Essential service in uncertain times - NALC

Page created by Brittany Cox
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC
Volume 133/Number 5                   May 2020                          In this issue
                                                                                                                 President’s Message      1
                                                                                                                 National Officers       30
                                                                                                                 Branch Items            54
                                                                                                                 Branch Election Notices 64

T h e m o n t h l y j o u r n a l o f t h e N AT I O N A L A SS O C I AT I O N O F L E T T E R C A R R I E R S

Essential service
in uncertain times                                                                           —PAGES 10-13
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC

In a world turned upside down by COVID-19,
our immediate goals remain clear

                                      he whiplash of events         ficient supplies (hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, masks,
                                      of the past two months        gloves, etc.), that are not following Centers for Disease
                                      is like nothing we’ve         Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols for employees to
                                      seen in our lifetimes.        be quarantined, that have not implemented social distanc-
                                      Most of us were born          ing practices, that are not providing daily communication
                             after the second World War,            regarding stand-up talks and other safety precautions, that
                             which is probably the event            expect employees to work without protection or that have
                             most similar to what we are            any other issues that put our employees at increased risk.
                             facing now—a truly global ca-             We are working tirelessly to keep our members and other
                             tastrophe that is transforming         postal employees from getting infected in the line of duty,
                             American life at warp speed.           even as we mourn the postal employees (including five city
                             Some 90 percent of all Ameri-          carriers, at the time of this writing) who have lost their lives
                             cans are under “stay-at-home”          as a result of this pandemic. This work will continue, day
                             orders to combat the pandemic          in and day out, until this crisis passes, which will likely be
                             caused by the COVID-19 virus.          months from now.
                             The U.S. economy has been
                             purposely shut down to slow
                             the spread of the virus, which
                                                                       “What letter carriers do is vital to the
      Fredric V.             at this writing has infected              American people. It is life-affirming
                             more than 600,000 Americans
      Rolando                and killed more than 25,000.
                                                                       and essential work. But you must be
                               For letter carriers, the cri-           healthy and safe to do this work—and
sis is particularly challenging. As front-line “essential”
workers who must remain on the job to deliver prescrip-
                                                                       your employer, the venerable U.S.
tion drugs, public health information, goods purchased by              Postal Service, must offer a healthy
sheltering families and other vital mail to keep our country           workplace and be fully functional to
going, you’re being asked to risk your health and even your
lives—and the health and lives of your loved ones—to do                fulfill its public service mission.”
this essential work. Our members have been truly heroic,
overcoming fear to serve our country. I have never been                Regarding our second goal, ensuring that the Postal Ser-
prouder to represent letter carriers.                               vice maintains the revenues necessary to continue operations
   There is tremendous uncertainty about how the future will        through this crisis, we face a daunting task. The impact on
unfold for us, our families, our employer and our country. But      Postal Service revenues of the pandemic and the shutdown
for our great union, the NALC, there are two overriding and         of the U.S. economy is projected to be both devastating and
immediate goals that will not change, no matter what direc-         immediate. Although package volumes are up as we deliver
tion this crisis takes: First, we are dedicated to protecting the   goods for families forced to stay home by the crisis, letter mail
health and safety of letter carriers during this pandemic—and       volume has plummeted. By the end of the year, the Postal Ser-
therefore the health and safety of our families and patrons.        vice expects total volume to fall by 50 to 57 percent—wiping
Second, we will fight to ensure that the Postal Service has the     out up to half of its $70 billion in annual revenues.
resources to continue operations during this crisis.                   Congress must step in to provide financial support to the
   On the first goal, the national officers, staff and other        Postal Service, the way it did in March for private compa-
NALC representatives throughout the country are working             nies damaged by the pandemic-induced recession with a
around the clock to engage postal management to secure              $2.2 trillion relief package that did not include any appro-
needed personal protection equipment (PPE) and other                priations to the Postal Service. Although the Postal Service
health-protecting supplies, while we also are in daily con-         has not needed taxpayer support for more than 40 years,
tact with the postmaster general and her staff to share in-         it needs it now. NALC took the lead in drafting a White Pa-
formation and to negotiate safety-enhancing work rules,             per (see story on p. 4) on how to provide financial relief to
policies and protocols to prevent risks of exposure and in-         the Postal Service from the pandemic; it is posted on our
fections among our members.                                         website. Its core proposal is to secure regular taxpayer ap-
   Please continue to notify us about offices that are not          propriations to cover the gap between the Postal Service’s
being sanitized on a regular basis, that do not have suf-           expenses and revenues for the duration of the crisis.
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC
We are building a lobbying plan and a grassroots cam-           What letter carriers do is vital to the American people. It is
    paign to advance these legislative goals. With the support      life-affirming and essential work. But you must be healthy
    of the other postal unions and our industry partners, we        and safe to do this work—and your employer, the venerable
    must rally the country to pressure Congress and the Trump       U.S. Postal Service, must offer a healthy workplace and be
    administration to maintain the operations of the Postal         fully functional to fulfill its public service mission. NALC’s
    Service until it can recover its pre-pandemic status with re-   focus on these two immediate goals—your safety and the
    spect to volume and revenues.                                   continued operations of the Postal Service—is clear even if
                                                                    the future is uncertain. A lot will have changed by the time
       As the country struggles to overcome this public health
                                                                    you read this, so please regularly check the NALC website,
    crisis and recover from the deep recession we now face,         and use the NALC Member App to keep up to date on the
    the Postal Service and letter carriers will be more important   latest safety/health and legislative issues. God bless all of
    than ever—delivering not just stimulus checks and online        you and your families. Please stay safe.
    purchases, but eventually PPE for households, virus test-
    ing kits and therapeutic drugs for the victims of COVID-19

