NALC’s President Rolando: Postal Executives Have Thrown in the Towel

Remarks of Fredric V. Rolando, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers to the Annual Postal Workshop of the Center for Research in Regulated Industries, Rutgers University

As Mark Twain might say, I am here to tell you that the reports of the demise of the Postal Service are greatly exaggerated. The USPS faces unprecedented challenges but it can, if we choose, continue to do what it has done for nearly 250 years — play a vital role in our nation’s social and economic infrastructure. Nothing is inevitable about the “so-called” decline of the United States Postal Service, and the National Association of Letter Carriers is prepared to lead the effort to revive and improve this vital national institution.

Everyone in this room understands the fundamental business problem — First Class volume is declining as the direct and irreversible result of the Internet. And the 2008-2010 recession did not help.

Everyone in this room also understands the immediate financial and cash flow problem. On its current course, the Service will run out of cash within a matter of months. But the major driving force creating this cash crisis is not the Internet. Rather, it’s the unprecedented requirement imposed by Congress in 2006 that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health obligations to the tune of $ 5.5 billion a year — draining the Service of $21 billion, cash, over the last 5 years.

This burden is not borne by any other business in America, or any other federal, state or local government agency.I will discuss the business and cash problems in a couple of minutes, but first I want to confront very directly, and without customary Beltway courtesies, why we have made no progress in addressing the problems we all acknowledge to exist.

First, we have a postal management that, at the highest levels, has thrown in the towel. The Postal Service response to the crisis is to simply shrink — to close hundreds of facilities, cut thousands of rural post offices, cut hundreds of thousands of jobs, cut service standards, reduce the number of days of delivery and to discontinue door-to-door service. In short, to try to save the Postal Service by degrading its most valuable asset, its unmatchable last-mile delivery network.

This may sound like a harsh judgment. But just last week, the Postmaster General publicly embraced Congressman Darrell Issa’s postal reform bill, which would effectively dismantle the Postal Service. The PMG said at a hearing that he supports practically all of H.R. 2309. At this late hour, plain speaking is necessary. In our view, that bill is a recipe for total disaster.

Second, some of the nation’s top policymakers seem to feel that the most important postal policy objective should be the pre-funding of retiree health premiums that will not actually be paid for several decades — not universal service, not restructuring the USPS to meet the needs of the 21st Century, and not the health of a mailing industry that employs 7.5 million American workers, mostly in the private sector.

NALC cannot accept this misguided policy.

Read President Rolando’s entire address here.

For information on the April 12 Letter Carriers’ demonstration at Senate home offices, click here.


3 Responses to “NALC’s President Rolando: Postal Executives Have Thrown in the Towel”

  1. Susan A Says:

    As a letter carrier with 30 years at the post office, I think it is quite apparent what the problem is with the post office right now. They are running this organization trying to achieve goals that can ONLY be achieved through lies and deception. And now that the mail is drying up it is becoming apparant that all of these lies have built a weak structure and it is collapsing into itself as we speak. They constantly break the contract and end up losing and paying twice the amount to the carriers, yet that money comes out of another column that doesn’t effect their bonuses or raises. I think they should completely eliminate the bonuses and raises that are awarded by reaching goals and start paying attention to delivering mail efficiently.

  2. Lori Dessingue Says:

    I wish I knew Fred Rolando was speaking at Rutgers University. I would have loved to hear him give such a powerful speech. It is energizing to hear him speak about such an important battle that every NALC member is fighting. I am looking forward to getting out April 12th to share the message with our Congessman and the public. We need everyones support. I hope all letter carriers get out there and spread the word to protect our future service.

  3. Lori Dessingue Says:

    I wish I new Fred Rolando was giving that speech at Rutgers. I would have loved to have gone to hear him give such a powerful speech especially since I am only a couple of hours away. It is energizing to hear him speak about such an important battle all NALC members are fighting. I am looking forward to April 12th to get our message out to the congressmen and the public. I hope every carrier can get out to support our future!

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