Aug 17, 2020

Maryland Lawmakers USPS Press Conference Transcript August 17

Maryland Lawmakers USPS Press Conference Transcript August 17
RevBlogTranscriptsMaryland Lawmakers USPS Press Conference Transcript August 17

Federal officials in Maryland held a press conference on August 17 to discuss the USPS. “They’re trying to make it more difficult for people to vote. That’s unconscionable in democracy,” Senator Ben Cardin said. Read the transcript of the briefing here.

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Senator Van Hollen: (00:00)
And Montgomery County and Prince George’s County and places all over the state. And we heard from postal workers that this was directions from higher ups, higher ups in the post office, so we followed the leads and sure enough, as we are hearing similar stories from other states and around the country, it turned out that this was part of a deliberate effort by the new Trump appointed Postmaster General. And they put in place a number of changes including a reduction in staffing, including overtime, and then they removed processing and sorting machines from a number of their facilities, including as you’ll hear, removal of processing machines from this central delivery office right here in Baltimore. This would be unacceptable at any time, but especially so during a pandemic when more and more people rely on the mail, and of course during a critical election season, when more Americans than ever before will be casting their votes through the United States mail.

Senator Van Hollen: (01:14)
Now Donald Trump, President Trump, has reportedly already cast his vote by mail in Florida, but apparently he wants to make it harder for other people’s ballots to be delivered on time by mail. And make no mistake, this is part of a deliberate effort for the President of the United States to put out lies and misinformation. We hear it every day from the White House podium through the President of United States, and we need to make it very clear to the American people that we are not going to allow this sabotage to stand. We’re blowing the whistle on it. We provided $10 billion in the CARES Act, members of Congress here all voted for that. We’re all pushing for the $25 billion in the Heroes Act. And we all support the legislation Speaker Pelosi’s announced to immediately mandate the reversal of the changes that have taken place that are leading to these slowdowns.

Senator Van Hollen: (02:19)
So Congress needs to get back into Washington. The House is reconvening. The Senate needs to do the same. And we need to make sure that we protect people’s mail and delivery on time, as well as protects our democratic rights in this critical election. So now it’s my great privilege to turn the podium over to Senator Cardin, who has been a leader in the fight. Our offices work in partnership when we hear from constituents and we’re working together to make sure we reverse these changes. Senator Cardin.

Senator Cardin: (03:00)
Well first to Senator Van Hollen. Thank you so much for not just convening us here today to underscore how important it is for us to take action to protect the United States Postal Service, but for your leadership in the United States Senate on this issue and so many other issues that are affecting the health and welfare of the people of Maryland and our nation. You’ve truly been one of those great leaders. It’s good to be here with all my colleagues, but particularly our federal congressional delegation, Congressman Sarbanes, Congressman Mfume, and I know Congressman Ruppersberger is also represented here today. We are United in our efforts to make sure the United States Postal Service is saved.

Senator Cardin: (03:41)
And I say that, Chris Van Hollen told you about calls we’re getting to our office. So let me just share with you some of the calls that we’re receiving. Yes, I’m receiving numerous calls from constituents who are worried as to whether they’ll be able to vote by mail come November’s election because they are concerned about the deliberate effort by President Trump to compromise voting by mail. They’re worried about that. And of course the Postmaster General took action to raise the cost of voting by mail. That’s a poll tax. They’re trying to make it more difficult for people to vote. That’s unconscionable in democracy. Sure, we want an aggressive elections and promoting our candidates, but not to discourage people from voting and voting safely.

Senator Cardin: (04:35)
But I’m also hearing from veterans who are not able or worried that they’re not going to be able to get their prescription medicines on time. The VA delivers their prescription medicines through the U.S. mail and they’re worried at whether it will be a timely delivery. I’m hearing from seniors who had the same concern on prescription by mail. I’m hearing from people in business who depend upon timely mail delivery in order to do their business. They’re worried about whether this mail service is going to be reliable for them to get their business done.