    “Please continue to notify us about offices that are not being sanitized on a
    regular basis, that do not have sufficient supplies (hand sanitizer, disinfectant
    wipes, masks, gloves, etc.), that are not following CDC protocols for employ-
    ees to be quarantined, that have not implemented social distancing practices,
    that are not providing daily communication regarding stand-up talks and other
    safety precautions, that expect employees to work without protection or that
d   have any other issues that put our employees at increased risk.”
    In addition to contacting your shop steward, branch officer or NBA,                   Region 11: MARK CAMILLI
    NALC has a new resource for members to ask any questions about the                    (Upstate New York, Ohio)
    COVID-19 pandemic: When sending your email,                         440-282-4340
    please be sure to include your name and NALC branch number.
                                                                                          Region 12: DAVID J. NAPADANO
    Region 1: BRYANT ALMARIO                  Region 6: TROY CLARK                        (Pennsylvania, South and Central
    (California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam)        (Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan)               New Jersey)
    909-443-7450                              586-997-9917                                215-824-4826
    Region 2: NICK VAFIADES                   Region 7: TROY FREDENBURG                   Region 13: VADA E. PRESTON
    (Alaska, Utah, Idaho, Montana,            (Minnesota, North Dakota, South             (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
    Oregon, Washington)                       Dakota, Wisconsin)                          West Virginia, Washington, DC)
    360-892-6545                              612-378-3035                                703-840-2010
    Region 3: MICHAEL B. CAREF                Region 8: STEVE LASSAN                      Region 14: RICHARD J. DICECCA
    (Illinois)                                (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi,           (Connecticut, Maine, Massachu-
    630-743-5320                              Tennessee)                                  setts, New Hampshire, Rhode
                                              256-828-8205                                Island, Vermont)
    Region 4: DAN VERSLUIS                                                                617-363-9299
    (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado,             Region 9: LYNNE PENDLETON
    Oklahoma, Wyoming)                        (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina,          Region 15: LARRY CIRELLI
    720-828-6840                              South Carolina)                             (Northern New Jersey, New York,
                                              678-942-5295                                SW Connecticut, Puerto Rico, Vir-
    Region 5: MICHAEL BIRKETT                                                             gin Islands)
    (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas)        Region 10: JAVIER BERNAL                    212-868-0284
    314-985-8040                              (New Mexico, Texas)
                                                                                                 May 2020     The Postal Record         1
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC

                                                                                                                                                        Cover photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times   Cover il

                                   National Association
                                   of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO                                     Contents
                                   Since 1889, representing city letter
                                   carriers employed by the United States
                                   Postal Service.                                                                          Volume 133/Number 5                      May 2020
                                   100 Indiana Ave. NW
                                   Washington, DC 20001-2144
                                   202-393-4695 |

                           RESIDENT OFFICERS
    FREDRIC V. ROLANDO                       MANUEL L. PERALTA JR.
    President                                Director of Safety and Health
    BRIAN RENFROE                            DAN TOTH                              T h e m o n t h l y j o u r n a l o f t h e N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F L E T T E R C A R R I E R S
    Executive Vice President                 Director of Retired Members
    LEW DRASS                                JAMES W. “JIM” YATES
    Vice President                           Director of Life Insurance
    NICOLE RHINE                             Mutual Benefit Association
    Secretary-Treasurer                      202-638-4318
    PAUL BARNER                              STEPHANIE M. STEWART
    Assistant Secretary-Treasurer            Director, Health Benefit Plan
    CHRISTOPHER JACKSON                      Health Benefit Plan
    Director of City Delivery                888-636-6252

                           BOARD OF TRUSTEES
                                LAWRENCE D. BROWN JR.
                                   774 Valencia Street
                                 Los Angeles, CA 90017
    MIKE GILL                                 MACK I. JULION
    18682 SW 93 Court                         3850 S. Wabash Ave.
    Cutler Bay, FL 33157                      Chicago, IL 60653

    Region 1: BRYANT ALMARIO                 Region 9: LYNNE PENDLETON
    (California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam)       (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina,
    3105 E. Guasti Road, Suite 200           South Carolina)
    Ontario, CA 91761                        1101 Northchase Parkway SE, Suite 3
    909-443-7450                             Marietta, GA 30067

    Region 2: NICK VAFIADES
    (Alaska, Utah, Idaho, Montana,           Region 10: JAVIER BERNAL
    Oregon, Washington)                      (New Mexico, Texas)
    5115 NE 94th Ave., Suite A
    Vancouver, WA 98662
                                             23760 Hwy. 59 North
                                             Kingwood, TX 77339
                                                                                   Departments                                               Features
    360-892-6545                             281-540-5627                           1      President’s Message                               4     USPS in need of relief plan
    Region 3: MICHAEL B. CAREF               Region 11: MARK CAMILLI                3      Letter from the Editor                            The COVID-19 pandemic created a
    4979 Indiana Ave., Suite 203
                                             (Upstate New York, Ohio)
                                             5445 Beavercrest Drive, Suite 7
                                                                                    4      News                                              financial emergency for the Postal
    Lisle, IL 60532-3848                     Lorain, OH 44053                      30      Executive Vice President                          Service, but the third financial aid
    630-743-5320                             440-282-4340
                                                                                   31		    Vice President                                    package largely left USPS out
    Region 4: DAN VERSLUIS                   Region 12: DAVID J. NAPADANO          32      Secretary-Treasurer
    (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado,            (Pennsylvania, South and Central
                                                                                   33      Assistant Secretary-Treasurer                     7       “You Are the Current Resident”
    Oklahoma, Wyoming)                       New Jersey)
    12015 E. 46th Ave., Suite 550            Four Neshaminy Interplex, Suite 111   34      Director of City Delivery                         NALC has developed a podcast
    Denver, CO 80239
                                             Trevose, PA 19053
                                                                                   35      Director of Safety and Health                     for letter carriers to listen to news
                                                                                   36      Director of Retired Members                       and helpful information about the
    Region 5: MICHAEL BIRKETT                Region 13: VADA E. PRESTON
    (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas)       (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West   37      Director of Life Insurance                        COVID-19 pandemic
    1828 Craig Road                          Virginia, Washington, DC)             38      Director, Health Benefit Plan
    St. Louis, MO 63146                      P.O. Box 2660
                                                                                   39      Contract Talk
                                                                                                                                             8    Food drive postponed
    314-985-8040                             Ashburn, VA 20146
                                             703-840-2010                          41      Veterans Group                                    The Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out
    Region 6: TROY CLARK
                                                                                   42      Staff Reports                                     Hunger Food Drive, originally set
    (Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan)            Region 14: RICHARD J. DICECCA
    43456 Mound Road, Suite 501              (Connecticut, Maine, Massachu-        44      Muscular Dystrophy Association                    for May 9, has been postponed
    Sterling Heights, MI 48314               setts, New Hampshire, Rhode
    586-997-9917                             Island, Vermont)                      46      Annuity charts                                    10 Essential service
                                             1208A V.F.W. Parkway, Suite 201       48      State Summaries                                   Letter carriers are providing con-
    Region 7: TROY D. FREDENBURG             West Roxbury, MA 02132
    (Minnesota, North Dakota, South          617-363-9299                          49      In Memoriam                                       nection, reassurance and inspira-
    Dakota, Wisconsin)                                                             50      Honor Roll                                        tion to communities across the
    Broadway Place West                      Region 15: LARRY CIRELLI
    1300 Godward St. NE, Suite 2600          (Northern New Jersey, New York,       53      Retiree Reports                                   country even as the coronavirus
    Minneapolis, MN 55413
                                             SW Connecticut, Puerto Rico, Virgin
                                                                                   54      Branch Items                                      puts carriers in harm’s way
                                             347 W. 41st St., Suite 102            59      Cost-of-living adjustment
    Region 8: STEVE LASSAN
    (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi,
                                             New York, NY 10036-6941
                                                                                   62      Nalcrest Update                                   14 Vote-by-mail
    Tennessee)                                                                     63      Auxiliary Update                                  States are considering switching to
    160 Commissioner Drive
    Meridianville, AL 35759-2038
                                                                                   65      Election Notices/Mutual                           vote-by-mail for ease-of-voting and
    256-828-8205                                                                   		      Exchange ads                                      safety reasons

