissatisfaction in this region reflects growing displeasure, even anger, being expressed across the country.

DeJoy has been under fire since before he was confirmed during the pandemic. There have been numerous calls for him to resign. The Fortune Magazine news site wrote an article about the current situation with the blunt headline, “The Trump donor whom Biden can’t fire is running the U.S. Postal Service directly into the ground.”

Locally, West said the only thing residents can really do now is contact their Washington delegation members to voice their concerns. While the delegation has recently addressed the matter, there didn’t seem to be a lot of urgency in their statements, which was odd considering it’s going to have an impact on a broad cross section of their constituency, from pharmacies and people who get their medications mailed to them, to newspapers that use the USPS for deliveries, to businesses in general who will see their billing become even trickier

Our lawmakers need to do more to drive the point home.

There is a growing chorus of anger across the country about this postal transformation. The pressure must continue. Otherwise, we are all going to suffer the consequences.