Postal service struggles with pandemic, politics

The United States Postal Service has recently been going through a lot. First of all they just elected and hired a new Postmaster General Louis Devoy. Secondly we are in the middle of a pandemic, thirdly we are in an election year. Then with all this craziness there is even talk of defunding the Postal Service. needless to say the Postal Service affects all of us in one way or another.

The United States Postal Service is the second oldest federal department of the United States of America. It was founded in 1776. It continues to be the most relied upon establishment to send mail. Although there are competitors like Amazon, FedEx and UPS. None of those businesses mail actual letters.

Due to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement act that passed in 2006, the post office is required to save money for future retirement and health benefits 50 years in advance. Last Year the post office reported nearly a $9 billion loss in revenue due to the decrease of first class mail. The post office is in need of the money to be able to have enough workers for the amount of mail in ballots that are expected this month.

Because of the pandemic, the post office has been trying to stay afloat. They requested $25 billion which was then rejected by President Trump. This year is an election year and the USPS will be expecting a lot of mail in ballots. Especially with a pandemic happening and trying to social distance, mail in voting will be the safest way to vote this election. And with a new Postmaster General there are now a lot of new policies to take account of.

Postmaster General Louis Dejoy was appointed by President Trump in May 2020. He is the first person in two decades to be appointed to such a position without working in the USPS prior and working his way up. Since he has been appointed he has since eliminated overtime for employees and mandated that mail that was not yet delivered be held till the next day. Because of this change there has been a great delay in delivery, that can affect the mail in ballots.

Not only will defunding the post office affect the outcome of the election but it also affects a lot of people that rely on the USPS. Small business owners, military, newspaper publications, and the elderly rely on the USPS to mail and receive a variety of things.

The Moore County News Press in Dumas Texas heavily relies on the postal service. They mail out 2,975 papers twice a week, which equals 5,950 papers per week, 12 of those papers are mailed out of town.

"We put out a paper twice a week and we rely on the USPS for both in county and out of county delivery of the significant portion of our product," said Editor Michael Wright.

They also rely on the USPS to mail out bills to their subscribers and to receive the payments as well. Most of the money they receive is through the mail. If USPS gets defunded then they would have to scramble to find other ways to run their business.

Cultivate Owners Beth Anne Clark and Emma Lee, don't usually ship out any product but they do rely on the USPS for billing as well. They prefer having a paper trail, so they like having physical bills for their bookkeeping. Blessings from above owner Nita Tyler Crownover said that in their shop they ship out a couple items once or twice a month. Both of these businesses understand the importance of the USPS but if it got defunded then they still have other options.

"If it gets defunded it becomes someone else's business, either Fedex or UPS will pick it up, or someone else can capitalize on it," said Emma Lee

Union representative Bobbie Rodriguez addressed certain concerns about how the USPS is handling COVID-19 and the election and how the work environment has changed since DeVoy.

Rodriguez said that as far as covid goes the usps is taking precautions to keep safe. In a public statement put out by the USPS news team they said, "We continue to follow the strategies and measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health departments."

Rodriguez also opened about how DeVoy's presence has changed the environment.

"We can not have any trucks to be out late, they might be 5 min late and we have our daily deadline but we do try to make that goal," Rodriguez said.

Regarding the mail-in ballots, Rodriguez says that they take them very seriously and that the ballots are of the highest priority. She assures me that voters shouldn't be nervous. They have been handling mail-in ballots for years and even though there should be a surge this year, they will be taken seriously.

"We make them a priority each and every day, we make sure we roundate them so they get there on time," said Rodriguez, "We take them pretty seriously and make sure they are marked and out."

With the craziness of this year, defunding the post office will affect a lot of people. Not only voters, and small businesses but also the people that work for the USPS.

"I put everything into it, a lot of us have, and a lot of us have been there for years and made it a career. It's important to us and we use it ourselves," Rodriguez said, "I hope we get the funding, I really want it, we need it."

It is important to keep in mind all the USPS is going through right now and to try to support them whether by mailing a letter or package. The United Postal Service is crucial to the country, if they end up defunded that not only affects postal workers but also small business, publications, military, the elderly, and people who are voting online.