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USPS workers union endorses Biden, citing threat to postal service 'survival'

USPS workers union endorses Biden, citing threat to postal service 'survival'
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The union representing postal workers endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House bid Friday as the United States Postal Service (USPS) finds itself in the middle of a national controversy over new changes by its postmaster general.

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), which consists of nearly 300,000 active and retired postal workers, said Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden to record video message for 'Vax Live' concert Harris says Mexico, US can work together to improve quality of life in Northern Triangle Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' MORE (D-Calif.) will be effective allies in the White House. The decision to endorse them was based on input from union members via polling, surveys, responses to its candidate questionnaire and a discussion with Biden.

“Vice President BidenJoe BidenDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE 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,” the union said.

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“Together, Biden and Harris fully exhibit the experience, dedication, thoughtfulness and steady hands that will work to ensure that letter carriers and working families are put first.” 

The endorsement comes at a time of heightened scrutiny over USPS and Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyGaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to country: 'Turning peril into possibility' Senate panel advances Biden's Postal Service nominees MORE. The agency has suffered a hefty financial toll in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and lawmakers are hitting DeJoy over policies he’s implemented that they say might hinder delivery operations.

Congress and the White House are still in a stalemate over funding for the USPS. Democrats have asked for $25 billion in emergency funding as part of the next COVID-19 relief package to boost the USPS’s capabilities, but President Trump has rebuffed them, saying Thursday he was opposed to USPS funding because it would help universal mail-in voting this fall.

He later said Friday he would be willing to approve billions of dollars in funding for the USPS as part of a coronavirus relief package if Democrats make concessions on certain White House priorities. 

“[N]ow, our country struggles to withstand the public health and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 virus. This pandemic threatens the very survival of USPS. 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,” the NALC said.

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The USPS has emerged as a chief issue on the campaign trail given the expected spike in mail-in voting this November in light of the pandemic.

Lawmakers have sounded the alarm over changes implemented under DeJoy, including adjusting delivery policies and reassigning the pair of officials in charge of day-to-day operations, warning the adjustments could hinder the delivery of mail-in ballots in time for election day. 

Democrats have accused Trump and DeJoy, a top GOP donor, of working to curtail mail-in voting to try to boost the president’s chances of reelection, citing the changes and Trump’s repeated — and unsubstantiated — claims that mail-in voting is ripe with widespread fraud. 

The USPS’s internal watchdog announced Friday it is reviewing DeJoy’s policy changes.