February 21st, 2013

Killing postal service by a thousand cuts is unnecessary

Save the US Postal Service. It employs approx. 650,000 workers. The unionized workers are paid sufficiently (avg. $41K) to enable them to support families, home ownership and purchasing goods to keep the economy alive. They have health insurance and pensions.

This compensation package was typical for unionized workers in the U.S. until recent times when employers eliminated fixed pensions, making workers gamble in the stock market with their own funds to cobble together a pension (401K plans).

The media likes to remind the public that the USPS operates in the red as if they are poorly run. The red ink is the result of a 2006 destructive act passed by Congress. That law, the PAEA, requires $5.5 billion annual pre-payment of 75 years of health insurance for workers. No agency, private employer or any organization in the world does that. There is evidence that the USPS has overpaid and is owed billions.

Congressional post office haters want to shut down the USPS so we all have to use FedEx or UPS to mail and ship. The Postmaster General, CEO, of the USPS, seems to hate the organization he is paid to lead, too. He recently announced the cessation of Saturday letter delivery, saving $2 billion cutting 26,000 jobs, but only a drop in the bucket.

We seem to live in a time of manufactured deceitful “crises.” This problem is entirely preventable. Leave the Post Office and its workers alone. It is NOT a government agency, hasn’t been since the 1970’s. It gets no taxpayer funds. Congress should butt out — after it repeals PAEA. Postmaster Patrick Donahoe should resign.

Here are some of the myths surrounding the unnecessary loss of jobs and the killing of an American public institution mandated by the Constitution.

Myths vs. Facts
From U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

MYTH #1: The U.S. Postal Service is bankrolled by taxpayers.

MYTH #2: The U.S. Postal Service will inevitably see a total financial collapse in the coming months.

MYTH #3: Congressional action to save the U.S. Postal Service amounts to yet another government bailout of a failing industry.

MYTH #4: Allowing the U.S. Postal Service to default will simply force much-needed restructuring and reform.

MYTH #5: A new government control board could better take the dramatic steps necessary to fix the U.S. Postal Service.

MYTH #6: A new government commission – similar to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission – could help the U.S. Postal Service close or consolidate unnecessary processing and retail facilities free from political pressure.

MYTH #7: The U.S. Postal Service must raise rates on certain postal products to help cover its losses.

MYTH #8: Sen. Carper’s bill – the POST Act – wants to end Saturday mail delivery.

Calls for Donahoe to step down

National Rural Letter Carriers President Jeanette P. Dwyer “The Postmaster General’s announcement would not only circumvent the established legislative process,” she said, “it will also jeopardize the Postal Service’s enviable standard of service, which is relied upon by millions of American families nationwide, especially in rural communities.”

Statement from NALC President Frederic Rolando

The National Association of Letter Carriers has tried time and again to work with Postal Service management to pursue growth measures and cost savings, but it has become clear that the Postal Service leadership’s only strategy is to gut the unique postal network that provides us with the world’s most affordable delivery service, and to eliminate the services on which Americans depend.

America’s letter carriers condemn this reckless plan in the strongest terms. We call for the immediate removal of the postmaster general, who has lost the confidence of the men and women who deliver for America every day. And we urge Congress to develop a real reform plan that gives the Postal Service the freedom to grow and innovate in the digital era.

Statement from Cliff Guffey, American Postal Workers Union President

In mid-January, the Postal Service announced that it would begin to accelerate the pace of consolidation. A few days later, management notified the APWU that 18 mail processing centers that were slated to be consolidated in 2014 as part of Phase II of the USPS Network Consolidation plan would instead be closed this year.

The demise of the Postal Service is not an option. The American people cannot live without a U.S. postal service and neither can we.

The APWU condemns the Postal Service’s decision to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, which will only deepen the agency’s congressionally-manufactured financial crisis.

The agency’s crisis is a direct result of an unsustainable congressional mandate that was imposed on the Postal Service by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). The federal law forces the Postal Service to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees and to do so in a 10-year period. No other entity — public or private — bears this burden. Since the PAEA took effect in 2007, the Postal Service has been required to pre-pay approximately $5.5 billion per year. Yet the same law prohibits the Postal Service from raising postage rates to cover the cost.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 9:44 am and is filed under Commentary by G. Namie, The New America, Unions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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