United States Postal Service workers in Kalamazoo will be gathering for a vigil at 4 p.m. this afternoon to call for Senate funding to help the postal service survive the financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The workers will be joining others across the country in a day of action called for by the American Postal Workers Union. Postal workers and public supporters will gather with signs for a socially distanced, and masked, vigil in front of the Arcadia Post Office at 310 E. Michigan Avenue and will mail postcards to Senators and the White House in support of our postal service.
“We are an important part of every community,” Dave Staiger, a rural letter carrier, said.
The USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations. It delivers universal service everywhere in the country—157 million addresses. The agency has been facing a funding crisis, and there has been some movement among the GOP to use the crisis as a springboard towards privatizing the postal service.
Staiger said that privatizing the postal service could be a costly mistake.
“We do last mile, and in many cases last many-mile, delivery for FedEx and UPS. We deliver to every door. There are a lot of rural areas where if the post office became privatized the cost could become prohibitive for people,” Staiger explained.
Staiger also spoke to a human element, saying to him the USPS is ultimately based on caring.
“I see how much the people I work with care about getting people their mail,” he said. “We look out for people with hardships—moving mailboxes closer to the doors of people with limited mobility, checking in on the people on our route—it’s just what we do.”
Staiger also noted that the mail has become an even more essential part of people’s lives during the pandemic.
“I’ve been delivering a lot of medicine now,” he said. “People depend on us.”
Staiger said he hopes to see the USPS grow and adapt going forward. Some ideas which he said would be of particular benefit to rural and poor communities would be the addition of basic banking services and wi-fi access to post offices. He added that these serviced would not only benefit communities but also generate revenue for the agency.
Lawmakers are also expected to livestream speeches in support of the USPS tomorrow afternoon.