The United States Postal Service and its employees are an invaluable part of American society, our economy, and our history. Since it was established in 1775, the Postal Service has brought communities together, kept families and friends in touch, and moved our economy forward. I know how important it is for Mainers to have reliable and convenient access to this essential service.
The Postal Service is also the linchpin of a $1.6 trillion mailing industry that employs more than seven million Americans in diverse fields, including paper manufacturing, publishing, printing, catalog companies, on-line retailers, and much more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant declines in first class and marketing mail volume. In addition, USPS has incurred unanticipated costs to protect its workers and the public from COVID-19. Without swift action, the Postal Service warns it could run out of money before the end of the year. This jeopardizes its ability to continue to serve the American public, as well as support the agency’s 630,000 dedicated employees, including 3,300 here in Maine.
Many postal employees are at risk during the pandemic, as they sort mail or make their daily rounds. It is estimated that more than 2,000 have tested positive for the virus, and more than 60 have died. Even before this public health crisis, the Postal Service was vital to our health care system, delivering 1.2 billion prescriptions each year, along with millions of lab tests and medical supply shipments.