2    The Postal Record                      May 2020
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC
Letter from
                                                                                                                       the Editor

Heroes all
                                 crochety copy editor I once             Around the country, letter carriers have delivered the message
                                 worked with delighted in ad-         through letters to the editor and in other ways, making sure folks
                                 monishing reporters over their       know what letter carriers are doing under difficult circumstances
                           writing. You wrote, for example, that      and understand the impact this crisis could have on the public’s
                           a new record had just been set—and         beloved Postal Service—absent action in Washington.
                           he’d demand to know what the “new”            From Montana’s Julie Quilliam to Chicago’s Mack Julion, Wis-
                           added. By definition, if you set a re-     consin’s Howard Pope to Indiana’s Ronnie Roush, Idaho’s John
                           cord it’s new, he’d thunder. You don’t     Paige to New York’s Charlie Heege, to Detroit’s Benjamin Dixon
                           set an old record. Write that some-        and Sandy Laemmel, and many more, your efforts have remind-
                           one had set an all-time record, and        ed Americans in big cities and small towns of what is at stake.
                           he’d tell you that an “all-time” record       And then there’s the Motor City’s Kelly Mathaw, whose
                           can’t be set until all time has expired.   appearance on Live with Kelly & Ryan, the most-watched
                           Send him a story about someone set-        morning TV entertainment show in the country, gave mil-
                           ting a new, all-time record, and you       lions of Americans a glimpse, through the words of a relat-
                           wouldn’t want to be in his vicinity.       able and humble letter carrier, at the services provided and
                              He also scorned use of the word
      Philip               “unprecedented.” Pretty much ev-
                                                                      the challenges faced by you during this crisis.
                                                                         These are just a few examples of such efforts. Meanwhile,
      Dine                 erything that happens already has
                           happened on God’s green earth,
                                                                      there’s a bigger reality here—each of you, by providing an es-
                                                                      sential service at a time that it is more needed than ever, and
                           he’d tell you; an equally bad reces-       doing so under arduous conditions, is stepping up to the
sion, just as heavy a snowstorm, a worse case of political            challenge. With much of the population under stay-at-home
corruption, and so on.                                                orders, many stores closed and services unavailable, you
   He was not only irritable; he was the copy desk chief, so          are providing invaluable help to folks from coast to coast.
his word ruled.                                                          At perhaps no time in our nation’s history has the term
   Nonetheless, the period we are going through now cer-              “hero” more aptly described America’s letter carriers.
tainly qualifies as unprecedented. We are under attack on
both public health and financial fronts, an entire country—              Also stepping up to the challenge, once again, is Tom
in many ways, almost an entire world—under siege.                     Riley. Last month’s magazine featured the retired letter car-
   One aspect of this, however, is…well, precedented. Once            rier, Air Force veteran of the Vietnam theatre, college profes-
again, letter carriers are rising to the occasion, displaying         sor who teaches the history of postal services over the past
courage and commitment and creativity as you serve oth-               6,000 years, and author of a dozen books including on the
ers in this dangerous situation.                                      U.S. Postal Service and the contributions of letter carriers.
   Our cover story paints a broad picture of what you are                After learning that a friend and active letter carrier had con-
doing, what it means to folks both isolated and fearful, and          tracted the coronavirus, Riley decided to donate $1.50 from
the responses from the public. You are fulfilling a unique            each book sale of We Deliver to the Postal Relief Fund. Since
dual role—helping protect public safety by allowing people            we provided no contact information last month, here it is: email
to remain at home and still get needed supplies, while also  and website;
keeping commerce and the economy going.                               publisher phone number, 800-876-6103, website Heritage-
                                                             and mailing address Heritage Books, Inc., 5810
   Given my job, I’d like to focus on how letter carriers are         Ruatan St., Berwyn Heights, MD 20740.
helping mitigate the existential threat this crisis poses to
the Postal Service. If we don’t effectively counter that threat,
none of the valuable services letter carriers provide to Ameri-         EDITORIAL STAFF:                               Subscription included in membership dues.
                                                                        Director of Communications and Media           First-class subscription available
cans—not only now but also in normal times—will be pos-                  Relations Philip Dine                         for $20 per year (contact Membership
sible. So, communication has never been more important.                 Designer/Web Editor Mike Shea
                                                                        Writer/Editor Rick Hodges

   I have watched President Rolando’s indefatigable efforts to          Writer/Editor Jenessa Wagner                   © 2020 by the National Association of
                                                                                                                       Letter Carriers.
                                                                        Editorial Assistant Clare Foley
get the message to the public—and to elected officials—about                                                           Circulation: 287,000. Union-printed using
the valor of letter carriers and the imperative of including the        The Postal Record (ISSN 0032-5376)
                                                                        is published monthly by the National
                                                                                                                       soy-based inks.
Postal Service, in meaningful fashion, in federal relief plans.         Association of Letter Carriers. Periodicals
                                                                        postage paid at Washington, DC, and at
                                                                                                                       CHANGE of ADDRESS? Contact the Member-
                                                                                                                       ship Department.
That media effort has been joined at NALC Headquarters by Ex-           additional mailing offices.
                                                                                                                       Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
ecutive Vice President Brian Renfroe, Assistant Secretary-Trea-         POSTMASTER: Send address changes               and YouTube by going to
surer Paul Barner, Director of City Delivery Christopher Jackson,       to Membership Department, NALC,
                                                                        100 Indiana Ave. NW, Washington,
Chief of Staff Jim Sauber and others—many others, in fact.              DC 20001-2144.

                                                                                                                 May 2020        The Postal Record                 3
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC

  News from Washington
  White House signs third COVID-19 stimulus package into law,
  next package in development; states look to vote-by-mail

