PORTLAND, Maine — A USPS employee in Maine has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the American Postal Workers Union Local 458 President Scott Adams.
Adams and National Mail Handlers Union Branch 122 President, Patrick Donovan, both held a virtual town hall campaign event with Sara Gideon Thursday.
Gideon, Democratic Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, is looking to unseat long-term Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.
Of the more than 600,000 USPS workers nationwide, 1790 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 21 have died, the union leaders said.
Those numbers are taking a toll on carriers delivering the mail and the men and women working behind the scenes processing it.
"We're working 12 hour days and you just gotta keep doing what we do," Adams said. "New York was hit so hard, we are sorting some of their mail."
The largest processing facility in the state located in Scarborough is playing an integral part in ensuring that mail continues to get processed.
That work is making up for what would otherwise be considered a slow down for the plant, according to Adams.
The positive case comes as the U.S. Postal Service is struggling just to stay afloat financially nationwide.
A provision to provide billions of dollars in additional funding to USPS was stripped from the CARES Act after Pres. Trump threatened to veto the stimulus package if it contained money to bail out the postal service.
"The work that we need to do to help the postal service remain solvent is important," Gideon said. "But it is leadership on the federal level that's going to be needed to make that happen."
There are more than 3,300 USPS employees in Maine deemed 'essential workers' amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Donovan noted the importance the service continues to play for Maine's small businesses, including those that are adapting their operations to send goods via mail.
"We take pride in the vital work we do for this country," he said. "We only ask the federal government support us."
A USPS spokesperson did not immediately return NEWS CENTER Maine's request for comment.
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