Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Protect Our Letter Carriers Act introduced in Senate

May 20, 2024 ,
nalc

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » NALC

On May 16, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the Protect Our Letter Carriers Act (H.R. 7629/S. 4356). The Senate companion bill comes after Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Greg Landsman (D-OH) introduced the bill in the House in March, which currently has 71 cosponsors.

The bipartisan legislation, which mirrors H.R. 7629, would provide $7 billion in funding for the Postal Service to secure its infrastructure, including the installation of high-security collection boxes and the replacement of items carried by letter carriers with more secure electronic versions. The funding would be appropriated over five years, $1.4 billion annually in fiscal years 2025-2029. When key infrastructure is devalued and more secure, letter carriers will be safer on their routes.

Additionally, the legislation would increase prosecution rates for these crimes by requiring the Attorney General to appoint an assistant U.S. attorney in each judicial district to prioritize any case involving an assault or crime against a letter carrier. Their principal responsibility in the district would be to coordinate and supervise the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.

The bill would also strengthen sentencing guidelines for these crimes, ensuring that they are treated in the same manner as assaults on federal law enforcement officers.

Since 2020, there have been more than 2,000 crimes committed against letter carriers on the job. Many of these attacks involve a gun or another weapon. Letter carrier robberies climbed to 643 last year, an increase of nearly 30 percent, and the number of robberies resulting in injuries doubled, according to the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

“NALC appreciates Sen. Gillibrand and Sen. Hawley’s leadership in introducing the Protect Our Letter Carriers Act. Every employee has the right to be safe and protected on the job. Our hope is that this legislation will deter these violent crimes and keep letter carriers safe on the job,” NALC President Brian L. Renfroe said. “I urge Congress to pass this bill that would protect the nation’s letter carriers who dutifully deliver medications, checks, ballots, packages, and other essential mail that all Americans depend on.”

“Amid a concerning uptick in postal crime, I’m proud to be introducing this critical bipartisan legislation to protect our mail and those who deliver it,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “This bill will make long-overdue upgrades to mailboxes around the country to safeguard against the theft of Americans’ sensitive information. It will also strengthen penalties for assaulting a postal worker, helping ensure that the hard-working men and women who deliver our mail are not put in harm’s way because of their jobs. I look forward to getting this bill passed.”

“Postal carriers work day in and day out to fulfill critical needs, like package deliveries, that Americans often take for granted,” Sen. Hawley said. “The recent uptick in violent assaults against these men and women is unacceptable and inexcusable. Congress should protect our postal workers on the job, and that starts by increasing enforcement of the law for crimes committed against them.”

TAKE ACTION

Click here to ask your members of Congress to cosponsor the Protect Our Letter Carriers Act.

Click here for the fact sheet.

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