                                    ollowing extensive and tense          Our goal was to ensure that the Postal
                                    negotiations between the House        Service and its workforce are pro-
                                    of Representatives and the Senate,    tected from the public health threat
                               the president signed the Coronavirus       and the economic fallout caused by
                               Aid, Relief, and Economic Security         the virus. To that end, NALC urged the
                               (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) into law at the     Congress to directly appropriate funds
                               end of March.                              to the Service to stave off a potential
                                  The massive $2.2 trillion response      collapse, and to forgive its debt to the
                               to the coronavirus pandemic provided       Treasury. NALC also reminded Con-
                               more than $500 billion in aid to cor-      gress of the urgent need to address
                               porations and included some support        the mandate to pre-fund retiree health
                               to our nation’s hospitals, businesses,     care.
                               and some, but not all, industries             Throughout the process, there was
                               harmed by the economic fallout from        a clear difference between House and
                               the virus. Also included in the final      Senate approaches to postal relief. In
                               package was a major expansion of the       the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-
                               federal-state unemployment insur-          CA) on March 23, proposed broad and
                               ance system as well as a one-time          aggressive measures to help USPS,
                               cash payment of up to $1,200 per           similar to the aid offered to other
                               adult and $500 per child, as well as       major industries facing significant
                               many other relief provisions.              disruptions by the pandemic. Her
                                  Unfortunately for letter carriers       proposal called for the elimination of
                               and the U.S. Postal Service, the pack-     the agency’s current $11 billion debt
                               age did not include direct relief to the   to the Treasury; resetting the Postal
                               USPS. Instead the law simply raised        Service’s borrowing authority to $15
                               the agency’s borrowing authority           billion with an elimination of the
                               from the Treasury by $10 billion.          current $3 billion limit on new debt;
                               This will improve the Postal Service’s     provision of a one-time appropria-
                               liquidity for now, but at a cost of        tion of $25 billion to be available for
                               further indebtedness. The new debt         use between now and September
                               authority comes with uncertain terms       2022; and a provision to prioritize the
                               and conditions that are unlikely to        delivery of medical items and to make
                               be helpful to our employer or us.          other operational adjustments in
                               This “relief” is not nearly enough.        response to the coronavirus crisis.
                               As NALC President Fredric Rolando             In an additional postal-related
                               noted: “Congress will have no choice       matter, the House bill called for $4
                               but to revisit relief of the Postal        billion in funding, partly to expand
                               Service soon. The COVID-19 crisis is       vote-by-mail for this year’s remaining
                               both a public health crisis and an         primaries and the general election in
                               economic crisis—and the U.S. Postal        November. The election security mea-
                               Service is a vitally important tool for    sure also included a national require-
                               combatting these twin calamities.”         ment for the right to cast a ballot by
                                  NALC leadership lobbied the House,      mail for every voter.
                               Senate and administration aggressive-         The initial Senate bill offered no
                               ly in the lead-up to the bill’s passage    relief to the Postal Service whatso-
                               through both chambers of Congress.         ever, despite compelling information

4 The Postal Record May 2020
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC
The U
                                                                                                                                two a
                                                                                                                                the 2
                                                                                                                                and B
                                                                                                                                a con
                                                                                                                                for cu
                                                                                                                                pay f
                                                                                                                                a sing
provided by the Postal Service to the      with the conditional loan in place, the health and safety of both voters and
Senate Homeland Security and Gov-          Postal Service is expected to run out   poll workers throughout the country,
ernmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC)        of money by Sept. 30—threatening        as the public health crisis around the
and its chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson         major disruptions in service.           coronavirus continues to grow. To
(R-WI). That evidence showed that the         With the third stimulus in the       counter these problems, many states
sudden shutdown of major parts of          rearview mirror and national unem-      are working to expand vote by mail,
the U.S. economy was sharply reduc-        ployment figures continuing to rise,    also known as vote-at-home (VAH).
ing mail volume and revenue for the        conversations have already begun        The VAH options are being deployed
Postal Service.                            between the House and Senate on the     for both the remaining state primaries
   NALC and its allies in the mailing      next relief package. With lawmakers     and the general election in Novem-
industry—unions and mailers alike—         out of Washington and back in their     ber. These options include a range of
also weighed in, urging lawmakers to       states working, it is unclear as to the changes, such as moving from requir-
repeal the retiree health pre-funding      timing of the next stimulus package.    ing an excuse for an absentee ballot
mandate, a repeal plan already ad-            As the pandem-
opted by the House in February (H.R.       ic continues to
2382). Although the Postal Service has     shut down major          “Congress will have no choice but
not received taxpayer appropriations       parts of the U.S.        to revisit relief of the Postal Service
since the 1980s—other than small           economy—dra-
ones to carry out congressionally          matically reducing       soon. The COVID-19 crisis is both a
requested activities related to military   mail volume and          public health crisis and an economic
voting and free mail for the blind—        revenue for the
NALC argued that the present crisis        Postal Service,          crisis—and the U.S. Postal Service is
warrants such appropriations now.          NALC and allies          a vitally important tool for combat-
   In coordination with NALC and           will continue to         ting these twin calamities.”
other stakeholders, Senate Minor-          lobby for stronger
ity Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)            measures to pro-
wrangled with the administration’s         tect USPS and the postal workforce.     to no excuse required or transitioning
lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary        We will fight to ensure that the Postal from no-excuse absentee voting to an
Steve Mnuchin, over the major ele-         Service is given financial assistance   entirely vote-at-home system.
ments of the $2.2 trillion legislative     similar to what many private com-          Some states already have full VAH
package. Schumer pushed for major          panies (airlines, hotels, etc.) have    systems or mostly VAH and therefore
relief for the Postal Service. The         received.                               are uniquely suited to address this
ranking member of HSGAC, Sen. Gary            NALC will actively engage Congress   crisis with only minor adjustments
Peters (D-MI), also sought to persuade     and the administration to address the   needed to their current structure.
Chairman Johnson that the USPS             urgent needs facing our employer.       These states are Colorado, Oregon,
needed relief.                             Letter carriers should check the NALC   Washington, Utah (which reached 100
   Johnson eventually conceded that        government affairs webpage for the      percent VAH last year) and Hawaii
direct aid was warranted and urged         most up-to-date information about       (which will reach 100 percent VAH
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McCon-        the next stimulus bill and remain in    this year). Arizona, California, and
nell (R-KY) to include a $13 billion       contact with their members of Con-      Montana already have a large major-
appropriation to the Postal Service in     gress throughout this crisis to convey  ity of voters who vote by mail and are
the stimulus legislation. Despite the      the urgent need for funding.            prepared to expand to a VAH system
Republican chairman’s support, the                                                 for all voters. Nevada, New Jersey,
                                           States expanding vote-at-home           Virginia and the District of Columbia
administration’s negotiating team, led
                                           options to keep elections safe          all offer no-excuse permanent mail-in
by Mnuchin, rejected the urgent relief
and opted only for a $10 billion line of      It is becoming increasingly clear    ballot options as well.
credit with “strings attached.” Even       that in-person voting threatens the        That leaves 39 states with varying

