keeping secrets (Koldunova Anna/Shutterstock.com)

USPS cautions staff on media inquiries

Postal employees are being instructed not to speak to the media, according to leaked memos obtained by Motherboard from postal workers in two districts.

The nearly identical memos to employees in the Appalachian District and the Greater Michigan District warned staff that the U.S. Postal Service needs to speak with one voice: "It is imperative that one person speaks on behalf of the Postal Service to deliver an appropriate, accurate and consistent message to the media."

The memo advises employees how they should handle media inquiries – find out what the question is, the name of the reported and the media organization — and tells them to forward the information to a USPS communications specialist who will contact the reporter with an appropriate response.

It also warns staff not to be tempted to just “answer a few questions” because “while most media members identify themselves upfront, sometimes they do not.” Before answering questions from postal customers, staff should ask whether the customer is a member of the media to ensure that anything that local worker may say is not reported as an official USPS position.

Curiously, the memo cautions against speaking not only to traditional newspapers, radio and television outlets, but also responding to social media posts on Twitter and Facebook.

 “Well-run organizations don't try and stop employees from talking, an especially fruitless endeavor for the USPS which has a 630,000-strong heavily unionized workforce,” Motherboard said. “Typically, well-run organizations try and fix the problems the employees are talking about instead.”

Reader comments

Thu, Sep 10, 2020

Yes the minion operating the post office should be scared of honest employees who want to expose how corrupt he is. Forcing honest hard working employees to be quiet about corruption is a standard operating procedure at the Big Outfit in Bethesda. Management will go out of their way to destroy an employee who is suspected of reporting corruption. This is how management keeps giving other crooked managers bonuses and promotions over hard working honest employees.

Thu, Sep 3, 2020 SAM USA

No one has to speak to postal employees to know for sure that Priority Mail which the post office "falsely advertises is delivered in 2 to 3 days" is now taking 7 days on average to be delivered. That FACT is easily confirmed by using the post office's own web site to track the Priority mail packages we ship out.

Thu, Sep 3, 2020 ODARIT V TIRADO PR

I urge the employees not to keep quiet. The public must know what the situation inside the USPS is. Postmasters and supervisors are being disciplined for delaying of mail when the Postmaster General did instruct them to do it. If someone approaches a reporter, you can answer all the questions and after given them your name, just request to remain anonymous. The reporter will honor that. Speak up people. Let's maintain your name as publici service people clean.

Thu, Sep 3, 2020

Like somebody already mentioned, this is not news or inappropriate. Employees have always been instructed to refer media to official spokespersons of any agency they work for.

Thu, Sep 3, 2020 Sergio CA

Not sure what agency Shellie works for but we have no such counseling in our Agency. We are instructed to make it clear that we are not speaking for the Agency but that it is our opinion. I agree with Anita, managers put staff in the middle to cover their behind and blame us. Some employees know more than management or their communication specialist. Some employees don't try to cover up things and tell the truth. So I can see why media asks employees instead of management or commo specialist.

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