Infrastructure, Voting Rights, Retirement Security: Our Fight Continues

Judy Beard

May 7, 2021

Share this article

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

After the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, we turned our sights to another key legislative package being eyed by the Biden administration: infrastructure.

In the last session, the House approved $25 billion in infrastructure funding via the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2).

However, the Senate failed to take up the legislation before the end of the session. Now, in the 117th Congress, we urge the introduction of a similar bill that includes the following postal provisions:

  • Replace the Postal Service’s fleet with a cost-effective, electric fleet;
  • Provide electric vehicle charging stations for both consumers and the Postal Service’s new fleet;
  • Allow the USPS to update its facilities to ensure accessibility for members of the disability community;
  • Invest in eliminating the Postal Service’s maintenance backlog;
  • Innovate in local communities.

We continue to fight for other important pieces of postal legislation, such as the USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 695 / S. 145). If passed, the bill would repeal USPS’s outrageous pre-funding mandate, which is responsible for 88 percent of the agency’s annual financial losses. Even still, the fact remains that if the mandate were repealed tomorrow, the impact of this failed law would remain for years to come; the USPS has been unable to address its maintenance backlog and invest in capital improvements due to the onerous pre-funding requirements.

Voting Rights Under Attack

In response to the record 160 million Americans who exercised their right to vote in the 2020 presidential election, state legislatures across the country are waging egregious attacks on voting rights. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “[a]s of March 24, state legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states.” In particular, Georgia just passed restrictive voting legislation that limits absentee voting, reduces early voting, makes it easier to purge voter rolls, and even criminalizes giving water or snacks to voters waiting in long lines at polling places. At least 55 suppressive voting bills are advancing through legislatures.

We are witnessing some of the most vicious attacks on voting rights since Jim Crow. The bills introduced across the country aim to suppress voter turnout by targeting every step of the voting process. These restrictive bills would make it difficult to register to vote, limit vote-by-mail, cut down or do away with early voting, implement voter identification requirements, purge voter rolls, and require notarized ballots and witness signatures.

We cannot allow these voter suppression bills to succeed. It’s time for Congress to pass the For the People Act (H.R. 1 / S. 1), which would protect and expand both our democracy and our voting rights. The bill would expand voter registration, vote-by-mail, and absentee voting, among other provisions.

Importantly, if passed the bill would override state-level voting restrictions, including those recently passed in Georgia. The For the People Act has already passed in the House. To ensure it becomes law, we need your help. Please reach out to both of your senators and urge them to pass this crucial legislation.

Older Americans Month: Honor Retirees by Fighting for their Benefits

This May, as we celebrate Older Americans Month, let’s honor the contributions of our retired brothers and sisters by fighting to repeal legislation that robs them of their rightfully earned benefits. We must work together to pass the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82), which would repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). Please contact your House Representative and urge them to sign on to the House bill. Additionally, urge your senators to introduce a companion bill.

Sign up for News

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.