                                                                                         May 2020   The Postal Record       5
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC

  levels of absentee voting that will      sentee voting, but voters must make       sentee voting, but voters must make
  need to find a way to respond to the     sure to apply.                            sure to apply.
  current crisis, whether that be for an     June 20: Louisiana moved its April         As these changes make clear, the
  upcoming primary or for the Novem-                                                 pandemic has dramatically disrupted
                                           4 presidential primary to June 20.
  ber general election. States that have                                             the 2020 election process. In some
                                           Louisiana requires an excuse for an
  not already held their primaries are                                               cases, it has created chaos. Notably,
                                           absentee ballot application to be ac-
  changing voting dates and making                                                   Wisconsin’s primary was held on
  adjustments where applicable.                                                      April 7 despite attempts to change the
    As of the date this issue of the         June 23: Mississippi and North
                                                                                     date in response to the threat to pub-
  magazine went to press, the adjusted     Carolina moved their state runoff
                                                                                     lic health. In the week before the vote,
  schedule for primary elections for       elections from March 31 and May 12,
                                                                                     Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called for
  May and beyond is as follows:            respectively, to June 23. Kentucky and
                                                                                     a special session of the state legis-
                                           New York moved their presidential
    May 2: Kansas cancelled in-person                                                lature, requesting that lawmakers
                                           and state Primaries from May 19 and
  voting for the May 2 Democratic presi-                                             postpone the primary. The Republi-
                                           April 23 respectively, to June 23. Vir-
  dential primary, which will now be                                                 can-controlled legislature refused to
                                           ginia moved its June 9 state primary
  held entirely by mail.                                                             postpone it, prompting Evers to issue
                                           to June 23.
                                                                                     an executive order to postpone in-
    May 22: Hawaii cancelled in-person
                                             •   Mississippi and Kentucky            person voting and extend the receipt
  voting for the April 4 presidential
                                                 both require an excuse for an       deadline for mail-in ballots to June 9.
  primary and extended the deadline
                                                 absentee ballot application to         Later that same day, the Wisconsin
  for mail-in ballots until May 22.
                                                 be accepted.                        Supreme Court blocked the gov-
    June 2: Connecticut, Delaware                                                    ernor’s executive order in a 4-to-2
                                             •   North Carolina has no-excuse-
  and Rhode Island moved their April                                                 decision by the court’s conservative
                                                 required absentee voting, but
  28 presidential primaries to June 2.                                               majority, offering no explanation for
                                                 voters must make sure to apply,
  Indiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania                                                 the ruling. Also on that day, the U.S.
                                                 while New York is transitioning
  moved both their state primaries and                                               Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision,
                                                 to no-excuse-required absentee
  presidential primaries from May 5 for                                              again by the court’s conservative
  Indiana and April 28 for the other two                                             majority, blocked a lower court’s six-
  to June 2.                                 •   Virginia has no-excuse-required     day extension of Wisconsin’s receipt
                                                 permanent absentee voting, but      deadline for mailed-in ballots. In
    •   Connecticut, Delaware and In-
                                                 voters must make sure to apply.     response to the decision, Justice
        diana all require an excuse for
        an absentee ballot application        July 7: New Jersey moved its June 2    Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that “the
        to be accepted.                    presidential and state primary to July    court’s order, I fear, will result in
                                           7. New Jersey has no-excuse-required      massive disenfranchisement.”
    •   Rhode Island, Maryland and                                                      This sequence of events meant that
                                           permanent absentee voting, but vot-
        Pennsylvania all have no ex-                                                 if the majority of Wisconsin voters
                                           ers must make sure to apply.
        cuse required absentee voting,                                               wanted their ballots to be counted,
        but voters must make sure to         July 14: Alabama and Texas moved
                                                                                     they were forced by the Wisconsin
        apply.                             their state runoff elections from
                                                                                     legislature, the Wisconsin Supreme
                                           March 31 and May 26, respectively, to
    June 9: West Virginia and Georgia                                                Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court
                                           July 14. Both states require an excuse
  moved their presidential and state                                                 to go in-person to cast their votes,
                                           for absentee ballot application to be
  primaries from May 12 and May 19                                                   risking their heath and that of others.
  respectively to June 9. West Virginia                                              These judicial decisions may have
  requires an excuse for an absentee         Aug. 11: Georgia moved its July 21      far-broader implications for states
  ballot application to be accepted.       state runoff election to August 11.       that have not yet postponed their
  Georgia has no-excuse-required ab-       Georgia has no-excuse-required ab-        primaries. Many states that have

6 The Postal Record May 2020
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC
been heavily reliant on in-person            time of uncertainty and crisis. To        of state, search for the office of elec-
voting will be guided by the fiasco in       find the most accurate and up to date     tions (example: Hawaii). You also
Wisconsin.                                   information–specific to your state’s      can visit the National Conference of
   NALC encourages all states to adopt       elections—you can visit the webpage       State Legislatures webpage on state
policies that keep our elections and         of your state’s secretary of state. If    primary dates, which is tracking all
citizens safe and secure during this         your state does not have a secretary      the schedule changes. PR

NALC launches “You Are the Current Resident”
podcast with COVID-19 pandemic information
        ALC has been at the forefront
        of unions using communica-
        tions technology to deliver
informative and up-to-date messaging
straight to letter carriers, most recently
through social media and push notifi-
cations on the NALC Member App. But
now it’s bringing the message straight
to letter carriers’ ears.
   NALC has launched the weekly
podcast, “You Are the Current Resi-
dent” on Podbean and other popular
podcasting venues, including iTunes,
Spotify and Google Play.                                                               Podcast hosts NALC Executive Vice President
   During each episode, NALC Execu-                                                    Brian Renfroe (l) and Assistant to the Presi-
                                                                                       dent for Contract Administration Mark Sims
tive Vice President Brian Renfroe and                                                  (r) discuss a union administration topic with
Assistant to the President for Contract                                                Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Rhine.
Administration Mark Sims discuss
vital topics affecting the letter carrier                                                 and can click “Follow” to receive
craft and the union. The COVID-19 pan-                                                    updates when new episodes are
demic and its impact on letter carriers                                                   released.
and the Postal Service have domi-              Accessing the podcast is easiest on      • On your computer or mobile
nated early episodes since the podcast       Podbean:                                     browser, go to youarethecurrent-
debuted in March (for more about the                                             and click
                                              • On smartphones, simply go to the
podcast, see Renfroe’s column on page                                                     on the play button of the episode
                                                Apple App Store or Google Play
30). The show’s format also includes                                                      you wish to listen to.
                                                Store and download the Podbean
interviews with other NALC leaders
to talk in depth about issues affecting         Podcast App & Player. Once you           For additional audio content, select
letter carriers and the union.                  have downloaded the app, open          articles and columns from each issue
   In just the first two weeks since the        it and create an account (or sign      of The Postal Record are recorded and
launch of its first episode, listeners          on as a guest) and go to the search    will be uploaded on a monthly basis.
have played the podcast more than               icon at top and enter “You Are the     The audiobook version of The Postal
15,000 times, and the reviews have              Current Resident.” From there, you     Record also is available to listen to on
been overwhelmingly positive.                   can listen to the available episodes   Podbean. PR

                                                                                              May 2020      The Postal Record          7
Essential service in uncertain times - NALC

  Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive postponed
          he 28th annual Letter Carriers’    drive will be able to safely participate in    drive, which
          Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive,      mid-May.                                       is held an-
          scheduled for May 9, has been        NALC and our national partners—              nually on
  postponed. NALC and our national           the U.S. Postal Service, United Food           the second
  partners are fully committed to re-        and Commercial Workers International           Saturday
  scheduling the food drive later this       Union (UFCW), National Rural Letter            in May. All
  year. A date has not yet been set.         Carriers’ Association, Valpak, United          food col-
      In addition to the generosity of       Way Worldwide, AFL-CIO, Valassis,              lected stays
  residents across the country, the annual   Kellogg Co. and CVS Health—know                in the local
  success of the food drive is largely due   well that food assistance is a critical        community
  to the efforts of letter carriers, other   need for many during this difficult            and helps
  postal employees, postal customers,        time, and we remain strongly com-              stock home-
  community volunteers and many more.        mitted to helping those in need in             less shelters, food pantries, church
  Their safety is of paramount impor-        the communities we serve across the            shelves and more. While we cannot
  tance. Much of the country is currently    United States. Even aside from the             safely conduct the 2020 food drive
  under shelter in place or similar advi-    current crisis, one in eight Americans,        on its traditional date, we encour-
  sories, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,      including millions of children, seniors        age those who would participate to
  and public health authorities such as      and military veterans, are unsure              consider donations that can be safely
  the Centers for Disease Control and Pre-   where their next meal will come from.          made to food banks in the form of food
  vention (CDC) have issued guidelines         We look forward to once again hold-          or financial assistance. Letter carri-
  that include social distancing. While      ing the largest one-day food drive in          ers, our national partners, community
  it is unknown how long these guide-        the country when it is safe to do so.          supporters and volunteers will be
  lines will remain in place, it is highly     Americans across the country do-             prepared to Stamp Out Hunger® once
  unlikely that those involved in the food   nate food during the letter carrier food       again when it is safe to do so. PR

  Convention deadlines approaching
                                                            eadlines for the 72nd bien-         in July’s Postal Record for the mem-
       Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,                        nial convention in Honolulu         bership to review.
    the status of NALC’s 72nd Biennial                      are approaching quickly. Dele-         Resolutions to be considered by
    Convention, scheduled for Aug. 17-              gate eligibility lists for the convention   delegates also must be received
    21, remains uncertain. NALC will con-           have been mailed to all branches.           by the June 17 deadline in order to
    tinue to provide the latest updates             The lists must be completed and re-         be printed in the Resolutions and
    in The Postal Record and the NALC               turned to Secretary-Treasurer Nicole        Amendments book provided to del-
    Bulletin, on the NALC website at                Rhine’s office at NALC Headquarters         egates. Resolutions received after and through NALC’s social              no later than June 18 for branch            June 18 still may be considered at
    media channels.                                 representatives to be registered as         the convention.
       With that in mind, information is            delegates to the convention.                   Branches wishing to sell items in
    provided at right regarding convention             All proposed amendments to the           the designated branch sales area
    deadlines in the event the convention           NALC Constitution to be submitted           during the convention must contact
    can proceed as normal. Additionally,            for consideration at the conven-            Rhine’s office to secure guidelines
    new information about convention                tion must be received by Rhine’s            and forms. The completed forms
    hotels and various things to do on the          office by June 17. That date is 60          must be returned to Headquarters
    island can be found on the convention           days in advance of the convention,          by June 18.
    page of the NALC website.                       as prescribed by the Constitution.             Go to for more conven-
                                                    Proposed amendments will appear             tion news. PR

8 The Postal Record May 2020
TSP to provide exception for coronavirus
hardship; more changes coming this fall
       s part of the financial recovery         By adding FEMA-
       package Congress passed and           declared natural
       the president signed into law in      disasters to the list
March, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)         of eligible expenses
is expected to waive the 10 percent          for financial hard-
tax on early TSP withdrawals of up to        ship, the TSP will
$100,000 for people affected by the          eliminate a step or
coronavirus outbreak in some way,            two, as it no longer
retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020. If the policy   would be required
goes into effect, those who use this         to inform par-
waiver will have three years to either       ticipants when they
pay the tax or reimburse their plans.        are eligible for this
   TSP spokeswoman Kim Weaver                reason.
explained that the category of “people          For those who
who would be eligible [is] quite broad:      don’t know, the
if you’ve been diagnosed with COV-           TSP works like
ID-19, if your spouse or dependent has       a 401(k) in the
been diagnosed, or if you’ve experi-         private sector, al-
enced adverse financial consequences         lowing the em-
like you’ve been laid off, unable to         ployee to save with
work due to child care, etc.”                tax advantages
   The COVID-19 pandemic is not the          and to benefit from
only hardship exception at the TSP.          employer contribu-
While existing rules already allow           tions. TSP is an es-
participants to withdraw money early         sential part of most
for 1) negative cash flow, 2) medical        carriers’ retirement plans. Under the       participants, and all participants can
expenses for the participant, spouse         Federal Employees Retirement System         change their contribution rates at any
or dependents, 3) repairs or property        (FERS), which covers most letter carri-     time.
replacement from a personal casualty         ers, new career carriers are automati-         The change is an effort by the TSP
loss, or 4) attorneys’ fees or court costs   cally enrolled in TSP and contribu-         to help its participants save more
for a participant’s divorce or separa-       tions are taken from their paychecks,       and better prepare for retirement.
tion, they also grant special exceptions     unless they opt out.                        According to the FTRIB, 26 percent of
for natural disasters.                          One more change is coming to the         participants were contributing less
   Previously, the TSP relied on the         TSP, this one aimed at new partici-         than 5 percent of their pay at the end
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue      pants. The Federal Retirement Thrift        of 2018.
guidance and make announcements              Investment Board (FTRIB) will set              “Increasing the rate to 5 percent
authorizing participants to take hard-       automatic contribution rates at 5           not only increases the amount that
ship withdrawals for specific events,        percent for those participants, with        a participant saves from his or her
such as the California wildfires of 2017,    the change going into effect on Oct. 1,     basic pay but also ensures that that
but the IRS decided to stop issuing          the TSP announced in February. New          participant receives the full amount
these announcements. Instead, it             career letter carriers will automatically   of agency/service matching contribu-
added lost expenses and income due           begin contributing 5 percent—up from        tions he or she is entitled to, both
to a Federal Emergency Management            the current 3 percent—of their basic        of which allow the participant…to
Agency (FEMA)-declared natural disas-        pay toward the TSP, maximizing the          achieve significantly greater retire-
ter to the list of “safe harbor” expenses    matching contributions from USPS.           ment savings,” the FRTIB wrote in the
eligible for financial hardship.                This change won’t affect existing TSP    proposed rule. PR

                                                                                               May 2020   The Postal Record       9
Photos from around the country (from top):
                    A letter carrier in Austin, TX; some young
                    patrons thank their carrier with sidewalk chalk
                    in Oklahoma City; and a humorous note for a
                    carrier in Lehigh Valley, PA.

