USPS Receives COVID-19 Financial Relief Following Success of #SaveThePostOffice Campaign
APWU members and our allies won an important victory in our fight to save the Post Office as the US Treasury Department last week released $8.648 billion to the USPS for COVID-19-related postal operating expenses and losses.
The money came from a $10 billion emergency COVID-19 financial relief fund passed in 2020 – a fund that would not have passed without our dedicated campaigning.
In April of 2020, despite overwhelming bipartisan support for COVID-19 related aid for the USPS, then-President Trump and then-Senate-Majority-Leader McConnell blocked efforts to provide meaningful relief for the USPS. Instead, Congress extended USPS’s ability to borrow an additional $10 billion loan from the Treasury Department as part of the CARES Act. This would have saddled the Postal Service with even more debt and would only be available to USPS after meeting the onerous demands of then Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“We knew the last thing the Postal Service needed was a strings attached loan,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard. “APWU members quickly came together to fight for financial relief for the Postal Service by lobbying members of Congress and participating in a nationwide campaign”. We mobilized our community, and pushed for actual emergency COVID relief as opposed to more loans. We made tens of thousands of calls across all 50 states. We held National Days of Action at hundreds post offices across the country, and we spread the word in local and national media as part of the #SaveThePostOffice campaign.
Because we organized together, we overcame the political opposition to postal funding. Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act in December 2020. The Act converted the $10 billion Treasury loan into financial relief available at the Postal Service’s request, which does not need to be paid back. The majority of the money was released on April 2. The remaining money is expected to be moved soon.
While the Postal Service still faces severe financial challenges, this relief fund is an important step forward to securing our jobs and preserving the service we proudly provide the public. Without this aid, the USPS’s current financial crisis would be even deeper, risking job cuts and ever-worsening service.
“APWU members should be proud of our work throughout 2020. We helped lead the campaign for meaningful COVID-related financial relief,” said President Dimondstein. “As we look to the rest of 2021, we maintain our commitment to secure Congressional action to stabilize postal finances, including $25 billion to revitalize postal infrastructure. The struggle continues!”