APWU Members Crucial in Securing Major Step Forward on Postal Service’s COVID-19 Relief

January 11, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

On December 27, 2020, after months of political gridlock, President Trump signed another sweeping COVID-19 relief bill into law, which included vital funding for the Postal Service. This bill converted the $10 billion additional borrowing authority loan in the March 2020 CARES Act into direct, emergency relief to the USPS without requiring repayment. Additionally, while the CARES Act allowed the Secretary of the Treasury to set the conditions of the $10 billion loan, the funding allotted in this bill is available at the Postal Service’s request.

This relief is a significant step forward for the Postal Service’s financial health as the USPS continues to experience the pandemic’s effects on revenue. The $10 billion in funding would not have been included without the months of diligent, consistent work from APWU members on the ground and in the community demanding that sufficient financial relief for the USPS be included in any stimulus package signed into law.

Postal Activists Made It Happen

After the CARES Act was signed into law in March 2020, the APWU immediately got to work in demanding real financial relief in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill. As public attention centered on the Postal Service over the summer when Postmaster General DeJoy’s policies sharply slowed the mail and threatened to disrupt the vote-by-mail process for the election, local officers and postal workers on the ground continued to push the importance of congressional postal funding in the media.

“The $10 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service is a welcome step in the right direction,” said President Dimondstein. “All year, we’ve mobilized and organized to save our national treasure in this most challenging time. From car caravans, to tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress, to millions of petition signatures collected, postal workers and our allies are ready to stand up to defend the public Postal Service. We should be encouraged that this first step is owed to our collective efforts.”

Just Getting Started

While the $10 billion in funding is a welcome step in the right direction, our work is far from over.

The APWU had fought to include language from the HEROES Act, which was passed in the House in May 2020 and valued at $3 trillion, in this bill. That language would have provided the full $25 billion that we have demanded throughout the year.

Lawmakers instead compromised and agreed to only spend roughly $900 billion on the full relief package, resulting in reduced or nonexistent funding for the American people and critical programs. Many members of Congress, as well as the incoming administration, recognize that another stimulus bill must pass in 2021 to make sure families and state and local governments can weather the disastrous economic effects of COVID-19. While postal workers should celebrate this initial victory, we must continue our efforts in the months ahead. Our service to the public remains vital to the country, and our political activism will be critical to preserving our national treasure for generations to come.

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