   Essential service
   in uncertain times
                                                                           etter carriers have a long history of serving
                                                                           the United States in times of crisis. Even in
                                                                           normal times, we are called to service simply
                                                                           by doing our jobs, binding the nation together
                                                                      as we deliver vital documents, prescription medi-
                                                                      cations and supplies to people with limited access
                                                                      to the outside world. Our mission becomes all the
                                                                      more important when a crisis confronts the public.
                                                                        Our service in difficult times transcends the
                                                                      delivery of mail. By delivering our routes, we bring
                                                                      a sense of normalcy and stability to anxious cus-
                                                                      tomers. And by doing our jobs even as we struggle
                                                                      with the same challenges facing the people we
                                                                      serve, letter carriers become an inspiration, one
                                                                      delivery at a time.
                                                                        We have served this way though many crises and
                                                                      disasters. Fear and uncertainty have gripped the
                                                                      public before, and letter carriers have responded.
                                                                      After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the
                                                                      subsequent anthrax attacks, after the Houston area
                                                                      suffered the worst flooding in U.S. history two-and-
                                                                      a-half years ago, after numerous power blackouts,
                                                                      hurricanes, tornadoes or wildfires left residents iso-
                                                                      lated, anxious and in need of a link to the outside
                                                                      world, letter carriers have stepped in to bring vital
                                                                      service and a steady presence.
                                                                        Now, we are providing connection, reassurance
                                                                      and inspiration to communities across the coun-
                                                                      try as the coronavirus pandemic affects people in
                                                                      every state in the union.
10 The Postal Record May 2020
A letter carrier in West
                                             Michigan received this
                                             note from one young

   The unique nature of this crisis,         simply see the mail
with many tens of millions of people in      in their mailboxes,
isolation or even quarantined at their       our customers feel
homes, makes our role particularly im-       a connection to the
portant. Across the country, Americans       rest of the world
have become disconnected for an ex-          and for some, hope
tended time from jobs, from businesses       for the future.
they rely on and from friends and fam-          “The power
ily. Now more than ever, they depend         of simply being
on the Postal Service for connections to     there—of show-
each other and to the outside world.         ing the public that
                                                                                             A family in High Point, NC, is writing
   We are providing many people with         someone they rely on is getting the job
                                                                                           regular inspirational messages in chalk
prescription and over-the-counter            done—should not be underestimated,”
                                                                                           on the walk leading to their mailbox,
medications and important docu-              NALC President Fredric Rolando said.
                                                                                           reported Greensboro, NC, news outlet
ments, as we always do. We also are          “When Americans see letter carriers
                                                                                           WFMY. “Thank you postal carrier,” one
delivering additional vital supplies         and the daily mail, it offers a measure
                                                                                           message read. “Sorry 4 the dog.”
that many of our customers would             of reassurance in these unprecedented
                                                                                             In Indiana, an anonymous chalk-
                                             times that the nation continues to
leave their homes to buy in stores in                                                      ster went to the post office to thank
normal circumstances, but cannot                                                           local postal employees. “Thanks for
                                                The public we serve understands
because of supply shortages, orders                                                        taking care of our mail,” read the mes-
                                             that as we demonstrate the daily
to shelter in place or health concerns.                                                    sage written with green chalk on the
                                             resolve of the nation, we are struggling
The Postal Service will deliver checks                                                     sidewalk outside the Topeka, IN, Post
                                             with the same inconveniences and
to many households as part of the na-                                                      Office. The postmaster discovered the
                                             anxieties that everyone else is facing.
tionwide economic stimulus and relief                                                      anonymous message of thanks when
                                                “Like other Americans, letter carriers
law—the largest in U.S. history—that                                                       he went outside to sanitize the front
                                             must also protect our health, manage
Congress passed, and the president           our fears and tend to family members          door handles, reported the local news-
signed into law, in response to the          at home during this crisis,” Rolando          paper, the Goshen News.
economic impact of the pandemic.             said. “That is what makes our efforts to        In nearby South Bend, IN, a letter
   In the midst of the crisis, letter car-   deliver the mail truly heroic.”               carrier’s sister is leaving “goody bags”
riers are being called upon to keep our         And Americans everywhere are ex-           containing essential supplies such
democracy functioning. The U.S. Cen-         pressing their thanks. In newspapers, on      as tissues, hand sanitizer, wipes and
sus Bureau is busy conducting the ten-       social media and even with handmade           gloves, along with notes of encourage-
year census, which includes mail to and      signs, their messages of gratitude and        ment and thanks, for her letter carrier,
from millions of households. Primary         encouragement have reached individual         South Bend’s ABC 57 news channel
elections for the upcoming presidential      letter carriers and sometimes made            reported. The woman has urged others
and congressional elections will also        news. Just as they show their apprecia-       in her neighborhood to do the same
rely heavily on the mail, more than          tion for others who are giving extra effort   through social media.
ever before—millions of voters will cast     in this crisis for the benefit of all—from      Members of a social group for teens
their votes by mail, and more states         healthcare workers to police officers and     with autism in the Dallas-Fort Worth
are switching rapidly to vote-by-mail        firefighters to grocery store employees—      area made “Thank You Boxes” for let-
or considering the option (see story         people also are giving thanks to postal       ter carriers and other delivery services,
on page 14). As we play this essential       employees for their dedication.               news channel NBC 5 of North Texas
role, we perform an unspoken service,           Here, The Postal Record brings you         reported. The teens are placing boxes
helping to soothe the anxious feelings       some examples of public recognition           outside their front doors filled with
of many. Whether they see us in our          and support for the service that letter       bottles of water and snacks for carriers
uniforms and trucks on the street or         carriers are providing in uncertain times.    as a token of appreciation.

                                                                                                 May 2020     The Postal Record        11
The note for one letter
                                                             carrier in Greensboro, NC.