Senator Cardin: (05:08)
I’m hearing from individuals who file legal documents, tax documents by mail. They’re worried as to whether it’s reliable to put their mail in the U.S. Postal Service because of the deliberate action of President Trump to sabotage the U.S. postal system and to slow it down. What’s at stake is whether the U.S. Postal Service can maintain timely delivery of mail and whether they’ll be viable as an institution going forward.

Senator Cardin: (05:38)
Mayor Young, thank you for having us in front of the Baltimore City Health Department, because this is a matter of health. We’re in a pandemic. We want people to use distancing. That’s the U.S. Postal Service. Use distancing in order to get your business done. And during this pandemic, the actions of President Trump and the Postmaster General is jeopardizing the public health of the people of our nation. We need to do something about it. Yes, Speaker Pelosi’s doing the right thing by having the Congress come back to act, to take action by legislation, to reverse what the Trump administration is doing, and to make sure the U.S. Postal Service has the resources they need to carry out this constitutional requirement in the constitution of the United States.

Senator Cardin: (06:36)
So we need to do more. I’ve joined with Senator Van Hollen and many of our other colleagues in letters to the Postmaster General, demanding that he answers questions as to what they’re doing. It’s just unconscionable. The U.S. Postal Service, their workers are frontline workers. Over 2000 have tested positive for COVID-19. Dozens of died. They’re the frontline workers. And we should do what the House of Representatives has already done under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Hoyer and our congressional delegation, and that is we should be giving hazardous pay to our postal workers because they’re frontline workers. We should give them the support they need during this pandemic. What has the Trump administration done? Cut off their overtime, changed their working conditions.

Senator Cardin: (07:34)
The people who deliver our mail want to do it not during the heat of the day, but early in the morning, and the Postmaster General’s made that more difficult, jeopardizing not only the delivery of mail, but the health of our postal workers. Americans are outraged by this as they should be, asking what are we going to do about it? Well, I can tell you we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that we reverse the actions of the Trump administration and the Postmaster General in order to make sure that our postal system has the support they need to continue the timely delivery of our mail.

Senator Cardin: (08:13)
And with that, I am very proud to introduce my congressmen from the third congressional, excuse me, my mayor, I’m looking at our list here, to introduce the mayor of Baltimore city. I say this frequently. He has the toughest job of any of us that are up here being the mayor of a large city. He’s done an incredible job protecting the health and welfare of the people of Baltimore during this pandemic, Mayor Jack Young.

Mayor Jack Young: (08:43)
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you to our senate delegation and our congressional delegation for highlighting this critical, important issue. Let me begin by giving my many thanks to the hard working and women of the United States Postal Service. Like so many of our essential workers, the people of Baltimore are grateful for the critical service you provide them each and every day. I know that in my neighborhood, just like in every neighborhood in Baltimore, the site of the postal workers showing up on the block to deliver the mail is one of life’s daily pleasures. But more than that, the work you do is so critical, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shined and even brighter light on just how critical the work you do is for our daily lives.

Mayor Jack Young: (09:27)
Baltimore is home to a medically at-risk population, many of whom depend on the work that you do to get the necessary medicines and other essential goods delivered to them. Look, no one is more sympathetic to solving all of the challenges posed by this unprecedented COVID-19 situation than me. Every day my team and I deal with a new challenge we have to solve, where there’s a flood, an explosion, or learning that a significant number of employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. We all talk through how we’re going to solve that problem and keep our employees in the public safe. And that’s why I find most disturbing about the situation if what we are hearing is true about management decisions being made that are resolving these delays in delivery.

Mayor Jack Young: (10:13)
Then the Postmaster General needs to be transparent with the public and explain how his decisions are keeping his employees and the public safe because lives are literally on the line here in Baltimore and across our great nation, and that’s his job, and none of this adds up to me. So I wanted to close by thanking our federal delegation again for putting together this important event today. I know the people of Baltimore are grateful for your hard work and thank you. And let me introduce Congressman John Sarbanes.

