OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Critics accuse President Donald Trump of interfering with the upcoming election through changes to the Postal Service, but the Postmaster General calls those claims outrageous. He says the cuts had been planned.
These questions and concerns sparked rallies across the country, including in Omaha. Roughly 50 United States Postal Service supporters rallied at the corner of 11th and Pacific.
Nebraska State Postal Workers Union president, David Black, says he’s never seen an attack toward USPS like this in his 20 years of experience.
“When you start talking about the sanctity of the mail and things like we can't handle the mail volumes and so forth, that's just not true,” Black said.
Black and other postal employees are raising a red flag to the rhetoric coming from the President, along with changes made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Those changes include cutting overtime and limiting post office hours, but after backlash, DeJoy suspended them until after the 2020 election.
Republican Congressman Don Bacon says the upcoming election will rely heavily on mail-in-voting due to the pandemic, and Nebraska residents can have confidence in the state's system.
Bacon criticized both sides of the aisle on this issue.
“There is so much conspiracy stuff being thrown around. The President initiated it by saying he didn't want to fund it because of the mail-in-ballot issues. I thought that was a mistake,” Bacon said. “On the other side, Speaker Pelosi and many of the Democrats were taking things that were very innocent being done to help save money and trying to put it under an election conspiracy."
Congressman Bacon voted in favor of legislation that includes $25 billion in aid to the Postal Service to assist in COVID-19 expenses.
Like Bacon, many others are now encouraging Senate leaders to pass this bill.
"COVID hit us hard with sick leave and policies and having to provide everyone with masks and sanitizer and just changing the way we do business,” Black said.
In a year of changes, those rallying on Tuesday night say the Postal Service needs support - not cuts.
"The public post office is something that is essential for American life,” Phil Thomas, President of the Omaha Area Local American Postal Workers Union said. “It is for rural people, it is for veterans that need medicine, it spans the whole breadth of what people need as far as people being American citizens.”
There were also some concerns about reducing high volume mail sorters from postal facilities, along with the removal of blue mailboxes in other states.
Rally goers say those changes are already impacting the way Americans receive mail, including prescription drugs.
Congressman Bacon says New York, Nevada and California have universal mail-ins, which can lead to problems during elections.
Again, Bacon reiterated Nebraskans should be confident voting by mail this election.