U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., spearheaded a rally Monday at the Silver Street post office to show support for union workers and call for more funding from the Trump Administration to help the agency deal with effects of the pandemic.
Connecticut’s junior senator was joined by Mayor Ben Florsheim, state Sen. Matt Lesser and state Rep. Quintin Phipps, as well as postal service union leaders and a retired mail carrier, according to a release.
Postal service employees are front-line workers who put their lives on the line every day to keep the economy running, according to Murphy. “We owe a debt of gratitude to you. I’m sorry that just as you are in the middle of responding to a pandemic, and being out there operating on the front lines, you’re brought into this manufactured controversy around the upcoming election.”
Postal workers should be supplied with all the protective equipment needed, not only to keep themselves safe, but their customers as well, Murphy said, the the release.
“ ... Unfortunately, you are being given less, and you’re having a pay cut, or you’re having a technology trim, and it’s certainly making it much more difficult for you to do the job that you love. ... in those very dark days when nobody was open, the mail was still being delivered,” he said.
Murphy and his colleague, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., wrote a letter addressing the general problems since Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was appointed, and joined his colleague U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in a letter focused on USPS operations as it related to election mail delivery times that could potentially slow absentee ballots, the release said.
Murphy is a co-sponsor of the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act, which would provide up to $25 billion in emergency financial relief for the USPS to cover revenue losses and operational expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It would allow the USPS to prioritize the purchase of personal protective equipment for employees and to conduct additional cleaning and sanitizing of its facilities and vehicles, the release said.
“We rely on the Postal Service in normal elections, and we’re going to rely on you even more this election,” Murphy said, echoing the mayor’s words.
“You have to send in a request for a ballot, you got to get that ballot back, and you got to turn around and send it a second time. And still, that’s how voters chose to vote, and that’s what’s going to happen in the general election as well, and we need a fully functioning post office,” Murphy said.
The House passed legislation that drew bipartisan support last weekend, giving $25 million into the Postal Service to require the suspension of all changes, said the senator, who is joining with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to demand both Congress and the Senate reconvene to deal with the issue.
“The number of Republicans who voted for it in the House gives you an idea of how many Senate Republicans would end up voting for this bill if it came to the Senate floor,” said Murphy, who acknowledged the agency could greatly benefit from efficiencies.
“But this is still a service. This is a core function of the federal government. Very few functions of the federal government are spelled out in the United States Constitution,” Murphy said.