Congressman John Sarbanes: (10:48)
Thank you very much, Mayor Young, and thank you Senator Van Hollen for convening us here today to talk about what this Postmaster General has been doing. The U.S. Postal Service is interwoven in the daily lives-

John: (11:03)
Is interwoven in the daily lives of every American. When you attack the postal service, you are attacking American families. Plain and simple. When you attack the postal service, that’s an attack on the lives and the livelihood of Americans. And it’s an attack on the life of our democracy. When you attack the postal service, it means that veterans and senior citizens who get their medicine through the mail are waiting four, five, six days for that. That’s life-threatening. You’re attacking the lives of American families when you do that. When you attack the postal service and undermine it, it means that seniors aren’t getting their social security checks. People aren’t getting their stimulus checks or their unemployment benefit checks. That’s an attack on the livelihood of Americans. And when you attack the system that we believe is going to be responsible for processing tens of millions of ballots, in an election where the American people want their voice to be heard, that is an attack on the life of our democracy. That’s what’s going on here.

John: (12:22)
I want to thank the union representatives who are here today, who we’ve been hearing from over the last few days. They’re on the front lines as Senator Cardin said. They can see behind the curtain. They know what this President and this Postmaster General are trying to do to tear down the U.S. Postal Service, and they’re not going to let it happen. And we’re here standing in solidarity with them and thanking them for the work that they do every single day. We’re behind you 100%. Americans are demanding that this Postmaster General keep his hands off the good workings of the United States Postal Service. They’re demanding that The President stepped back from his attacks on the postal service.

John: (13:16)
Speaker Pelosi, as has been said, has called back the house of representatives. We will be coming back in at the end of this week to vote on a bill that will say that the U.S. Postal Service has to maintain all of its standards, not just through the election, but through the end of this pandemic, with no changes, like the ones we’ve seen. Pulling processing machines out of these offices, pulling out mailboxes, undermining over time and all of these other things that are designed to make the postal service crash. So we’re demanding that of the Postmaster General and our committee, the house oversight committee has asked the Postmaster General, demand that he come back next week to testify on these changes that he’s trying to implement. We are not going to rest. We are pushing back on this and we’re doing it on behalf of…

John: (14:11)
Listen to this, over 90% of Americans have confidence in the U.S. Postal Service. It’s the only institution in our country that comes close to that kind of approval rating. Americans count on the postal service. And when you attack the postal service, you’re attacking Americans all across this country. Well, they’re not going to stand for it. The unions aren’t going to stand for it. The workers aren’t going to stand for it. And your representatives in Congress are not going to stand for it. I’m pleased to be here with the delegation. I’m pleased to serve with the newest member of the delegation, but much more senior to me because he’s coming up for the second round in the United States Congress, Congressmen Kweisi Mfume.

Speaker 1: (15:03)
How you doin’?

Congressmen Kweisi Mfume: (15:03)
Thank you very much. Most of everything that can be said has been said, it’s just that all of us have not had a chance to say it. So allow me to be deliberately redundant about one of the greatest threats to our democracy that any of us have ever seen. It is not an attack by a foreign power. It is an attack domestically by a Postmaster General, who has taken into his hands, the right as he sees it, the ability and the deliberate act to slow down the U.S. Mail, to put doubt in the minds of people to fraudulently, give us the notion that he is trying to do his job. And what he’s actually doing is hurting seniors across this country and veterans who are relying on prescriptions every day. What he is doing is impacting negatively small businesses across this country, by slowing down the mail.

Congressmen Kweisi Mfume: (16:08)
And what he’s doing deliberately is to try to chip away at that 90% approval rate that Americans have with their post office. John is right. In a few days, he will come before our committee on oversight, and we will have an opportunity to question him for the very first time about all that he is doing. We are all happy on the house side, 175 of us to join with Nancy Pelosi in a direct letter seeking information. But that information has not yet come. So Mr. DeJoy do us all a favor, even before the hearings, submit your letter of resignation. Ride off into the sunset and restore the decency and the fabric of the United States Postal System. We are blessed to have a postal union in this country and hardworking men and women who every day put on their clothes, go to work and try to provide a service.

