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By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS Executive Vice President
Dear NAPS brothers and sisters: As I write this column, we are in the grips of what history may reflect as the worst pandemic ever witnessed on earth. I am ever prayerful that you and your families are doing well in this crisis. I find myself reflecting on scripture—2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
We all most certainly should be concerned. However, concern is not synonymous with fear. It’s vital that we use the spirit of a sound mind that He has given us for the care and concern of our families and friends in this time of crisis.
We came out of the 2020 LTS with the most substantive bill ever created to direct the advancement of EAS employees in the USPS. H.R. 6085, the “Postal Supervisors and Managers Fairness Act of 2020,” was introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) on March 4. It was a tremendous achievement for the NAPS Legislative Team.
This legislation is a landmark in the life of USPS EAS employees. I feel immense gratitude and humility for the opportunity to do this work for our association. For the first time, NAPS has sought to legislatively address the long-standing issues of changes needed to Title 39.
Who would have imagined that, one week later, we would be consumed by news and concerns surrounding COVID-19? This pandemic has made it necessary for NAPS to redirect its legislative focus on not what is for the betterment of EAS employees, but on what is for the betterment of America. This is in the form of two things I want to highlight in this column.
NAPS has been actively working at the grassroots level for support of legislation to appropriate emergency funds to the U.S. Postal Service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) has introduced H.R. 6425, the “Protect Our Post Offices Act,” to provide such an appropriation. NAPS supports and believes that such appropriations must be included in legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic response.
The USPS is reporting a loss of $8 to $10 billion in revenue as a result of COVID-19, jeopardizing the agency’s ability to provide essential mail services. The Postal Service projects that, without immediate assistance, it is in danger of running out of cash by Sept. 30, 2020.
While most government agencies have suspended or reduced services, the Postal Service continues to provide daily universal, accessible and essential services to every community in the country. Once again, the Postal Service is demonstrating the agency is a valued lifeline to senior citizens, rural America and others who rely on the services it provides. Also, notwithstanding is the over $1 trillion-dollar mailing industry that employs more than 7.5 million people.
NAPS also has been actively involved in raising awareness for the need for vote-by-mail (VBM) for elections on the state level. Through contacts from my office and support of our grassroots network, we are urging states to seriously consider implementing VBM for the November elections.
To this end, we encourage state governments to communicate with the Postal Service to discuss a “negotiated service agreement” with the agency to reduce postage for distributing and returning mail-in ballots. I believe that VBM—including expanding the use of no-excuse absentee ballots—represents a secure and reliable approach toward conducting elections.
In closing, do not believe it is too late for you to get involved in NAPS’ grassroots efforts. Contact your NAPS state legislative chair, your regional or area vice president or NAPS Headquarters for information on joining our efforts to save America’s Postal Service.
Please be safe. In solidarity…