Lieberman reassures workers at post office

Jittery New Haven post office workers fearing another rash of anthrax attacks received a dose of comfort from their senator Friday.

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 met with employees of the New Haven post office on Brewery Street to answer their questions and assuage fears. With him were representatives from local postal worker unions and John Walsh, a governor of the U.S. Postal Service.

“The postal workers are heroes,” Lieberman said afterwards. “Never did we think they’d be soldiers on the front line of the war against terrorism.”

Lieberman said he and the workers discussed how to deal with anthrax if encountered. He described their mood as “determined.”

“We hope to God that the anthrax attacks will not get any worse,” Lieberman said. “But we are ready for whatever happens.”

USPS spokesman Jim Cari said the postal service is focusing on educating and talking with its employees about anthrax concerns. Offices hold daily safety talks with workers to discuss precautionary measures, and the postal service also provides gloves and masks to employees upon request.

“The postal service is doing everything humanly possible to make the public and its employees safe,” Cari wrote in an e-mail.

The workers themselves seem determined to carry on.

“[The letter carriers have] pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that this is something we’re going to have to deal with for now,” said Charles Page, the president of Branch 19 of the National Association of Letter Carriers. “They’re pretty tough people.”

Lieberman has not been back to his Washington, D.C. office for several weeks; the Hart Senate Office Building was closed Oct. 17 in response to the high-grade anthrax found in Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s office. The Hart building is currently being fumigated.

Following the meeting with post office employees, Lieberman rebuked the House of Representatives and President George W. Bush ’68 for failing to support a Senate plan to hire 28,000 federal airport screening workers. The House narrowly rejected the plan Nov. 1.

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