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Postal Service concerned about pandemic's financial impact

Posted at 10:46 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 22:46:54-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Postal Service has taken such a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic officials are worried the service could run out of cash by fall without help. This comes after years of financial struggles.

"What's happening is the pandemic, the economic impact has caused a precipitous drop in mail volume which equates to a huge drop in mail revenue," Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, said.

Before COVID-19 pandemic restrictions even started the U.S. Postal Service was already struggling financially but the crisis is crippling them.

"People don't realize that it solely runs off the revenue of postal and postal products," Dimondstein said. "Retailers are not advertising, restaurants aren't sending out coupons, car dealers, airlines, so it is deeply impact the mail. So what is going to happen is if the Postal Service just runs on the revenue, the revenue runs out if there isn't relief from Congress."

There could be major implications beyond just businesses Dimondstein said.

"If the Post Office doesn't get relief then what the Post Office does for the people of this country, including absentee voting and vote by mail will all be at risk," he said.

Dimondstein said the Postal Service will be out of cash by the fall if something isn't done.

"If the Post Office is forced to cease operations or severely reduce operations then the people in the country will pay a price," Dimondstein said.

The Postmaster General and CEO of the U.S. Postal Service Megan Brennan issued the following statement earlier in April:

The men and women of the United States Postal Service provide an essential public service and bind the nation together as a part of the country’s critical infrastructure. At least six days per week, and in some instances seven, Postal Service employees accept, process, transport, and deliver vital mail and packages like medicine, products that sustain us, benefits checks, and important information, in every community, to every home and residence, and we will continue to do so. As Americans are urged to stay home, the importance of the mail will only grow as people, including those in rural areas and senior citizens, will need access to vital communications, essential packages and other necessities.

We are at a critical juncture in the life of the Postal Service. At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the reason we are so needed is having a devastating effect on our business. The Postal Service relies on the sale of postal products and services to fund our operations, and these sales are plummeting as a result of the pandemic. The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover. We now estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss by more than $22 billion dollars over the next eighteen months, and by over $54 billion dollars over the longer term, threatening our ability to operate.

As Congress and the Administration take steps to support businesses and industries around the country, it is imperative that they also take action to shore up the finances of the Postal Service, and enable us to continue to fulfill our indispensable role during the pandemic, and to play an effective role in the nation’s economic recovery.

We are grateful for the heroism and commitment of our 630,000 postal employees who continue to serve the American public during this pandemic, and we look forward to working with policymakers on ensuring the solvency of the Postal Service.