At some point, we’ve all looked forward to getting something in the mail. Whether it was a letter from a friend, a card celebrating a special occasion, or a package of our favorite things, there is no doubt that sending and receiving mail through the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been an experience for us all.
USPS continues to be a critical piece of infrastructure helping many individuals and households in our society navigate daily life. It has weathered many challenging times in our nation’s history and continues to provide relief on the front lines of the current global pandemic. What many of us might take for granted is the significant role the USPS plays in our lives, as it keeps our day to day society moving and connected. Individuals across the country rely on the affordability and accessibility of USPS to receive critical supplies such as food, prescriptions, household items, information from the U.S. Census, and social security and Medicare checks and communications. Without a doubt, the Post Office is an essential service.
The United States Postal Service was formed in 1775 as a result of organizing from postal workers who at the time worked for the federal cabinet-level “post office department”. Today the post office employs over 600,000 workers—40-percent of which are People of Color and women. The workforce of USPS truly reflects the makeup of our nation and our communities across the country, and it has provided people with an opportunity for upward social mobility. Those employed by USPS can serve their communities while also receiving a steady income and benefits. We cannot put their economic livelihoods at risk by leaving the Postal Service underfunded.
Connecting All of Us
The post office continues to connect rural communities to essential services and those around them. Items such as prescriptions, medicine, and much more are delivered through the Postal Service at a low cost—which would otherwise be unaffordable if done through private carriers or would have to travel long distances otherwise to get them. A disruption of Postal Service operations would put rural communities at risk, leaving many unable to send and receive essential items.
While households will primarily be filling out the 2020 Census online, critical information from the Census Bureau is disseminated through the mail. Households are encouraged to self-respond the best they can through the various postcard reminders, additional forms, and paper questionnaires sent in the mail. USPS’s services to deliver mail to all addresses across the country are critical in making sure that we can get a fair and accurate count for the census.
The work the United States Post Office has done at this critical moment in American history underscores how essential its services are to the country, and how important it is that we all work together in order to ensure they have the resources they need to continue that work. Hundreds of thousands of postal workers and letter carriers have continued to do their duty, ensuring that our families receive our medicine, masks, gloves, and purchased household supplies that we need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. They have also delivered stimulus checks, census forms, and other key governmental communications that protect the livelihood of all Americans.
Congress recently introduced the next round of COVID-19 Stimulus relief. This bill, known as the HEROES Act contains some relief for USPS employees, but we must go further than this. Congress must act to protect the United States Postal Service so that it can continue to provide critical services during this pandemic.
Even in these unprecedented times, the USPS continues to provide relief for millions of Americans across the country, it’s time that we get some to them.