As the Public Learns What’s at Stake, They’re Eager to Sign Petitions to Save its Postal Service

By Richard Thayer

How are we doing on the petition-gathering to save America’s Postal Service? You are getting petitions signed, right? If you haven’t printed off a copy yet, you can go here. All you need to do is get 10 people to sign and then send it to NALC, 100 Indiana Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001-2144. When I checked on the website Tuesday (12/13/11), they had received 888,958 signatures. The goal by the end of the year is 1 million.

Getting 1 million signatures shouldn’t be a problem. There’s no better time to get those petitions signed than right now. Early on in the Postal Service’s campaign to dismantle itself, there was a great deal of misinformation out there that had the public confused. But, as more and more factual information is being put out there, people are finally seeing what the Postal Service is up to and how its actions will affect their lives.

Last week I saw a significant increase in news items, editorials, blog postings, etc., as the result of Postmaster General Donahoe’s announcement on his efforts to cut back on service, like delaying first-class mail delivery, closing mail facilities, laying people off, etc. If you’ll scroll down to a previous post I made, you’ll see some examples of how people feel about the Postal Service’s ill-conceived plans.

I think most of us can see how broken our Congress is, but to get a clearer picture of how really broken it is, we need to journey back to 2006. That year, in just a two-week period, the lame duck Congress was able to pass a bill requiring the Postal Service to do something that no other private or public company is required to do: Over a 10 year period, it must pre-fund its retiree pensions for the next 75 years. It took them only two weeks to come up with and pass this brilliant plan. So, today, instead of being able to use the $5.5 billion, it must place that money in a fund that will be used for retirees’ pensions in 2086.You’ve got to admit, that’s preparing for the future.

The irony is, by having to pay into this fund, there won’t be a U.S. Postal Service in 2086, there won’t be any retiree pensions being paid out. All of that unspent money will go to the government.

But back to my point. In 2006, Congress created the current mess within 2 weeks. The solution to the problem is very simple. Instead of requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund its pensions nearly a century down the road (when there won’t actually be a pension because there won’t be a Postal Service), let it use the money now to pay its bills,let it have the $5.5 billion it now pays into its pension fund.

Now for those of us who are rational human beings, that wouldn’t be too difficult. That’s a no-brainer. But unfortunately, today’s Congress is even worse than the one in 2006. Who would’ve thought? So they have to take something that’s relatively easy to fix, and make it more complicated.

For some in Congress the situation isn’t quite bad enough so they have introduced bills that would make the situation even worse. Evidently they don’t understand that postal management in Washington doesn’t need any help in making things worse. They are experts on it.

It’s very important that we let Congress know how we feel about these plans to dismantle the Postal Service. I know it requires a lot of work to get these people to understand, but getting signatures on a petition won’t be hard. Once I explain to people what is at stake, they’re eager to sign.

To print off a copy of a petition, and to get more information on how to save America’s Postal Service, go here.


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