The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) has launched two advertisements running at the end of the year to remind viewers of what U.S. Postal Service (USPS) workers have dealt with in 2020, including the pandemic, vote-by-mail and the holiday season, and the need for continued public support for the service and its workforce.

The first 30-second television advertisement, released just before the Christmas holiday, titled “Old Timer,” features a retired postal worker, Byron Denton, now in his 90’s, saying, “When I was a postal worker we had some tough times … but we never had a year like this.” Denton goes on to talk about the unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic, along with 65 million election ballots delivered by the USPS and a record number of packages processed during the holidays. The spot, shot in Denton’s California home, ends with the retiree in front of a wreath at his front door saying about postal workers, “They’ve made America proud ... and deserve all of our support … this season and all the seasons to come.”

The second 30-second ad, launched this week, titled “Red Box,” shows a masked four-year-old girl dropping off a package at a local post office, and then the camera following the “red box” through all the steps it takes to get to the girl’s grandmother’s home. This advertisement was filmed with APWU members in local post offices and mail-sorting facilities.

Both advertisements aired on national networks including MSNBC, FOX, CNN, A&E, History, Hallmark and MeTV, among other television outlets and across social media.

“We are very appreciative of the public support our members have received throughout this very difficult year,” says APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “As this pandemic stretches on and we get beyond the challenge of timely processing and delivery of tens of millions of mail ballots, it’s easy to forget about postal workers and to think that they will always be there, every day, steadily delivering billions of items of mail, medicine, ballots and packages. But, the fact is, we can only continue our mission with the public’s support.”

Looking ahead, the APWU says that in 2021 Congress will be asked to provide financial assistance to the USPS directly related to COVID-19 losses, in addition to the funding contained in the just passed and signed new stimulus package. Generally, the USPS operates without tax dollars and supports postal operations solely through the sale of stamps and services.

The union also expects Congress to take up postal reform legislation that, among other items, would remove costs imposed on the postal service that require it to pre-pay billions of dollars in retiree health care costs decades into the future. This is an expense not required of any other employer, public or private, and accounts for nearly 90 percent of the USPS’ structural deficit. The incoming Biden administration also has discussed the expansion of postal services, including postal banking and the possibility of using local post offices in a national network of electrical car-charging facilities, among other new services.