Demonstrators say they briefly blocked a private contractor’s truck from leaving the Mt. Hood Distribution Center near Portland OR Saturday. The protesters’ spokesperson, retired postal worker Jamie Partridge, claims that the USPS has eliminated union truck drivers’ jobs by entering into a questionable deal with a bankrupt trucking company that owes the USPS hundreds of thousands of dollars:
Seven postal trucking positions were recently eliminated at the same time as the subcontractor, Dill Star Route trucking, hired twenty drivers to do twice as many mail runs as were previously needed, according to Partridge. The company is being paid $59 per hour for each driver, while the USPS is paying for the gas and lending the company postal trailers (in violation of postal rules) and leasing nine tractors for Dill Star use (at $30,000 per month). According to union officials, postal drivers are sitting on standby without work, up to 500 hours a week, while many of the extra Dill Star trucks are running empty or have very little mail.
Bankruptcy papers show that Dill Star Route, Inc. owes the postal service over $300,000. “Dill used federal credit cards to avoid the federal gas tax, and then never paid the bill,” says Partridge.
The group goes on to charge that the contract was arranged by a postal manager who “appears to have a special relationship” with the family that operates the trucking company. Asked what the alleged “special relationship” consisted of, Partridge told us “They go to church together, sources say.”
We’ve asked the USPS for their side of the story, but so far they haven’t responded.