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Caravan brings attention to financial status of U.S. Postal Service

CLARKSBURG, W.Va.¬†—¬†Members of the American Postal Workers Union rallied in Harrison County Tuesday in an attempt to send a message to the U.S. Senate to support the Heroes Act.

“We’re trying to get the Senate to support the Heroes Act which was passed by the House of Representatives,” Clarksburg Area President of the American Postal Workers Union Sinni Melvin said. “It provides fund for the Post Office as well as hazard pay for essential workers, which postal workers are.”

The workers and supporters took part in a vehicle caravan, which was part of a nationwide effort calling attention to the petition to be delivered to lawmakers in Washington D.C. with 1 million signatures from the APWU and allied community organizations calling for Congress to protect the Postal Service.

The global pandemic has severely reduced revenue and impacted the nationwide workforce, according to Melvin.

“Right now the Post Office is hemorrhaging cash trying to stay afloat during the coronavirus, we’ve been impacted like every other business has,” Melvin said. “We have to deal with staffing issues because people don’t have childcare or they’ve been personally effected by the coronavirus and are recovering.”

The USPS is self-funded and does not receive federal tax revenue, Melvin said many people don’t realize that. Financial reports say the U.S. Postal Service reported revenues of $19.4 billion in the first quarter of 2020, $363 million lower than Q1 2019.

“We’re not like any other federal agency in the country we don’t need tax dollars to operate, it’s all based off of revenue. So here we are, we’ve lost all our revenue and what are we supposed to do?”

Melvin said the initial round of pandemic relief included money for the U.S. Postal Service but there were too many stipulations and conditions to accept the money.

“In the original round of stimulus funding there was $10 billion granted to the post office but there was a ton stipulations for that,” Melvin said. “We need a bailout that doesn’t hinder us and risk losing the public post office.”

Melvin said the U. S. Postal Service is an economic engine for businesses small and large.

“A lot of these small businesses are directly impacted by the post office because they rely on the post office to do affordable and reliable shipping to reach their customer base,” Melvin said.

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