COLORADO, USA — There have been many serious discussions about the funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS) and its role in the upcoming November elections amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Two rallies on Saturday, in Denver and Lakewood, brought attention to the way work has changed for USPS employees, and they are calling for change.
“Labor unions, community activists and organizers are rallying to save the post office," said Josh Downey, president of the Denver Area Labor Federation, which represents more than 100 unions including some with the post office.
"It’s our belief that right now, the post office is under attack by this administration, they are both trying to privatize it and defund it," Downey said. "We think that’s going to have a drastic impact on our democracy, good jobs and quality services."
Downey said that some of the biggest challenges USPS workers are dealing with include the mail piling up and that it’s not moving as quickly.
Muriel Ponder, who works at the Denver Processing and Distribution Center, said she agrees it's been chaotic at work.
Downey and Ponder said sorting machines have been removed from post offices, making their jobs harder.
USPS said there is ample machinery to handle spikes in mail volume.
“We want to not have new processes placed on us during a peak season, and we just want to do our jobs," said Ponder.
Ponder and Downey said they share the same list of demands:
"Our demands today are first for Postmaster Louis DeJoy not only to stop the negative impacts he’s having on the post office, but to actually roll those back," Downey said. "It’s not enough to stop the destruction. He needs to fix the damage he’s already done; and two, we need Senate to pass a comprehensive bill to fully fund the post office so they can do their job properly."
With elections around the corner, activists said if the USPS does not receive full funding, it could have detrimental outcomes on their mail service.
USPS said states should do their part to ensure their guidelines allow for the proper time to request and send in ballots and that it’s their responsibility to educate their voters.
The House approved legislation in a rare Saturday session that would reverse recent changes in USPS operations and send $25 billion to shore up the agency ahead of the November election.
More than two dozen Republicans broke with the president and backed the bill, which passed 257-150. Democrats led approval, but the legislation is certain to stall in the GOP-held Senate. The White House said the president would veto it.
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