- The union representing the US Postal Service city carriers issued a statement on June 8, reporting that its vehicles were ransacked and its mail carriers robbed during the civil unrest following George Floyd’s death.
- A USPS spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that two post offices were destroyed by fire in Minneapolis.
- The recent protests against police brutality have “resulted in minimal operational impact across the country,” the USPS spokesperson said.
- The USPS continues to be hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 5,600 employees currently in quarantine.
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In the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality this month, the US Postal Service has been affected as well.
After protests this month following the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police officers, the National Association of Letter Carriers union reported assaults, ransacking, and robberies on its vehicles and mail carriers. Violence erupted among multiple parties during the nationwide protests, including vehicles – both civilian and police – driving into protesters.
The NALC, which represents city carriers for the USPS, issued a statement on June 8 saying “postal property and vehicles have been ransacked during the recent wave of civil unrest” and that “letter carriers have been assaulted and robbed on their routes.”
Business Insider reached out to the USPS for more detail on the alleged ransacking, assaults, and robberies, as well as where these incidents occurred.
A USPS spokesperson responded to say that two post offices, one owned and one leased, were “destroyed by fire” in Minneapolis. The spokesperson confirmed that there has been damage sustained to other facilities around the country where protests have happened, but that “the recent civil unrest has resulted in minimal operational impact across the country.”
NALC condemned the incidents in its statement, saying: “At a time when the pandemic has made our jobs even more perilous, the rioting by a misguided few has raised new dangers for letter carriers. NALC at all levels is coordinating with the Postal Service on a daily basis to keep letter carriers safe.”
NALC did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment at the time of publishing. But the USPS was taking a hit, both financially and health-wise, long before the protests began.
On May 15, the House of Representatives passed a new coronavirus aid package called the Heroes Act. It includes $US25 billion in direct funding to the USPS and a hazard-pay provision for postal workers, but is still being negotiated.
The act would come as a great help to the USPS, as Business Insider previously reported in May that it only has enough money to sustain itself through September and that it has been hit particularly hard during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. People following stay-at-home mandates and practicing social distancing are relying on home-delivery services now more than ever.
According to NALC’s statement, there are currently more than 5,600 postal employees under quarantine from the virus. Roughly 900 of those have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 400 are “presumed to be positive.”
The 2,100 who tested positive previously have since recovered and returned to work, and about 20,000 workers who have been quarantined are cleared to go back to work. Sixty-seven workers have died from the virus.
“Thankfully,” the union said, no mail carrier has died from COVID-19 in “over a month.”