The National Association of Letter Carriers, a 300,000-strong union of active and retired postal carriers, on Friday threw its support behind presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris in the November election.
The group’s endorsement comes at a critical juncture for the U.S. Postal Service. The agency has been begging for funds since the start of the coronavirus crisis and is expected to bear responsibility for delivering an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots in order to provide Americans a safe alternative to polling places in the pandemic.
“The Postal Service must not be allowed to fail,” union President Fredric Rolando said in a statement. “We must do everything we can to help the Postal Service thrive, not only for the men and women of the Postal Service but for the communities and businesses that we serve during this critical time.”
But President Donald Trump has repeatedly balked at the idea of nationwide mail-in voting ― which would allow Americans to avoid crowds ― baselessly claiming it will lead to voter fraud. He has also argued that expanded access to voting by mail, “for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.” Despite his objections, the president and first lady this week requested mail-in ballots for Florida’s upcoming primary.
Rolando said that the Democratic presidential ticket exhibits “the experience, dedication, thoughtfulness and steady hands that will work to ensure that letter carriers and working families are put first.”
“Vice President Biden is ― was ― and will continue to be ― a fierce ally and defender of the United States Postal Service (USPS), letter carriers, and our fellow postal brothers and sisters. NALC’s endorsement and our support come down to Joe’s steadfast support of us and his unwavering dedication to improving the lives of all working people throughout this great nation,” Rolando said.
The endorsement was the result of member surveys, polling and a discussion with Biden, according to the union president.
“The decision is also partly informed by what we have seen from the current administration with regards to the Postal Service,” Rolando said, citing a White House task force’s recommendation of “massive cuts to services” and the potential privatization of the postal agency.
“This pandemic threatens the very survival of USPS,” he continued. “Yet, while postal employees are on the front lines providing essential services to the public every day, the current administration refuses to provide the necessary financial relief that would strengthen the agency during this pandemic.”
Trump sparked alarm in May by naming major Republican donor Louis DeJoy as the postmaster general. Since starting the job in June, DeJoy has sidelined nearly two dozen experienced USPS officials and pledged to implement organizational changes to further kneecap the ability to deliver mail-in ballots at a timely pace.
Congressional Democrats have asked for billions in funding to the USPS as part of a new coronavirus relief package, which is currently stalled.
Trump this week seemingly admitted that he opposed USPS funding for the very fact that it is an essential part of a fair democratic election.
“Now they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said on Fox Business Thursday.
“But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it,” he said.