Longtime postal worker recounts dismantling mail sorting machines at Maine’s largest processing facility

OUT EVERY DAY IN A TIMELY MANNER, BUT RECENT MANAGEMENT DIRECTIVE MAKE THAT HARDER. (VO 1: TWO SHOT) TIM DOUGHTY HAS BEEN WITH THE POSTAL SERVICE 42 YEARS. HE’S A PAST POSTAL WORKER UNION LOCAL PRESIDENT. (SOT 19:15:20) “OUR JOB IS TO DELIVER THE MAIL IN A TIMELY MANNER, AS FAST AS WE CAN. WE LIKE TO SAY IT’S OVERNIGHT OR NOTHING.” (VO 2: SCARBOROUGH FACILITY) HE WORKS AS AN ELECTRONIC TECHNICIAN AT THE SOUTHERN MAINE PROCESSING AND DISTRIBUTION CENTER, IN SCARBOROUGH, WHICH EMPLOYS 400 WORKERS AND PROCESSES 360- THOUSAND LETTERS AND PACKAGES EVERY DAY. UNTIL RECENTLY, THE FACILITY HAD 10 LETTER SORTING MACHINES, BUT IN THE PAST TWO MONTHS, IT GOT RID OF TWO OF THEM, WITH DOUGHTY’S HELP. (SOT 19:18:55) “ONE OF THE MACHINES THAT I TOOK APART, OR I WAS ON THE CREW THAT TOOK IT APART, WE PUT THAT MACHINE IN STORAGE, IT’S IN THE BUILDING, BUT IT’S ALL APART AND IN PIECES. ANOTHER MACHINE, WHICH WAS AN OLDER MACHINE, WE TOOK IT APART AND THREW IT AWAY, BASICALLY, GAVE IT TO THE SCRAP METAL GUY.” (VO 3: FACILITY, TRUCKS, MAILBOXES) DOUGHTY CONSIDERS THE DISMANTLING OF MACHINES THAT CAN SORT 36- THOUSAND LETTERS AN HOUR SHORTSIGHTED, BECAUSE VOLUME WILL PICK UP AS THE ECONOMY DOES, PLUS THE EXPECTED ABSENTEE BALLOT SURGE TOWARD NOVEMBER AND THE USUAL QUADRUPLING OF MAIL IN DECEMBER. (SOT 19:20:23) “I DID ASK, ‘WHY CAN’T WE JUST KEEP THEM, PUT THEM UNDER A TARP, AND LEAVE THEM POWERED OFF?’ AND I COULDN’T GET AN ANSWER TO THAT FROM UPPER MANAGEMENT.” (VO 4: FACILITY) DOUGHTY SAYS IT TAKES TWO CLERKS TO RUN A MACHINE, AND OVERTIME AND WEEKEND SORTING HOURS HAVE BEEN CUT BACK. (SOT 19:27:09) “WE ARE GETTING MESSAGING THAT THEY’RE TRYING TO RUN IT LIKE A BUSINESS, BUT THE POSTAL SERVICE IS A SERVICE, IT’S NOT A BUSINESS. NO BUSINESS IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD CHARGE 55 CENTS TO MAIL A LETTER TO FORT KENT, MAINE. I MEAN IT’S FINANCIALLY NOT FEASIBLE.” (TAG) THE U-S-P-S IS NOT DISPUTING THAT TWO MAIL SORTING MACHINES WERE DISMANTLED IN SCARBOROUGH. BUT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SUGGESTS IT WILL STOP, SAYING THE LEVEL OF MAIL PROCESSING EQUIPMENT NATIONWIDE WILL REMA

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Longtime postal worker recounts dismantling mail sorting machines at Maine’s largest processing facility

Says two sorting machines were removed from Scarborough facility

Tim Doughty has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 42 years, and he’s proud of his role protecting the sanctity of mail.”Our job is to deliver the mail in a timely manner, as fast as we can. We like to say it’s overnight or nothing,” said Doughty, a past president of American Postal Workers Union Local 458 and former processing clerk. “To hear politicians out of Washington slam the Postal Service and degrade what we do, it is insulting.”Doughty works as an electronic technician at the USPS Southern Maine Processing and Distribution Center, in Scarborough, which employs around 400 workers and currently processes 240,000 letters and 120,000 packages daily. “It never closes down, it runs 24/7, there’s people here all the time,” Doughty said.Until recently, the facility had 10 letter sorting machines, but in the past two months, it got rid of two of them, with Doughty’s help.He said, “One of the machines that I took apart, or I was on the crew that took it apart, we put that machine in storage, it’s in the building, but it’s all apart and in pieces. Another machine, which was an older machine, we took it apart and threw it away, basically, gave it to the scrap metal guy.” Doughty considers the dismantling of machines that can sort 36,000 letters an hour shortsighted, because volume will pick up as the economy does, plus there’s the expected absentee ballot surge toward November’s Election Day and the usual quadrupling of mail during the December holidays.”I did ask, ‘Why can’t we just keep them, put them under a tarp, and leave them powered off?’ And I couldn’t get an answer to that from upper management,” Doughty said.The USPS has seen mail volume decline by 20-to-25% during the coronavirus outbreak, according to Art Sackler, manager of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service.In Scarborough, overtime weekend sorting hours have been cut back, according to Doughty.He said, “We are getting messaging that they’re trying to run it like a business, but the postal service is a service, it’s not a business. No business in their right mind would charge 55 cents to mail a letter to Fort Kent, Maine. I mean it’s financially not feasible.”

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Tim Doughty has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 42 years, and he’s proud of his role protecting the sanctity of mail.

“Our job is to deliver the mail in a timely manner, as fast as we can. We like to say it’s overnight or nothing,” said Doughty, a past president of American Postal Workers Union Local 458 and former processing clerk. “To hear politicians out of Washington slam the Postal Service and degrade what we do, it is insulting.”

Doughty works as an electronic technician at the USPS Southern Maine Processing and Distribution Center, in Scarborough, which employs around 400 workers and currently processes 240,000 letters and 120,000 packages daily.

“It never closes down, it runs 24/7, there’s people here all the time,” Doughty said.

Until recently, the facility had 10 letter sorting machines, but in the past two months, it got rid of two of them, with Doughty’s help.

He said, “One of the machines that I took apart, or I was on the crew that took it apart, we put that machine in storage, it’s in the building, but it’s all apart and in pieces. Another machine, which was an older machine, we took it apart and threw it away, basically, gave it to the scrap metal guy.”

Doughty considers the dismantling of machines that can sort 36,000 letters an hour shortsighted, because volume will pick up as the economy does, plus there’s the expected absentee ballot surge toward November’s Election Day and the usual quadrupling of mail during the December holidays.

“I did ask, ‘Why can’t we just keep them, put them under a tarp, and leave them powered off?’ And I couldn’t get an answer to that from upper management,” Doughty said.

The USPS has seen mail volume decline by 20-to-25% during the coronavirus outbreak, according to Art Sackler, manager of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service.

In Scarborough, overtime weekend sorting hours have been cut back, according to Doughty.

He said, “We are getting messaging that they’re trying to run it like a business, but the postal service is a service, it’s not a business. No business in their right mind would charge 55 cents to mail a letter to Fort Kent, Maine. I mean it’s financially not feasible.”