Congressmen Kweisi Mfume: (17:06)
That service is hampered, as you have heard, by the deliberate slow down by the refusal to give over time, by hijacking mailboxes off of every corner, they can find and taking sorting machines out of postal offices, shame, shame, shame. We are not going to stand for it. And I hope people across this country don’t stand for it. Baltimore is making a bold statement along with the rest of Maryland, that the foolishness must end. We all remember the Wizard of Oz and that special line where the guy says “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain for I am the Great Oz.” Mr. DeJoy, you are not the Great Oz. You are the great impediment to a decent and working fabric of our society we call the post office. And don’t tell me or others that you’re just trying to make the post office make money. The U.S. Post Office is not a business. It is a service and it is a service to Americans that we must always protect. Let me just mind if I can, bring forward the President of the Senate, President Ferguson, who’s traveled here this morning to be with us because this is not a Baltimore issue. It’s not just a Maryland issue, but it is an American issue. And he represents the Senate of this state and will come forward in his own way to bring remarks. We’re just so happy that he serves all of us. Please welcome the President of the Senate, Bill Ferguson.

Bill Ferguson: (18:42)
Good afternoon. It’s like lamps to a slaughter following Congressmen Mfume. Let me say first, thank you, Congressman Mfume for your on point remarks as always. Thanks to all of the elected leaders here. Thank you to the union leaders, the men and women of the post office, who make it work every single day. And thanks to my two delegates who joined us here from the Maryland house of delegates, Luke Clippinger and Brooke Lierman. If I could just take a quick moment to think back to March and April and May, when all of us were scared and worried, didn’t know what was going to happen the next day, what was going to be open? What was going to be closed? When would we get back to some level of normal? Well each and every day, the mail showed up. The mail kept coming. And it’s because letter carriers and postal workers across this country and here in the State of Maryland believed deeply and passionately in the honor and dignity of their work. In being a part of a system that ensures that all Americans have the ability to communicate. No matter your means.

Bill Ferguson: (19:52)
That’s what became so surprising when just a couple of ago, senators from across the State of Maryland started getting calls from constituents, talking about challenges and delays. In the height of the pandemic things were flowing. And there were issues here and there, but all of a sudden there were these issues that started to appear. And as we reached out to our federal partners, it became very clear that this wasn’t a mistake. This wasn’t just about a pandemic. This was an intentional effort to undermine our institutions and undermine our democracy. It just so happens that as issues started happening with the postal system, we started talking about mail-in ballots. And here in Maryland we’ve been having that debate, where it seemed obvious to almost everyone to mail a ballot to every resident. And instead, we had an administration that chose, let’s flood the mail with applications and make it one step harder for people to mail in their vote.

Bill Ferguson: (20:47)
And we had a President who called into question, the very foundations of our democracy by making the system of voting questionable at a time when we could least afford it. Make no mistake, this isn’t a coincidence. This is an intentional effort to undermine who we are as Americans. And this insanity must stop. We deserve better as Marylanders. We deserve better as American citizens, as participants in this great democracy, we must protect the right to vote. That’s why we’re standing here today. And that’s why we will fight tooth and nail to ensure that in November, we send the message that the world will be better when we all participate in this incredible democracy that we have in this United States of America.

Bill Ferguson: (21:37)
With that I’d like to introduce somebody who is experiencing this challenge in all too real of a way. Captain Louise Martin, do we have Captain Martin? Who is joining us from Montgomery County. She’s a resident who has been experiencing the negative impact of the Trump administration’s attack on the United States Postal Office. And we’ll let her words be the real story of the day, of the impact of these decisions. Captain Martin.

Speaker 2: (22:03)
Thank you.

Bill Ferguson: (22:03)
… Decisions. Captain Martin.

Captain Martin: (22:03)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I served for 30 years in the US Public Health Service as a naval captain. I’ve been all over the world, serving in epidemics in Russia, in South Africa. And I’m a proud, retired veteran now. And I have never experienced anything this outrageous. I get my healthcare, which was promised to me after my 30 years of service at Walter Reed Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Medical Center. My hypertensive drugs are 10 days late. And if any of you know of the organization, there’s a wonderful advocacy organization entitled Vote Vets. And Vote Vets has documented that at least 330,000 veterans in this country count on the Postal Service for their medications and for all kinds of other communications that are critical to them. This is a dangerous situation. I think of my colleagues who have diabetes and are out of insulin, who have heart disease and out of their heart medications. This is a disgrace, and we cannot tolerate this.

