You have mail? Packages stack up ‘wall to wall’ at metro Detroit USPS center

click to enlarge You have mail? Packages stack up ‘wall to wall’ at metro Detroit USPS center

Getting a package delivered in time for the holidays may take a Christmas miracle.

Packages are stacking up inside metro Detroit’s mail distribution center in Allen Park as the U.S. Postal Service struggles to keep up with the unprecedented amount of shipping during the coronavirus pandemic.

Through mid-December, parcel volume increased 15% nationwide compared to the same time last year. On-time delivery rates have declined to 86%, down from 93% at the beginning of the month, according to ShipMatrix, a software company that tracks shipments.

A WXYZ investigation found at least 50 tractor-trailers full of packages waiting to unload mail at the USPS Detroit Network Distribution Center (DNC) in Allen Park.

“It has mail from wall to wall,” American Postal Workers Union Detroit Local 295 President Keith Combs told WXYZ. “This is something that I have never seen in my 30 years of being a postal employee.”

Combs also blamed the delays on poor planning and restructuring under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

“They should have started hiring these seasonal people much earlier than they did, I would say back in May, June or July – getting prepared to bring those new people on. The tractor-trailer guys that I represent would have needed to have more trailers, even if they needed to be purchased or rented. So you can have a place to have this mail staged to be able to move smoothly from point A to point B,” Combs said. “I don’t think that happened. And there needed to be some thought process on how the mail flow was going to operate inside the building so that the safety of the employees was addressed and you didn’t have so much mail that there was not even walking room in some of these plants.”

USPS spokeswoman Elizabeth Najduch said postal workers are doing their best to keep up with the demand.

“The Detroit NDC has faced challenges recently due to COVID-19 at the same time mail volumes have dramatically increased,” Najduch said in a statement. “We have taken steps to address issues caused by the pandemic as we approach our busiest weeks, including hiring seasonal employees and allocating employees to facilities that need additional resources.

“There has already been progress at the Detroit NDC, and we are confident that our processing and delivery will return to normal levels quickly.”

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit articles

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.