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April 28, 2020 transcript of From The Presidents Desk

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 04/28/20

Greetings everyone!

Welcome to the April edition of “From the President’s Desk”.  

Let me begin by saying how proud I am of all of our active members who are showing the fantastic leadership that you do every day as you go into your post offices to make sure that the mail is delivered and that the employees are safe.    Your dedication to duty is unprecedented and I just wanted to make sure you know how much I appreciate your hard work and how much, I am sure, every person in America is thankful for your efforts.

For some of you the challenges have been greater than for others; however, every American is facing this pandemic in one way, or the other; however, most of us are not on the front lines and dealing with the questions from employees and the public every day.    In addition, there are now additional reports that have to be done every day to make sure that, as an organization, the Postal Service stays on top of where you are at as far as the cleaning supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that you need to keep yourselves, your employees and the public safe are at.   I know that it can be overwhelming at times but I have been assured by USPS leadership that these reports will end once we are beyond the pandemic.

Once again, I want to remind all of our members and everyone else that you need to make sure you are taking care of yourselves, as well.  Make sure you are getting enough rest, that you are eating properly and as always practice the safe handwashing techniques that are now part of our everyday lives.   Do whatever you can to avoid being a victim to the Coronavirus.  

On a telecom I was on this morning there was a discussion about the decrease in mail volume in all product lines except for parcels.    The decrease over the past two weeks is in the neighborhood of 30-50% over the same period last year for marketing mail, letters and flats.   On the other hand the parcel volume is up more than 50% over the same period.   Currently there are parcel levels in the system that are higher than they were at any time during this past peak season.    With the challenges that some of our plants across the country are experiencing because of employee availability this is causing some real slowdown in the system.   Again, it is through the leadership of the Postmasters, Managers and Supervisors working with the employees they have available to move the product through the system and I want to commend you for the job you are doing every day.

Over the course of the last few weeks you have most likely been hearing a lot about the Postal Service as it relates to Congress and whether, or not, there will be money included in an upcoming COVID response package.    Our government relations team of Chris McCannell, Joel Riethmiller and Brian McLaughlin continue to work on our behalf and the behalf of the Postal Service in their contacts with members of Congress and the staff members for key decision makers to help assure that there is some relief in the upcoming legislation.    Our national legislative and PAC Chair, Edmund Carley and I are in regular communications with the government relations team to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help move the legislation and get some relief for the USPS going forward.

Obviously, there is nothing that is happening in our world that could have been planned for with this pandemic and the Postal Service is no different.    The monies that some of the members of Congress are talking about including in a bill would simply be to help us recover the costs that have been incurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak.   All the additional operating costs, as well as the loss of revenue have hurt the Postal Service.   As Congress assists other agencies and business, both governmental and in the private sector, we are asking that they not lose sight of the most trusted agency in the country, both governmental and private and provide some assistance to us as well.  Where this will go remains to be seen.    As of today the report is that Congress will be back to work next week, so we could see some action sooner, rather than later.    I would like to request that you contact your Representative and your Senators to encourage them to support the essential work that is being done by you and your employees every day to continue to bind the nation together.   There is language available on our website that you can use in those contacts with your Congressional representatives.

Thank you for your time and I want you to know that I am praying for all of you every day.  My prayer focuses on asking for your continued strength, safety and health as we move on through this pandemic and the aftermath.   It can be unsettling as we look at what may, or may not, happen in the Postal Service and the country as we come out of the pandemic.   However, I would encourage all of you to stay focused on the current times and what we know.    Make sure you keep your message positive, as much as you possibly can, and try to squash rumors that may be starting and just focus on what you know to be true and pertinent for the times and situation you are in.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to talking with you again next month.

Daniel M. Heins
National President
United Postmasters and Managers of America