Captain Martin: (23:37)
And I wore my t-shirt. I knew John Lewis. I was honored to know him and work with him, and I wore my good trouble t-shirt today because that’s what we must do. We must cause good trouble to stop this outrage that is happening to so many American citizens. So I thank you very much for the opportunity to speak. And I hope that we were able to resolve this issue soon for the lives and the help of all of our veterans and all of the citizens who count on the US Public Postal Service. Thank you very much.

Bill Ferguson: (24:22)
Thank you, Captain Martin.

Captain Martin: (24:22)

Bill Ferguson: (24:22)
Thank you.

Senator Van Hollen: (24:27)
Thank you, Captain Martin. Thank you for your service, and thank you for being here to speak on behalf of veterans and all those who are not getting critically needed medicine and other deliveries during this period of time. We thought it was important to hear from Captain Martin who relies on the Postal Service for her medicines before we hear from the tremendous postal workers who are there to deliver that mail to American families and households and businesses every day. And as my colleagues have said, they are those essential workers on the front lines, putting themselves at risk for the rest of us.

Senator Van Hollen: (25:10)
So now we’re going to hear from Sherry McKnight, who’s the president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 181. Then we’re going to hear from Courtney Jenkins, also a postal worker and member of that union. And then from Jermaine Jones, the president of Metro AFL-CIO.

Senator Van Hollen: (25:28)
And we want to thank all of you. The post office is enshrined in the constitution of the United States. And to see this attack on the post office is, as my colleagues have said, an attack on the constitution and on the country and our democracy. So Sherry McKnight, if you could please come forward. Thank you.

Sherry McKnight: (25:59)
Thank you. Good afternoon. I bring you greetings from the Baltimore Francis Stu Filbey Area Local, which is the American Postal Workers Union.

Sherry McKnight: (26:09)
First and foremost, I would like to thank Senator Van Hollen, Senator Cardin, Congressmen Mfume, Sarbanes and Mayor Jack Young, and all that is in attendance.

Sherry McKnight: (26:33)
The Postal Service is in great trouble. And we’re asking that you all support us. We want to thank the public for still using the Postal Service. We also want to keep the faith. We want the public to keep the faith in the Postal Service. This is a little rough bump that we’re going through shall pass. We are dedicated to our mission of providing prompt, reliable and efficient service. We, as postal workers, sort and deliver mail to 160 million addresses every day, to include delivery of medicine, financial transaction, retirement checks, voter information, and ballots. The Postal Service has proven to be indispensable during the pandemic. The culture of the Postal Service has always been to get the mail out, to get the packages out.

Sherry McKnight: (27:39)
The customers, we are asking you, we are pleading with you, do not lose faith in your Postal Service. You are the backbone to the Postal Service, just as I am, because I am a customer as well. So we assure that the mail will get processed, even though the machines has been removed, four from the Baltimore plant, and two for the IMF, Incoming Mail Facility. But we want to assure you that your mail will get delivered. It will be on time. It will be processed efficient, and you will get your vote counted. So I’m asking you to stand with us, march with us, be there with us so that we assure that the Postal Service still will be around for years to come. Thank you.

Courtney Jenkins: (28:42)
Good afternoon. Thank you for everyone for coming out, the media, our local, state and federal legislators. We really appreciate this support. My name is Courtney Jenkins. I’m a postal worker, as well as legislative director with the American Postal Workers Union here in Baltimore. Myself, and hundreds of other postal workers in that facility right behind us, and thousands of more across the state, are frontline workers who’ve been working before the pandemic, through a pandemic, and we’ll be there long after this pandemic is over, and we’re on the other side of it. Make no mistake about that.

Courtney Jenkins: (29:12)
We are essential workers. And in my 32 years of life, I never thought i would be deemed an essential worker where I had to show up in the middle of the worst public health crisis we probably ever faced in the history of this world. But here we are. We find ourselves in a moment where the American people are relying on us to ship and deliver essential mail, whether it is the prescription, as Captain Martin alluded to, the ballot, or now a stimulus check.

