As a kid, I remember standing on my tippy toes peering out the window of my great aunt’s living room in anticipation of the mail truck.
It might be considered weird for the average 5-year-old to be excited over the sight of the mail truck, but for me, this was a daily routine. My dad was my great aunt’s mail carrier, and I knew if the mail truck was on the street, so was my dad.
For the past 36 years, my dad has delivered mail during sleet, rain, and shine with little to no complaints. Even during COVID-19, my dad and his colleagues continue to risk their lives as they interact with a multitude of people each day as people disregard social distancing and attempt to interact with their postal worker as they drop mail off.
These postal employees work tirelessly during COVID-19 without any hazard pay while worrying about the future of the United States Postal Service (USPS).
The USPS has been in financial distress for years, according to their website, and the current pandemic has only made situations worse. According to The American Postal Workers Union, the current pandemic has resulted in a major loss of revenue, and the government service could possibly run out of money as soon as June.
During the past couple of weeks, multiple petitions have popped up on social media platforms to save the USPS. These petitions include pleas to the government to pass bills which would provide urgent and ongoing financial support from the federal government to the USPS.
Currently, the USPS is not government funded and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund the agency.
A $13 million grant for the USPS was initially in the final version of the stimulus package presented to President Donald Trump in March, according to The Washington Post. However, the grant was removed when Trump reportedly threatened to veto the stimulus package if it included the $13 million grant according to the article.
Instead of receiving a grant that was desperately needed, the USPS had to settle for a $10 million loan that was part of the final version of the stimulus package.
Each day, the USPS continues to lose money as a result of COVID-19. If the USPS runs out of money, nearly 500,000 jobs will be at stake.
The USPS is responsible for delivering medication, postcards, census forms, and other packages to millions of homes in the United States.
Congress needs to act quickly to include financial relief for the USPS as they create and pass coronavirus relief bills. These essential workers should not have to worry about the future of their employment as they stand on the front lines of COVID-19.
Trump has repeatedly stated over the years that if the USPS raised their prices, they would be able to make money or break even. Trump needs to stop blaming the USPS for their financial issues and realize what is at stake here – hundreds of thousands of jobs and our country’s vital communication network.
When Benjamin Franklin served as the first postmaster general in 1775, he helped establish an improved network of communication that spanned from Maine to Florida.
Two hundred forty-five years later, that network for communication is just as vital to our nation as postal carriers deliver postcards from the CDC, relief checks from the IRS, and possibly ballots if voting by mail is necessary in November
Our nation depends on the work of the nearly 500,000 postal workers, and the least we can do is to call our representatives and senators and urge them to fight for these essential employees and the future of our nation’s oldest service.