How important is the USPS today
Trump's fight against the US Post : When medication and paychecks stop arriving
“Neither snow nor rain, nor heat nor darkness of the night keep the postmen from making their rounds quickly.” Many Americans believe that the sentence is the official motto of the US Postal Service (USPS), so close is it to the long one History linked. When branches were cathedrals, the saying was immortalized on the main post office in Manhattan.
The establishment of the Post was so important to the founding fathers of the United States that they mentioned it in the Constitution. In the presence of the 2020 presidential election campaign, the institution is not only at the center of political maneuvers. It's also about their future beyond November 3rd. Medicines and paychecks are already no longer arriving in many rural regions.
"Amazon is the Post's biggest problem"
Nationwide, the USPS still has more than 31,000 branches, 230,000 vehicles and 600,000 employees. Post manager Louis DeJoy is currently dismantling letterboxes and reducing distribution centers across the country in order to implement the US President's austerity mandate.
Donald Trump has long been a thorn in the side of the Post, which also has to do with a long-term feud with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. For some time now, the president has criticized the fact that the post office takes over the “last mile” for Amazon and that it allegedly doesn't charge enough money for it. That is the reason for the losses of the authority. "Amazon is the Post Office's biggest problem," says Trump.
In fact, the shipping giant is dependent on the services, especially in the rural states. FedEx and UPS also use the small-scale structure of the post office, which extends to the furthest corners of the country.
Last mile services are not profitable
It is also true that the Post loses billions every year. According to fact checks by the US media, this is not due to Amazon, on the contrary. While the mailing of letters has declined sharply in recent years, the last mile services are profitable and the only growth driver. In the corona crisis, the post took last 8.3 billion dollars in the quarter, an increase of 50 percent.
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Post manager DeJoy, who has been in office since May and privately involved in competing delivery services, wants to thin out the service. In the course of the austerity measures, the "Postmaster General" warned 46 states rather casually that the postal voting documents could not be delivered on time. A warning that shakes the already battered US democracy to its foundations.
Because of the pandemic, polls show that more voters than ever before want to cast their votes by post. But even with the primaries it became apparent that thousands of postal voting documents were arriving too late. For Trump, who prefers an election defeat with all sorts of conspiracy talk, the postal vote is at the center of "election manipulation" to his disadvantage.
It is about the "survival" of the post
Before the congress, postal chief DeJoy now promised to implement further austerity measures only after the election. The House of Representatives, where the Democrats have a majority, decided to inject money. This was also conspicuously agreed by a large number of Republican MPs whose voters often live in rural areas - and who are upset because their medication often comes in the mail. Nevertheless, the law does not get past the Senate and the President for the time being.
The postman's union NALC, which speaks for 300,000 members, is now calling for the election of Joe Biden. It is about the “survival” of the post, so the warning. The current government would deny the necessary funds that are needed in the pandemic to reliably deliver letters and parcels.
The Democrats see the Post not only as a financial block on the leg of the federal government, but as a building block for services of general interest and increasingly also as a state-sponsored development platform for future transport technologies and a traffic turnaround.
Lots of new e-cars for the post office
In the Move Forward Act passed by the House of Representatives, a kind of blueprint for a transport policy after the change of government, 25 billion dollars are earmarked for the electrification of the Post Office's vehicle fleet. According to this, 75 percent of the newly purchased delivery vans should be electric. In addition, a charging station is to be built at each branch by 2026.
Most of the 232,000 vehicles in the fleet are decades old, according to a sustainability report from last year. The current standard vehicle has not been built since 1994. Right now, the US Post is anything but green. That should change in the next few years.
A tender that was launched before the corona crisis and has since been paused for the renewal of almost the entire fleet provides for the purchase of 180,000 delivery vehicles within five to seven years. Above all, developers and manufacturers of electric and hybrid transporters have applied. In total, it is more than six billion dollars.
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