                                                                 The Western Mass            “I want to give a huge shout-out to all
                                                              News channel (WGGB-         the postal carriers, and I hope that the
                                                              TV) of Springfield, MA,     public will give their carriers a thank you
                                                              profiled Springfield        soon,” a reader wrote to the South Bend
                                                              Branch 46 member            Tribune of South Bend, IN. “The Postal
                                                              Harrison Grant,             Service is there through all conditions
                                                              whose famous smile is       and this time is more trying for everyone.”
                                                              a welcome sight to his         “Kudos to the postal workers, who
                                                              customers these days        are processing and delivering mail,
                                                              in Longmeadow, where        medicines and supplies to every U.S.
                                                              he has carried mail for     household during this pandemic,”
                                                              33 years.                   a reader wrote in a letter to the Long
                                                                 Everyone he delivers     Island, NY news outlet
      In New York, Boston and other cit-                      to is at home and grate-       A columnist for the Longmont, CO
   ies and small towns, residents have       ful for his service—even at a distance,      Times-Call newspaper singled out
   organized a collective cheer to thank     he says. “They’re all just happy to see      letter carriers for special thanks for
   heroes, including postal employees,       me because they appreciate the smile         serving despite the stress of the times.
   who are working during the crisis.        I bring to them,” Grant told the Fox/        “The fact that they keep going and
   The cheer is modeled on an event that     ABC/CBS affiliate, “and they always          provide our readers and residents with
   began in European countries locked        say I make their day, which is a good        essential news and packages makes
   down by the coronavirus crisis and        thing for me because I like to see them      this situation a whole lot more man-
   has spread to communities worldwide.      happy.”                                      ageable,” he wrote.
   From their windows and front porches         Grant told WGGB that the most                “The United States Postal Service
   at the appointed time, residents clap     important thing he can do is to keep         and that promise of mail delivery
   and cheer all at once, hoping to make     smiling. “I think it’s a better time than    through rain, sleet, snow, and now...
   enough noise to be heard by those         ever at this moment with so many             add global pandemic to the list,” wrote
   they appreciate. Participants are using   people stressed out, not being able to       a columnist for
   #ClapBecauseWeCare on social media        pay their bills or go to work and to see     of Western New York. “Thank you for
   to spread the idea.                       someone come smiling, bringing them          working so hard.”
      Even the United Nations has noticed.   their mail,” he said. “I think it’s the         “I would like to take this opportunity
   UNI Global Union, the worldwide           best thing that a letter carrier can do at   to thank postal employees for all their
   federation of postal unions, issued       this moment.”                                hard work in delivering mail and pack-
   a joint statement with the Universal         Meanwhile, newspapers, in editori-        ages during this pandemic. They come
   Postal Union (UPU), the United Na-        als, columns and letters to the editor       to work every day and do their job de-
   tions agency representing the postal      from residents. have joined in spread-       livering packages, medicines, letters,
   sector, about the crisis. “The UPU and    ing the praise.                              etc.,” a reader wrote in a letter to the
   UNI Global Union thank all postal            “Just a quick shout-out to all those      Daily Freeman of Kingston, NY. “We
   operators, postal unions and postal       in our community who are working             should all be grateful for the excellent
   workers globally for their dedication     so hard to maintain the many ‘little         job the U.S. Postal Service is doing.”
   and engagement to keeping the postal      things’ we’ve too long taken for grant-         Citing postal employees along with
   network running in times of crisis,”      ed. Grocers restocking shelves around        healthcare workers and others, the Rio
   the statement said. “We firmly believe    the clock. U.S. Postal Service carriers      Rancho Observer thanked essential
   we will emerge from this pandem-          delivering mail each afternoon,” a           workers of all stripes for their service.
   ic stronger and more resilient, while     reader wrote in a letter to the Park City,   “Too many of you have been under-
   proudly delivering on our mandates to     UT, Park Record. “Thank you. Your            appreciated for too long,” the New
   serve the world’s peoples.”               diligence nudges fear towards faith.”        Mexico newspaper’s editors wrote.

12 The Postal Record May 2020
Right: A chalk message
                     written outside a post office
                     in Topeka, KS
                     Below: A carrier in Garden
                     Grove, CA, shows off the
                     thank you card he received.

“Thank you for playing essential roles,       ans who are serving the people of the        deliver through anything else in the
even before now. We hope no one,              United States a second time, delivering      future. So there’s no need to worry
including you, ever again doubts how          the mail during this epidemic.”              about the mail stopping,” he wrote.
much of a difference you make.”                  In a letter to the Hamilton County, IN,   “Remember our motto of ‘neither rain,
   People are also flooding social me-        Times, Carmel, IN Branch 888 President       nor snow, or sleet.’ ”
dia with messages—including photos,           Ronnie Roush told the community that           Reflecting on the challenges every
artwork and videos—of support and             letter carriers will continue to serve,      family, including his own, faces in these
gratitude for postal employees and            and he asked for support in return.          times, Ashley offered words of encour-
other essential workers. A sample of             “We take great pride in serving our       agement: “As long as everyone contin-
messages posted on Twitter:                   communities and we gladly accept our         ues to wash their hands, practice social
   “To every U.S. postal worker— thank        jobs being deemed ‘mission critical’         distancing, and helping those in need,
you for continuing to sort and deliver        where we will be working everyday            we will get through this crisis.”
our mail and packages!” – Wendy               throughout this pandemic,” Roush
Mills, reporter for Western New York          wrote. “We strive to give you a sense of
news channel Spectrum News                    normalcy and hope you enjoy seeing
   “Our postal workers are vital to de-       your letter carrier or the white trucks
liver supplies and keep the economy go-       with the Eagle on the side in every
ing during this pandemic.” – Arriadna         neighborhood six and seven days a
   “Think of the people who do leave          week. Now is the time to stay at home
home every day to run the stores, fac-        and allow us to bring much needed
tories, and warehouses on which we            supplies to your front door.”
rely to live. Think of the postal work-          “I just want to thank all of our
ers who sort and deliver your mail,           hard working Montanans,” including
the sanitation workers who clean our          medical professionals and delivery
cities, the outreach teams helping the        personnel, Montana State Association
homeless and hungry.” – Ali Velshi,           President and Great Falls, MT Branch
television host                               650 member Julie Quilliam wrote
   “To the supermarket employees,             in a letter to the Great Falls Tribune.
postal workers, delivery truck driv-          “The letter carriers of Montana are out
ers, and all of the doctors, nurses and       delivering a sense of normalcy six days
medical professionals, thank you for          a week in these uncertain times.”
helping us make it through this diffi-           Alan Ashley, an Ann Arbor, MI
cult time as best we can. We appreciate       Branch 434 member who has carried
you!” – U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA)           mail in Ann Arbor for 26 years, dem-            Working as a letter carrier may be try-
   “Be kind to your postal worker,            onstrated the spirit of confidence and       ing these days, President Rolando said,
nurse, bus driver, delivery guy, grocery      the inspiration of letter carriers when      but our union, our fellow carriers and
clerk. They’re heroes.” – Zac Petkanas        he wrote a column on the Chelsea, MI,        our customers are all on the same side.
   Letter carriers have taken to the          news site                    “The people we serve day in and day
media as well to offer words of support          “The USPS was the only govern-            out understand that we may have to
to their communities.                         ment agency open for business the day        make changes to our service and how
   Former Idaho State Association             after the 9/11 attacks. The USPS has         we work during this time,” Rolando
President John Paige wrote the Twin           continued delivering mail and pack-          said, “and I think most understand
Falls News-Times in support of carriers.      ages through 9/11, anthrax threats, the      and appreciate that. They are cheering
“I would especially like to thank the         2003 East Coast blackout, and other          us as we do our essential work.”
letter carriers of the U.S. Postal Ser-       national incidents,” Ashley wrote.              For updates on the evolving situa-
vice. Many of them are military veter-           “Letter carriers will continue to         tion, go to PR

                                                                                                 May 2020     The Postal Record         13
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