Federal Judge Victor Marrero has given a ruling on Jones v. USPS that will allow for late and extra trips in preparation for an influx of mail-in ballots for this year’s upcoming election. This ruling will allow USPS postal workers to receive pay for any overtime from October 26, 2020 to November 6,2020.
Why is there a dispute?
This overtime dispute comes from a filed action by plaintiffs against Postmaster Louis DeJoy and President Donald J. Trump. The plaintiffs were seeking declaratory relief and a preliminary injunction mandating that the Postal Service take certain actions to ensure the timely delivery of their mailed ballots in the upcoming national election.
The worry that ballots would not be counted came to light after cost-cutting actions were put in place by Postmaster Louis Dejoy. These changes included instructing workers to leave each phase of their delivery to a set schedule which meant that mail would likely be delayed. This along with other actions that were ordered were suggested to save the USPS $200 million during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal Judge Victor Marrero has stated that the United States Postal Service will have to approve all overtime requests leading up to the election and the United States Postal Service is required to treat all election mail as first-class mail for expedited delivery.
“USPS shall authorize, and instruct, overtime to be used for the time period beginning Oct. 26, 2020 and continuing through Nov. 6, 2020 to ensure the timely delivery of election mail,” U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York Victor Marrero wrote in his order in the case Jones v. USPS.
Marrero stated that, “The right to vote is too vital a value in our democracy to be left in a state of suspense in the minds of voters weeks before a presidential election, raising doubts as to whether their votes will ultimately be counted.”
He wants to ensure that all ballots are delivered on time to ensure that they are counted. The judge also wants to make sure that the USPS is held accountable by ordering Dejoy to provide the court with weekly reports on the progress of the USPS mail delivery improvement.
“There should be no doubt, however, that the Postal Service is ready and fully committed to handling expected increased volumes of election mail between now and the conclusion of the Nov. 3. election,” the spokesperson for the USPS, Martha Johnson, said in a statement. “Our No. 1 priority is to deliver the nation’s election mail securely and in a timely fashion.”
What does this mean for Postal Workers?
If you are employed under the USPS, then you should expect to see an influx of first-class mail within the next few weeks. Overtime is not a requirement but there is a possibility of working longer hours depending on your position, but keep in mind that overtime will only be accepted between October 26, 2020 to November 6, 2020.
Your employer should also be sending out a newsletter in order to help keep you up to date on any changes to overtime acceptance, mail-in ballot deadlines and change in postal hours.
If you are a federal employee reading this article and you feel that you may need Federal Workers’ Compensation or Federal Disability Retirement assistance, as you may not be able to keep up with the demand of mail-in ballots, give us a call at (859) 226-2723 for a FREE Consultation. Let us help you navigate these often over-complicated and bureaucratic processes and do what we can to get approved for your benefits.