Courtney Jenkins: (29:37)
And what we see right now is President Trump, who leads the executive branch, which with the post office is under the jurisdiction of, attacking the Postal Service and dedicated postal workers who, again, have showed up throughout a pandemic, who worked extremely hard to make sure that people are getting that vital mail that they need to their mailboxes, who see the news stories, who are customers as well and are voicing their frustration to folks like myself every day on the work floor.

Courtney Jenkins: (30:02)
I don’t agree with these things. What can we do to push back, knowing that these directives that are coming from the top, our job is to follow the instruction, each and every time. Although we all took an oath. We all raised our right hand and took an oath not to obstruct or delay the mail. And that we don’t know if the Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, knows this or not, but the directives he’s making at the top, this is what it looks like at the ground. Slow mail delivery, delayed delivery, people not getting their essential mail when they need it, checking to say that my mail is delivered to my home, and it may not be.

Courtney Jenkins: (30:35)
And what I want folks to realize is that that postal clerk, that letter carrier, they’re not making these decisions. They’re pushing back as much as they can. So when the postmaster says, I want to cut overtime, we’re not fighting because we just want to get rich. We’re fighting because those things like overtime helped us get your mail to your door in a timely manner six days a week, over 100 million addresses every day, from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the tip of Alaska, the Postal Service delivers.

Courtney Jenkins: (31:01)
And with this new PMG, who’s also a top Trump fundraiser, we can connect the dots and see what’s going on here. The public did not have many issues with their mail delivery prior to the appointment of this new postmaster general. The postmaster general was appointed two months ago, and in March, folks are getting their mail, and then some. So now what we see is that these impacts and directives and complete organizational restructuring over in the middle of the night, where you completely change an infrastructure that’s been built over centuries, that people have come to rely on. You don’t pivot in the middle of a pandemic. You don’t attack democracy in the middle of a pandemic. People are relying on the Postal Service to deliver. And that sense of normalcy that we offer, the economy that we’ve been propping up since March, we’re now under attack by the commander in chief. We’re now under attack by the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy.

Courtney Jenkins: (31:52)
And again, whether they realize it or not, normal people, working people, are relying on the Postal Service at this very moment. At this very moment, folks are out on the street, delivering the mail, and again, in those processing facilities.

Courtney Jenkins: (32:03)
So once again, as Congressman Sarbanes said, an attack on the Postal Service is an attack on democracy. This is not a partisan issue. From the rural community in western Maryland, to the big cities like Baltimore, everyone is depending on the Public Postal Service to deliver at this moment.

Courtney Jenkins: (32:19)
And let us be clear, postal workers and the American Postal Workers Union will fight back against any attempts to delay or obstruct the delivery of your mail. We stand with the public, and we appreciate the public support. We appreciate our legislators’ support. And keep the pressure up. It’s hot out here today, but we’re going to raise the heat on Postmaster DeJoy and President Trump. Thank you.

Senator Van Hollen: (32:42)
All right. Now we’re going to hear from Jermaine Jones, who I introduced earlier. And then we’ve mentioned the postal workers, but also the letter carriers are essential at making sure that we deliver the mail. So we’re going to hear from Mike Smith who’s the president of the Letter Carriers around here. Okay? And then we’re going to take any questions you’ve got.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen: (33:00)
… we’ll take any questions you got.

Jermaine Jones: (33:05)
First, I just want to say thank you for having me here today and I just want to say welcome on the behalf of the Metro Baltimore AFL-CIO. As mentioned earlier, my name’s Jermaine Jones. I represent a little over 150 different local unions in the metropolitan Baltimore area. I’m here to stand in solidarity with you all and say all the unions that are part of this council, we aren’t going to stand and let this happen.

Jermaine Jones: (33:31)
First, I just want to say, thank you to our Baltimore delegation and our elected officials who are here today. From top to bottom, we greatly appreciate your support and you standing out here against this heat, because it’s not easy. It’s not easy, but this heat is heat that our members deal with every day. Remember that, while we’re only out here for 20, 30 minutes in this sweat and it’s hot right now, but this is the type of weather our men and women deal with every day in order to deliver our mail in a timely fashion.

