A leaked email to United States Postal Service employees instructed them to not reassemble mail sorting machines that have been dismantled, CNN first reported.
The note, written by Kevin Couch, a maintenance operations director, said that workers were "not to reconnect/reinstall machines that have been previously disconnected without approval from HQ Maintenance."
These instructions took precedence over orders given by plant managers, Couch added.
Just hours before, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that all service changes will be paused until after Election Day.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced on Tuesday that he is suspending all operational changes to the United States Postal Service until after the election, but an internal email obtained by CNN instructs postal workers not to reassemble any mail sorting machines without permission if they have already been disconnected.
The note was written by Kevin Couch, a maintenance operations director.
"Please message out to your respective Maintenance Managers tonight. They are not to reconnect/reinstall machines that have been previously disconnected without approval from HQ Maintenance, no matter what direction they are getting from their plant manager," Couch said, per CNN.
Related: USPS chief has 'no intention' of replacing sorting machines
DeJoy previously said that mail-processing equipment will stay in place amid national outrage that such changes could delay mail delivery and throw the November presidential election into chaos. DeJoy also said that post office retail hours will not change, overtime hours will be approved as needed, and that no mail-processing facilities would be shut.
According to CNN, it remains unknown if Couch gave postal workers any additional orders, but noted that the email was distributed to managers in the West.
Unnamed union officials told CNN that there have been no attempts to fix newly removed machines in at least nine states. The news outlet reported that it has been able to identify only two facilities — one in Dallas, Texas, and the other in Tacoma, Washington — where there have been efforts to resume normal operations using these mail sorting machines.
An increasing number of Americans are opting to use mail-in ballots instead of going to polling places since the US is battling the worst coronavirus outbreak on Earth, with more than 5.5 million people sickened and at least 174,500 dead.
But President Donald Trump has repeated his false claim that voting by mail results in fraud, which has thrust the USPS and DeJoy into the national spotlight, with people questioning the agency's ability to handle a surge in mail closer to November 3.
Read the original article on Business Insider