VIDEO: Rep. Pressley Questions Postmaster General DeJoy in House Oversight Committee Hearing
WASHINGTON – In a House Oversight Committee hearing today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) questioned Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors Chairman Robert Duncan about the harmful impact the recent policy changes at the USPS have had on the workforce, and about the troubling history of anti-union labor practices of Mr. DeJoy’s former company, New Breed Logistics.
The Congresswoman called on Mr. DeJoy to resign or be removed by the USPS Board of Governors immediately.
Notably, the Congresswoman compelled the Postmaster General to state under oath that he has access to data indicating a higher number of COVID-19-related deaths of letter carriers than has been publicly reported, and secured statements on the record from Chairman Duncan that they did not adequately vet the history of anti-union animus and prior cases of sexual harassment and retaliation at Mr. DeJoy’s former companies.
A full transcript of her questioning and exchange with the witnesses is available below.
Transcript: Rep. Pressley Questions Postmaster General DeJoy in House Oversight Committee Hearing
House Committee on Oversight and Reform
August 24, 2020
REP. PRESSLEY: Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney. While some of our colleagues might use this hearing to continue to gaslight and mislead our constituents, I am here to get to the truth. The American people deserve that.
To direct the systemic slowdown of mail delivery during a pandemic within months of a national election is incomprehensible. At best, these actions represent irresponsible leadership from a novice who has absolutely no business leading a government agency. At worst, they are cruel, unethical and anti-democratic.
And this is certainly no way to repay the 600,000 dedicated and brave employees who risk their lives every day to deliver essential mail.
The Postal Service is one of the largest employers of veterans and has one of the most diverse workforces in our country. 40% of postal workers are people of color, and for generations, working for the USPS was one of the only living wage jobs accessible to Black and brown Americans. No doubt many of these families have a personal story of how the USPS job made it possible for them to buy their first home or to send their child to college.
Now, it is well-documented that many of these same families have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will bear the brunt of any efforts to dismantle the USPS.
So, Mr. DeJoy, in the interest of time, yes or no. At your direction, the Postal Service is currently under a management hiring freeze, yes or no?
POSTMASTER GENERAL DeJOY: At management level, yes.
REP. PRESSLEY: For the record, Mr. DeJoy, does the hiring freeze apply to any other category of workers?
DeJOY: No ma'am.
REP. PRESSLEY: And you are also seeking to push early retirement, correct?
DeJOY: We've submitted---
REP. PRESSLEY: Yes or no.
DeJOY: Yes, yes.
REP. PRESSLEY: Mr. DeJoy, 40,000 postal workers have had to quarantine. Over 6,000 have tested positive, and over 60 have died from COVID-19. Do you know if these numbers are the most accurate and up to date?
DeJOY: 83 have died.
REP. PRESSLEY: And so to be clear, does this mean that you are collecting, in real time, formal data on COVID-19 and its impact on your workforce?
DeJOY: We have a task force that has complete visibility of everything from PPE to cases, cases in the geographical area, cases within a postal service---
REP. PRESSLEY: So you do have a mechanism whereby you are in real time, formally collecting data as to the impact of COVID-19 on your workforce?
DeJOY: Yes, we do.
REP. PRESSLEY: In the Greater Boston region alone, more than 220 postal workers have contracted COVID-19. A letter carrier in Chelsea, a city in my district, was hospitalized and was told by his doctors that his respiratory system would never be the same.
Mr. DeJoy, will you commit to providing this committee with the data that you say you are already formally collecting, dis-aggregated by Congressional District, on COVID-19-related deaths, positive tests, and quarantines of postal workers by Friday? Since this is quite literally a matter of life and death.
REP. PRESSLEY: Can you commit to that? To providing this committee with data dis-aggregated by Congressional District, on COVID-19 related deaths, positive tests, and quarantines of postal workers by Friday?
DeJOY: I will look into our ability to provide that to the Congress and if it's available, we'll certainly do it. I don't---
REP. PRESSLEY: It would certainly be in keeping with the oath that you took and what you've offered here, so I look forward to receiving that, by Friday.
Now, a few days ago, before the Senate, you said that the delays in delivery are attributable to "employee availability in many, many parts of the country.” So isn't it true that pursuing a hiring freeze and early retirement, when your workforce is already stretched thin by coronavirus, would exacerbate delays in the mail? Yes or no.
DeJOY: Pursuing a hiring freeze did not have anything to do with the craft---
REP. PRESSLEY: Yes or no.
DeJOY: No, no, no, no, no.
REP. PRESSLEY: Mr. Duncan, were you aware when you selected--- where is Mr. Duncan?
DeJOY: He's not here.
REP. PRESSLEY: Okay, Mr. Duncan? I was just looking to direct myself--okay.
Were you aware when you selected Mr. DeJoy that his company, New Breed Logistics, was determined by the National Labor Relations Board to have acted with “anti-union animus”? Yes or no?
CHAIRMAN DUNCAN: No.
REP. PRESSLEY: Were you aware that the Equal [Employment] Opportunity Commission won a $1.5 million lawsuit against New Breed for sexual harassment and retaliation? Yes or no?
CHAIRMAN DUNCAN: No.
REP. PRESSLEY: Were you aware that four women working for New Breed suffered miscarriages because the company refused to accommodate their requests for light duty? Yes or no?
CHAIRMAN DUNCAN: No.
REP. PRESSLEY: Did you make any attempt to investigate these labor and employment practices before making him the head of the one of the largest and most diverse federal workforces? If not, why not?
CHAIRMAN DUNCAN: Yes, we had various background checks. Russell Reynolds hired a DC firm to do an additional background check on him, we worked with---
REP. PRESSLEY: I question the integrity of that background check, if you don't have answers to these questions. And Mr. DeJoy, the hardworking people of the United States Postal Service deserve a better leader. In my opinion, the only thing you should be delivering is your resignation.
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