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NALC Calls on Congress to Provide Covid-Relief to Postal Service, Cites Bipartisan Poll of Seniors/Vets

This week, the House and Senate return to Washington for a three-week work period where their main agenda item will be negotiating what could be the last Covid-relief package before election day. NALC is calling on Congress and the White House to provide direct funding relief to the Postal Service.

Since the pandemic began, calls for financial relief have continued to come from postal stakeholders, the bipartisan Postal Board of Governors and the general public. A new bipartisan poll among seniors and veterans now indicates support for relief too.

North Star Opinion Research and Hart Research Associates surveyed 1,200 registered voters aged 60 or above nationwide, 25 percent of which are veterans from July 10-12. Respondents had strong opinions about the important role the Postal Service plays and the need for financial relief in the next package.

An overwhelming majority of this important demographic support federal financial assistance for the Postal Service in the next round of financial relief legislation, to allow USPS to survive the effects of the pandemic. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed support congressional assistance; the figure is 90 percent among veterans.

Both groups, furthermore, say that their votes in the fall election will be strongly influenced by whether their elected representatives help provide the Postal Service with the same support provided to other sectors of the economy. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they would be less likely to vote for lawmakers who oppose federal support for USPS; a figure that rises to 70 percent among veterans 60 or above.

Not surprisingly, this poll demonstrates unanimous agreement that the Postal Service is important to their lives and well-being--a view shared by 96 percent of those polled and an extraordinary 99 percent of veterans--reflecting in part the fact that USPS is the country's largest civilian employer of military veterans, and that millions of veterans get their VA medications and other important deliveries through the Postal Service. Ninety-seven percent of rural voters and 94 percent of Republican voters agree.

The poll shows overwhelming preference for financial assistance as opposed to other options including raising rates or federal loans. 19% want to address the funding problem through higher shipping rates, while 81% prefer federal funding.

The new poll comes on the heels of a similar bipartisan poll conducted in April by North Star and Hart, which also demonstrated near unanimous support for relief for the Postal Service among all demographics. While both polls were conducted only a few months apart, respondents across all ages and geographic locations continue to cite the critical services provided by the Postal Service such as reliable medication delivery, paying bills and the ability to avoid crowds by shopping for essentials online.

“These two polls should be a signal to Congress that no matter where they live – North, South, East, West, Urban, Suburban, Rural – and no matter who they are – Republicans, Democrats and Independents— all clearly share a strong desire to ensure that the Postal Service keeps serving,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “We call on Congress and the White House to provide the Postal Service with funding to cover pandemic-related loses just as they have by provided billions to sustain corporations, small business and various industries.”

Last month, the Harris Poll® released “The Harris Poll Essential 100,” which put the Postal Service at the top of its list of companies playing an essential role during the crisis. The top 10 in order: United States Postal Service, Clorox, Google, United Parcel Service, Walmart, Amazon, Purell, Microsoft, FedEx, and CVS. Yet, Congress and the White House have refused financial relief to support the agency.

In May, the House passed its package, the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800) but the Senate has yet to determine what priorities it will include in its bill before they negotiate with the House and White House on a final product. As it relates to the Postal Service, there was no indication that the Senate planned to include anything beyond the $10 billion loan approved in the CARES Act, which passed earlier this year and simply adds debt to the Postal Service along with reported negative terms and conditions.

Senate will need to decide whether it will follow the House’s lead and include any direct relief for the Postal Service. $25 billion in direct appropriations to help USPS weather the financial crisis brought on by the pandemic, in addition to the removal of restrictions placed in the CARES Act on the $10 billion in added USPS borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury. Also included in the package is the creation of a” Heroes Fund,” which would provide hazard or premium pay of $13 per hour premium pay on top of regular wages up to $10,000 for essential front-line workers, including letter carriers and other postal employees.

To view the July memo from North Star Public Opinion and Hart Research memo, click here. 

To view the April memo from North Star Public Opinion and Hart Research memo, click here.

CALL TO ACTION: The next few weeks will be critical. Letter carriers should continue to call and send messages to their members of Congress in the House and Senate to demand funding for the Postal Service as part of the next relief package. 

Call the Switchboard to be connected: U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121

Send a message here.