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Friday Message – July 31, 2020
It seems hard to believe that we are at the end of July already. Here in the United States we have now been in the COVID-19 pandemic in what seems like full force for about five months. I know that there are places in the country that started seeing cases earlier than March, but for most of us that is when it started in earnest. I know that I for one was hopeful that it would all be behind us by now, however, that is clearly not the case. We continue to have parts of the country that seem to be getting hit harder than others right now and wherever you are you need to continue to monitor your local guidelines and make sure that you and the employees that work with you are adhering to those guidelines. By now I think we all know the requirements with proper sanitation and you, as the leaders in your units, need to set the tone on all of that and make sure those guidelines are followed.
Our government relations team of Brian, Chris and Joel continue to work on our behalf on Capitol Hill monitoring what is going on legislatively with the Postal Service in general and with the anticipated COVID relief package. We have a number of advocates in both the House and the Senate that want to make sure that there is some type of appropriation for the United States Postal Service in whatever the final package might look like. As of this morning, it appears that the leadership from both parties are trying to negotiate a settlement on what the package should look like; however, they seem to have some vast differences in what they are anticipating will be included. We could see some type of emergency relief package just to cover the paycheck protection program and as it relates to unemployment benefits be passed today because the programs in place are in some cases set to expire. All I can say at this point is stay tuned on COVID relief.
The other piece of legislation that we are focusing on at this time is S. 4174, which is the Postal funding bill that was introduced on July 2nd by Senators Susan Collins from Maine and Senator Diane Feinstein from California. This bill would give a $25 Billion appropriation and then there would be some reporting requirements attached to the release of the money. So far there is bipartisan support for this bill and we continue to see new Senators sign on as cosponsors on a regular basis. I would encourage you to reach out to your Senators and ask them to contact either Senator Collins’ or Senator Feinstein’s office for information and look closely at signing on to the bill. Our hope and prayers are that this piece of legislation may well be the framework for the postal relief that may be included in the COVID relief package when it is finally done.
There are many members in Congress that are looking at the changes that are being implemented within the Postal Service and what impact that might have on their constituents. So, you will see a lot of information in the media about this issue and what effect it will have on service. As always, I caution you against making any statements if you are contacted by your local media. Please refer any requests for information to your district’s public relations person. They are the ones that have the necessary training to take care of these matters and know what to say. I know that at times it is difficult not to weigh in and give your opinion, but in these times err on the side of caution and refer the person making the inquiry to the district level.
As far as the changes in the USPS are concerned, know that we are monitoring the changes as much as we can at the national office. We continue to push for more and more information and to get some standardization in how the items are rolled out to the field and more importantly to get some standardization in what the expectations are. We will continue to work on this issue and push to get the changes necessary to make it easier for everyone to deal with and to get these items implemented.
Thank you, stay safe and healthy and have a good week!
Dan Heins, UPMA National President