Jermaine Jones: (34:07)
I’ll say this one more time, I know you heard it again, but I’ll say it one more time so we don’t forget. What we’re here today, what we’re talking about is more than just mail being delivered. What we’re talking about today is about families receiving their checks in order to pay their rent or their bills in the midst of a pandemic. It’s about elderly and our seniors and our veterans being able to receive their healthcare so that they can live.

Jermaine Jones: (34:32)
It’s also about our democracy. Our democracy is at stake, the integrity of our democracy, because there is an intent to stop people’s ability to vote by mail. That’s what we’re fighting against today.

Jermaine Jones: (34:47)
I just wanted to repeat that one more time, but also want to just take a moment to talk to the workers, talk to the postal workers and talk to the letter carriers and say, look, we’re out here today to support you because we recognize you support us. We know your job has never been easy and now it’s even harder, but stick in. We’re fighting out here for you. Stick with it because people need you more than ever in the midst of this pandemic. We appreciate the work you’ve always done and that you continue to do. In the midst of this madness, continue to fight against the storm because we have your back. We’re not going to stand beside and let this happen.

Jermaine Jones: (35:25)
Everyone standing beside me is here in support of you, and just keep working and delivering the service that you always done. I mean, you didn’t let a pandemic stop you. You didn’t let COVID-19 stop you. You didn’t let a coronavirus stop you, so don’t let a postmaster general stop you from doing what you got to do every day because the calvary is coming and we’re not going to stand by and let this happen.

Jermaine Jones: (35:47)
Thank you for all the work that you do and your dedication. On the behalf of the 120 different local unions of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council, we stand with you. Thank you.

Speaker 3: (35:57)
All right.

Mike Smith: (36:07)
Good afternoon. Neither rain nor snow nor hell nor gloom of night will stop couriers from their appointed rounds. That’s a paraphrase from the motto that we have as letter carriers of United States of America.

Mike Smith: (36:25)
My name is Mike Smith. I’m president of the Branch 176 in Baltimore metropolitan area. I want to thank the US Senators, Senator Cardin, Senator Van Hollen, who hasn’t skipped the steps since Senator Mikulski retired. Thank you for your service. I want to thank Congressman Sarbanes, Congressman Mfume, who was my congressman prior and in his first term of office. Thank you, congressman. I want to thank my Maryland Senator, Bill Ferguson. He’s my senator, does a great job. But as Congressman Mfume said, it’s hard coming after everyone because you’re going to be a little repetitive, so let me be intentionally repetitive also. We want to thank the American public for the confidence that they have in letter carriers across this country, not only in Baltimore but across this country, in delivering their vital medicines and mail that they get on a daily basis. What I want to say and repeat is this, this didn’t just start last week, this pandemic. It’s global. As said previous, before me, we didn’t have issues until this new postmaster general took over. You can’t tell us that’s coincidental. It’s from the policies he’s trying to initiate: Changing structure in the middle of a pandemic, having new management initiatives in a pandemic. All counterproductive to delivery of mail. Hence, some of the delays that we are experiencing. But we will not give up. As everyone has already said, there’s no surrender in letter carriers. We’ve been through anthrax.

Speaker 3: (38:12)

Mike Smith: (38:12)
We’ve been through all kinds of pandemics and diseases, and we’re going to continue to march forward with the public support that we appreciate. Thank you so much.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen: (38:24)
Thank you, Mike. Thank you, Mike. Thank you and the letter carriers and the postal workers and everybody who’s there to deliver essential deliveries and mail for the American people. Thank you all very much.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen: (38:35)
I do just want to say in closing, Dutch Ruppersberger wanted to be here. He helped lead a letter recently on all these issues that we all joined with him on. He couldn’t make it, but he’s been in front of this fight as well.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen: (38:48)
Now we’re happy to take any questions that anybody may have. If you’ve heard enough, then let’s just again thank all those folks who are out there every day delivering the mail. As they said, a pandemic didn’t stop them. The postmaster is not going to stop them. Donald Trump’s not going to stop them. Thank you all very, very much for being here.

Speaker 3: (39:08)
And thank you.

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