Postal Updates

Massive USPS mail disruptions descend on Atlanta

Apr 1, 2024, 12 PM

By Allen Abel, Washington Correspondent

The Atlanta metropolitan area replaced beleaguered Houston as an epicenter of infuriating and unexplained mail disruptions in mid-March, when a breakdown in mail processing at one of the United States Postal Service’s huge sorting and delivery centers left consumers bewildered, politicians fulminating and tractor-trailer drivers waiting as long as eight and a half hours to drop off their time-sensitive cargoes.

“Another surreal day here at the USPS distribution center here in Palmetto where the line to load and unload stretches over the horizon!” reporter Joshua Skinner of Atlanta television station WANF exclaimed to viewers on March 14, describing a serpentine line of idling trucks and fuming drivers outside the USPS facility in the Atlanta suburb. Inside, Postal Service employees said, mountains of mail were marooned.

“Packages are just sitting in there, piled up everywhere,” Emi Collymore, a USPS worker, told Atlanta’s FOX 5 in a March 15 on-camera interview. “Everywhere you look, you’ll see packages.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Collymore said. “It’s not running like it’s supposed to be. And I don’t think it ever will.”

Online media reports from Axios and other sources summarize a litany of postal customers’ woes that included vanishing Priority Mail envelopes, missing payroll checks and Christmas cards that did not arrive until the eve of Valentine’s Day.

“Postal customers in Georgia are increasingly reporting untraceable or stalled packages to local news outlets, in some cases for up to weeks,” U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., complained in a March 14 letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

In that same letter, Ossoff demanded that DeJoy furnish him with an update on the situation at the Palmetto facility, “including what may be the source of delays, and what actions are being taken to remedy any determined issues.”

However, a source close to Ossoff’s office told Linn’s Stamp News on March 21 that no such update from anyone at USPS had yet been provided. According to the source, the office “has not received a response from the postmaster general about Sen. Ossoff’s inquiry.”

“Local management has been made aware of the concerns of some local customers regarding their mail delivery and are working quickly to resolve any issues,” a USPS spokesperson told WANF, according to a report by Skinner.

Mitchell Taylor, president of Local 32 of the American Postal Workers Union, told WSB-TV in Atlanta that the problems at Palmetto began as soon as the massive new facility, which has almost 200 loading docks, opened for business in February.

“What they did was they moved machines and mail and a lot of operations down to the [regional processing and distribution center] … ” Taylor said. “You would think that would make it more efficient. The void that they left behind was so great, that they don’t have enough people left behind to [process] the mail.”

“We never thought that it would be up to capacity,” Taylor continued, “but every day all the dock doors are full and you still can’t get trucks in or out.”

On March 20, an associate at Local 32 headquarters who asked not to be named told Linn’s that “nothing has changed, those trucks are still lined up there.

“I’ve been with the Postal Service for 40 years and it’s never been this bad,” the Local 32 associate said. “It’s just amazing that this is happening now at election time. It’s just poor planning. They just have to work out the spider webs.”

On March 21, in response to questions from Linn’s, Jim McKean, a senior public relations representative for the USPS, said, “The Postal Service plays an important role in the community, and we are committed to providing the best service possible.”

“While a significant portion of mail and packages in the Atlanta area is being delivered in a timely manner, management is aware of the concerns of some local customers regarding their mail and package delivery and are working quickly to resolve any issues,” McKean said.

“Operations are improving as we continue to make significant investments in the Atlanta area, including new sorting machines, upgraded facilities and more efficient transportation, that will help ensure our organization can provide reliable delivery services for years to come,” he said.

“We sincerely express our apologies to our customers who may have experienced a deviation from our normal dependable service and appreciate their patience,” McKean said.

McKean said that customers needing assistance should call the USPS at 800-275-8777 or go online to

McKean confirmed for Linn’s on March 21 that the Postal Service has received Ossoff’s letter to DeJoy and will reply to Ossoff directly.


[Editor’s note: Linn’s report on mail-processing delays in the Houston area was published in the March 4 issue.]

Meanwhile, in Houston, where a USPS processing facility went offline in January because a new sorting machine turned out to be too large to fit into the building, a USPS spokesperson told Houston television station KHOU in late February that “plants are currently fluid,” but some postal customers remained unconvinced.

Donna Davis, whose husband regularly receives his life-saving diabetes medication through the mail, told KHOU on March 13 that one shipment had been bouncing around the country for more than a month.

“Sometimes the facility in North Houston will hold it for seven days before they send it to Missouri City, [Texas,]” Davis said. “They’ll hold it for another four or five days and send it back to Houston. We got an email last week that the complaint has been closed because they’ve resolved it and it’s been shipped to Bedford, Illinois.”

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