National Postal Mail Handlers Union National President Paul V. Hogrogian Statement on the COVID-19 S
Late at night on Monday, December 21, the House and Senate agreed to a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package. The package includes language that converts the $10 billion loan for the United States Postal Service provided in the previously passed CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) to emergency funding that does not come with the borrowing stipulations from the Department of Treasury as imposed in the CARES Act.
While this emergency funding will provide relief to the Postal Service, it falls short of previous calls for aid. In April, the USPS Board of Governors requested $25 billion in emergency funding to help combat revenue loss due to the pandemic. Additionally, the House passed the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) in May which included this $25 billion, hazard pay of $13.00 an hour for essential workers, as well as the removal of borrowing stipulations from the CARES Act. The NPMHU and the postal community saw further support for the Postal Service with the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act (H.R. 8123/S. 4147), which also called for $25 billion in emergency funding, and also required the USPS Board of Governors and the Postmaster General to develop a financial solvency plan, setting up talks for postal reform legislation. The $25 billion in emergency funding was also part of the House-passed Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015).
Not only has the United States Postal Service faced losses due to the pandemic, but so have the men and women on its dedicated workforce. Our elected leaders need to put forth legislation that not only recognizes the current financial needs of the Postal Service to ensure universal service to every American household and business, but also the health and safety needs of all postal employees.
Throughout this devastating pandemic, the USPS and its workforce time and time again have proven to be an essential service. The NPMHU will continue to push the need for COVID-19 emergency funding for the Postal Service and needed protections for its employees.
Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the legislation “far from perfect,” and President-elect Biden stated this is only a down payment, noting more stimulus packages to come. I certainly hope that is the intention of the incoming administration, and that additional funding will be a priority for the 117th Congress.