If you’re like me, you heard the pundits on TV and in the papers predicting a landslide victory for the Republican Party and you thought that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong. Maybe things would turn out different.
Yes, I understand that American citizens are put out with our leaders in Washington, they’re fed up with the bickering, they want to work for a living again, they want to see the economy improve.
But I’m thinking that despite all the anger and frustration in this country that reason will ultimately triumph over emotion. I’m thinking that we will come to understand that the problems we’re experiencing at the present resulted from bad decision making eight years prior to the current administration. I’m thinking that we understand that we really don’t want folks back in office who got us into this predicament in the first place. That’s what I’m thinking, and hoping (fingers crossed).
But then, being a die-hard optimist, I watch the election results roll in and see that the pundits were right after all and my heart drops into the pit of my stomach with a resounding thud.
So, what do these results mean for letter carriers and their families?
It means this, among other things: We have a narrow window of opportunity to get HR 5746 passed between November and January of next year. Basically, HR 5746 allows the Postal Service to spend money that rightfully belongs to it rather than having to roll it into a retirement account that is already fully funded through 2020 and beyond. Right now it’s financially strapped for cash; the treasury is rapidly dwindling. It could use the cash to get it out of the hole and back on the road again.
Passing HR 5746 is the difference between the Postal Service delivering mail six days a week or its delivering mail five days, then four days a week. Passage of HR 5746 is the difference between the Postal Service remaining a quasi-government agency or its becoming a private company. HR 5746 is all that stands between postal employees having full-time employment, benefits, collective bargaining and a comfortable retirement OR part-time employment, zero benefits, no collective bargaining and no pension.
If HR 5746 doesn’t make it through Congress during the “lame duck” session of Congress this year, the bill will likely become a “dead duck” in Congress next year.
That’s because the Republican/Tea Party believes in less government. If you’re a postal employee, you’re government, even though tax dollars don’t support you. They believe government workers are overpaid and get way too many benefits and we could make up our current deficit by paying them a lot less and cutting those benefits. They believe cab drivers could do your job as well if not better than you. They think it would be a great idea for the Postal Service to be a private company where management makes the big bucks and have golden parachutes for retirement and the working people get diddily-squat.
It’s called the free enterprise system. It’s where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and there is no middle-class.
If you’re one of those carriers who thinks getting Saturdays off every week would really be great, take heart, in 2011 you may get your wish. As a matter of fact, if the Republican/Tea Party gets their way next year, you might even get every day of the week off.
Won’t that be great.