As we enter the summer months, here’s a brief update on the United States Postal Service (USPS). It’s been a difficult year for USPS, especially given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that a majority of nonprofit direct response mailings rely on USPS, it’s important to pay attention to the circumstances that impact mail delivery.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill calling for a direct cash, no strings appropriation of $25 billion for the USPS and a hazard pay provision for postal employees. This legislation is now being considered by the Senate.
The general consensus is that the Senate is not likely to approve the full $25 billion but rather, a smaller sum. The Postal Service has been effectively lobbying Congress that given COVID-19 and the need for massive amounts of people to vote by mail during the fall elections, this cash grant needs to be approved.
In the past few months, various news outlets have reported that without funding, USPS might run out of resources and be forced to close some offices, as current cash reserves will be exhausted by the end of 2020.
It should be noted that the USPS currently has $14 billion, including $10 billion designated in the CARES Act, that has yet to be accessed.
Additionally, a May statement by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the national labor union of city carriers employed by the USPS, explains how COVID-19 has had a profound effect on the Postal Service in 2020 so far:
- Around 5,000 employees are under quarantine from the virus.
- More than 12,000 previously quarantined employees have been cleared and returned to work.
- About 900 of the currently quarantined employees have tested positive for the virus.
- 60 employees have passed away from the COVID-19 virus, including 14 city letter carriers.
Of all these numbers, about one-third are letter carriers.
As we face the continuing effects of the pandemic in conjunction with new political developments regarding the Postal Service, we at BDI will keep you updated and offer our insights as to how it could potentially impact the direct response fundraising campaigns that rely on USPS delivery.