Postal workers saw us through 2020 at enormous cost to their own health and safety. “The USPS carried out its mission despite more than 23,000 postal employees testing positive for COVID-19 and tens of thousands additional workers, up to 19,000 on some days, being under quarantine and away from work due to exposure,” reported the American Postal Workers Union at the close of a pandemic year that saw more than 100 postal workers lose their lives to COVID-related symptoms.
Despite all the challenges and all the demands posed by the pandemic, and despite the relentless efforts of the Trump administration and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, to disable and dismantle this essential service, postal workers delivered the medicines that saved lives and the ballots that saved democracy to more than 160 million American addresses in 2020.
Yet the Postal Service enters 2021 as a vulnerable institution. “As this pandemic stretches on and we get beyond the challenge of timely processing and delivery of tens of millions of mail ballots, it’s easy to forget about postal workers and to think that they will always be there, every day, steadily delivering billions of items of mail, medicine, ballots and packages,” says APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “But, the fact is, we can only continue our mission with the public’s support.”