Dozens of postal workers, retirees, and customers rallied and marched June 23 for full funding of the postal service. Wearing masks with the slogan “Save Our Postal Service,” carrying balloons, signs, and dancing to the tune “Mr. Postman,” the crowd first deposited postcards to Congress before marching to “Bridge the Gap.” They walked across the Hawthorne Bridge to symbolize the fiscal bridge needed to keep the USPS alive. Twenty-five billion dollars in an emergency appropriation is needed to prevent the postal service from running out of money, according to the Postal Board of Governors and the recent Postmaster General.
Across the country, in dozens of cities, postal workers and customers took to the streets to demonstrate their support for full postal funding. The American Postal Workers Union sponsored a car caravan in Washington, D.C., with a million- signature petition delivery to the U.S. Senate. While the U.S. House has passed a $25 billion rescue package as part of the Heroes Act, the Senate is not expected to take it up until after the Fourth of July recess. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is holding up the legislation. Among other economic aid, the Heroes Act would extend federal unemployment benefits for millions of jobless workers through Jan. 31 and provides $915 billion to keep state and local governments – including schools – going while the nation combats the Depression caused by anti-coronavirus shutdowns, social distancing and other measures.
Due to the pandemic economic crash, the postal service is experiencing precipitous revenue loss, and is expected to run out of money by fall. The Trump Administration, the Republican-dominated Postal Board of Governors and the president’s newly appointed Postmaster General, are seizing the economic crisis as an opportunity to open the road to privatization. The USPS is threatened with job loss, cuts, closures, outsourcing and union-busting. Postal supporters are calling on Republicans to do the right thing and Democrats to not back down.
Public opinion polls show 91% support, including majority Republican support, for the Postal Service – especially in rural areas whose residents depend on it for delivery of food, medicines and other vital items during the pandemic.