Two dozen rally in front of downtown Annapolis post office in support of USPS, $25 billion in funding

Just half an hour before the post office closed in downtown Annapolis, two dozen masked people gathered on the narrow, brick sidewalks on West Street with handmade signs and flyers, pleading with anyone who would listen to ask their senator to support funding for the United States Postal Service.

As sweaty demonstrators in masks pumped their fists for honks of support, the inside of the post office was mostly quiet. Two women in powder blue polos worked independently behind what appeared to be screens made of transparent shower curtains, secured by priority mail stickers. One customer came in and bought a stamped envelope for 69 cents. When he left, cheers pierced the silence.


The demonstration comes just days after activists rallied at post offices across the country on what was dubbed ‘Save the Post Office Saturday,’ including a demonstration of about 60 people in Crofton. The rally Tuesday was organized by Ray Sullivan, who attended the Crofton event and was inspired to do the same, he told The Capital previously. The rallies focus on operational changes within the post office and complaints of delayed mail, including medication election ballots.

Annapolis resident Jim Chen attended the rally because he thinks everyone should be able to rely on the postal service.


Recently, he hired a diver to clean the bottom of his boat, and he paid him by mailing him a check for $200.

“I don’t think there is a single advanced nation that doesn’t have a well functioning postal service,” Chen said. “Most citizens of advanced nations take (the postal service) for granted.”

At least two national representatives of the American Postal Workers Union joined the rally.

Rachel Walthall said her primary goal was to convince people to contact their senators and ask them to support the $25 billion funding package for the postal service passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Though Maryland’s senators, both Democrats, are already likely to support it, Walthall said she hopes residents will reach out to their friends and family in other states and ask them to do the same. The Union dubbed Tuesday a day of action within its “Save the Post Office” campaign. A $10 billion funding bill is in the Senate, though no action has been taken on it since introduction.

Without funding, she said postal workers will continue to do the work they are passionate about, but they will struggle.

Though the Annapolis event was smaller, it garnered the support of two local delegates.

Del. Heather Bagnall, D-Arnold, made a drive-by appearance with her husband, honking and waving out the passenger side window.

Recently appointed Del. Dana Jones, D-Annapolis, cheered alongside the group. For her, the cause is both personal and political — her father was a postal worker her whole life and only recently retired from his post as president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 513 in western Maryland.


“This is a job that put me through college at Towson,” she said.

Outside her family, Jones is concerned about how mail delays and lack of reliable service might impact veterans, seniors, immunocompromised people during the pandemic and voters in November.

“Everyone needs to know and support our U.S. Postal Service so we can have a presidential election, for heaven’s sake,” Jones said. “There are multiple reasons the U.S. Postal service is critical to life, (but when) you add the layer of the pandemic on top of it, this is a critical, lifesaving service.”

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Annapolis resident Sarah Holtz echoed Jones’ concerns. She thinks that cuts under current Postmaster General Louis Dejoy, who has been in the role since June, are voter suppression under the guise of efficiency.

In his testimony to federal lawmakers, DeJoy denied changes were made to intentionally slow the mail and said those changes would stop.

Holtz doesn’t trust her ballot will make it on time with those changes, so she requested it more than 10 weeks ahead of election day.


But she isn’t going to mail it. Because of her lack of trust in the system, she plans to drop it off in one of the county’s 29 ballot drop boxes that will open Oct. 1.