Shipping to the USA, from the USA, and in the USA is slow right now because the Chicago hub is truckloads behind schedule.
Because many of you are fellow business owners, and many of you are online buyers, and we are all in this together, we are sharing what we know about the situation, and some potential solutions.
Every online purchase has to be shipped. This applies to everything from apples to jewelry to zebra rugs. This slowdown impacts all of us, and there are things we can do to help Chicago out, or at least not make things worse.
USPS Chicago has a large backlog of mail which is slowing shipping times. The automatic sorting machines that USPS continues to use in other locations are turned off in the Chicago hub. Contact your congressperson and request that Postmaster General Louis Dejoy turn the machines back on to get the mail moving.
USPS Management produced a 17 page pamphlet explaining the Great Chicago Slowdown. In a nutshell, management identified a twofold problem; one of cleanliness and one of organization. Their seven recommendations to solve the problems can be summarized as; maintain a clean and functional workspace, and scan then organize the mail more efficiently.
The cause of the problems mentioned in the report, however, is a lack of manpower. The Chicago post office needs more people to clean, fix, scan, organize, and ship the backlog of mail. Part of the reason they need more people is because the current Postmaster General eliminated automatic sorting machines in Chicago, but did not hire new mail workers to make up the difference in labor. Machines work 24 hours a day, without breaks. People are not machines and should not be expected to work at the same rate as machines.
The reason the Postmaster General stopped the machines was to put human eyes on every package. In an effort to curb the opioid crisis, USPS is working with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to inspect, “all international inbound and outbound mail.” The sticker-on-a-bucket presorting method currently used by the USPS to help the CBP is not working – in great part because there are not enough people to manage the amount of mail sent to and through the Chicago hub. The theory behind the CBP inspections is that they can intercept and confiscate any and all opioids on the way in or out of the country. At Pendant and Ring we are all for stopping the opioid crisis. We also like fast mail delivery….
I am a buyer, how can I help?
The backlog in Chicago slows down shipping times for everyone. Sellers are doing their best to get your orders to you, and now you can help. Contact your congressperson so that you and people who depend on the mail for necessities like food and medicine can get their packages on time. Ask your congressperson to compel Postmaster Louis Dejoy to use the sorting machines and provide Chicago workers with a safe work environment. Should Dejoy fail to comply with these demands ask your congressperson to replace Louis Dejoy with a new Postmaster General.
I am a seller, how can I help?
Luckily, Chicago is only one of five USPS international mail hubs. Rerouting your packages to any of the other international mail hubs will help prevent further overload in Chicago and help your parcel get where it is going faster.
One way to avoid USPS in Chicago is to ship with another carrier: FedEx, UPS, or DHL. FedEx ‘s major hub is in Memphis, Tennessee. UPS’s major hub is in Louisville, Kentucky. DHL’s major hub is in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Another way to avoid USPS in Chicago is to send your mail to a trusted friend or family member who lives closer to any of the following USPS international shipping hubs: New York City, NY, Miami, FL, Los Angeles or San Fransisco, CA. They can take your mail to their local post office and it will be routed through one of these USPS ports. This only works if your mail does not go through Chicago to get to your contact.
Yet, another way to help is to contact your congressperson. Reach out to our elected officials and request that they speed up the mail by insisting that Postmaster Louis Dejoy resume the use of sorting machines, or be replaced with a Postmaster who will. If Dejoy does not comply with the request, it is the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service who can replace him.
These solutions will not fix all of USPS Chicago’s problems, and some domestic mail must go through Chicago despite the backup. Still, everything we can do to remedy the situation is a step in the right direction.
Political machinations take time. Contacting our elected officials and motivating them to take action is a long process. All the more reason to start now. (Find your congressperson by entering your zip code here.)
The USPS Chicago employees are stretched so thin and facing such violence it’s a honorable act to show up for work. Turning on the sorting machines cannot provide the safety the USPS Chicago employees need.
It is in our best interest as a nation to stop drug trafficking. Dejoy’s actions are stopping illicit packages in Chicago but only because his methods are stopping all packages, thus hurting small businesses. If USPS turns the sorting machines back on and keeps CBP employees on-board to examine suspicious parcels, then we can get the mail moving again to help small businesses and prevent a great deal of mail-order opioids from circulating in North America.
Call your congressperson today.