Saving the Post Office

Judy Beard

May 20, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

As COVID-19 began in the United States, urgent strategic planning and outreach was taking place from APWU National Headquarters to protect the health and safety of the membership and their jobs. As the crisis progressed and states began to shut down, postal workers were classified as essential and you all continued to work. With businesses shut down and people laid off from work, mail volume has dropped approximately 35 percent. The Postal Service expects it to continue to drop and the crisis to cost them over $67 billion over the next 10.5 years. The Postmaster General announced to Congress that without government aid, the Postal Service will run out of funds by the end of the summer.

The Legislative & Political Department continues to meet with your members of Congress via conference call and Zoom to discuss their evolving role in protecting the Postal Service and demand they support the public Postal service and postal workers in their next stimulus bill.

Shifting the Focus of the US Mail: Not for Sale Campaign

At the outset of the crisis, we immediately began advocating for the inclusion of funds for the Postal Service in stimulus packages. Simultaneously, the US Mail: Not for Sale campaign, led by the Legislative & Political Department, shifted focus to educating members of Congress and the White House on why immediate funding is needed to give the Postal Service and its workers the ability to carry out their mission of universal service, binding the nation together. The campaign pushed out emails and targeted social media to drive our members and the public to contact their member of Congress.

The work of the US Mail: Not for Sale campaign has been critical in changing the narrative in the media. Over the course of a month, we saw the conversation shift from no mention of postal workers and the critical role we play in this crisis shift to postal workers being all over the news. Our fight has caught the attention of members of Congress.

Some have put out a constant stream of support for our workers and the valuable role the Postal Service is playing during this crisis. Growing this support is critical in elevating our issue and getting funding in the next stimulus package.

Postal Preservation Caucus

On April 30, the House of Representatives announced the formation of the first Postal Preservation Caucus, headed by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12), the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA-11), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Rep. Peter King (RNY- 02), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee. Together, they are making the same identical request as the bipartisan Postal Board of Governors for Postal Service support to be included in the next stimulus:

  • A $25 billion appropriation to cover the Postal Service's expected losses due to COVID-19 (revenue losses and additional costs) in FY20 and FY21.
  • $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority, created by forgiving the outstanding USPS debt ($15 billion) and converting the $10 billion Treasury loan to regular USPS borrowing authority.
  • A $25 billion grant for the USPS to maintain its critical infrastructure and meet its responsibilities as an essential agency (improve its resiliency in emergencies and invest in job-creating capital projects).

Click here to read an outline of the four postal unions’ requests to Congress for the next stimulus.

We need your help to continue building support for financial assistance for the Postal Service. Contact your members of Congress and ask them to include money in the next stimulus so that the Postal Service will be able to continue serving future generations. Go to today to find out what you can do.

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