On April 21st, Senator Bernie Sanders hosted a livestream on his twitter, meeting with several major players in the Postal Service in order to discuss and shares concerns about United States Postal Service’s (USPS) future. USPS has been under fire since 2006, and now according to projections from experts, the government institution faces major issues amid the Covid-19 crisis, even bankruptcy if not offered help through future stimulus aid from the Trump Administration.
Sanders’ panel included Mark Dimondstein, current president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Fredric Rolando, current president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), Paul Hogrogian, current president of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and Judy Beard, Legislative and Political Director for the American Postal Workers Union. Each panel member shared similar sentiments of how urgent and vital the need to save USPS is. Mark Dimondstein (APWU) was quick to remind listeners that while every citizen has a right to receive mail regardless of location (roughly 160 million addresses), the institution runs on zero tax payer dollars and instead functions almost entirely on its own revenue alone. It is estimated that between 50-57% of this revenue will be lost due to the Covid-19 crisis, and Dimondstein projected that without federal aid, USPS could run out of money as early as July or August of this year.
Fredric Rolando (NALC) built upon this issue by highlighting the negative consequences of the destruction of USPS; Rolando pointed out that without a federal postal service, rural and inner-city areas would suffer from the looming inability to receive vital prescriptions and medicine via mail at an affordable cost. If the postal industry were to become a privatized entity, mail prices could easily become unreasonable for many Americans, forcing them to either pay extra for delivery, or opt out of delivery altogether.
Paul Hogrogian (NPMHU) added that roughly 40% of bills are still paid by Americans via paper mail, and agreed with Rolando that rural areas would likely be hit the hardest if USPS were to go under. Hogrogian addressed that the number of people’s jobs at stake ranges around 600,000+ and that they are essential workers, providing a service every day to the American people during a global pandemic. Around 18,000 postal workers have now tested positive for Covid-19, resulting in 30 confirmed deaths.
A mutually agreed upon issue was that the current Administration has demonstrated incentive for USPS to fail. All of Sanders’ guest speakers agreed that the Trump Administration has invested financial should national mail become privatized. Diamondstein was most vocal about this point, calling the Administration ‘shameful’ for trying to take advantage of such a detrimental situation during a global pandemic.
If you wish to help save the United States Postal Service and keep the right to their universally provided service for American citizens intact, and also protect essential worker’s jobs and fight against the deplorable privatization of the Postal industry, please write to your state senators or sign one of these petitions or letters linked below: