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'We can handle mail-in ballots': Mail sorting machines removed from Tulsa post offices

Ballot machines (KTUL)
Ballot machines (KTUL)
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If you're expecting any mail or packages through the postal service, odds are it's now taking longer than normal.

Major changes to the United States Postal Service over the past couple months are causing national delays and making headlines before November's election.

Overtime has been eliminated and sorting machines that speed up mail delivery are being removed.

"We still have machines there, we just don't have as many," said Jeff Bradley, president of the American Postal Workers Union in Tulsa. "We started with 20 something a few years ago, now we're down to 15."

Bradley said the removal of machines is one of many contributing factors to a problem building in Tulsa's post offices.

"This is absolutely insane," he said. "We've got mail in the offices that is not being processed properly. It's sitting there piling up."

Considering the topic of the election. In a year when absentee balloting is setting records across the country, can the post office handle it?

"You're talking about 100,000 more pieces of mail every day during the holidays," Bradley said. "If we can handle the holidays, we can handle mail-in ballots."

However, delays are having effects now. Bradley himself has been a victim of that.

"My medication comes from Muskogee," he said. "It took five days to get here. Why should it take five days to get from Muskogee to Tulsa? That's uncalled for. If my medication is being delayed, look at the people out there that we serve."

While there have been calls for years to reform the postal service, Bradley asks that everybody keep one thing in mind.

"We're not a business," he said. "We're a service. We're not here to make any profit. We should break even. If we make something, that's great, but that's not our goal. We are here to service the public, that's it."

But at least for now, that service will likely be delayed.

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