This week, lame duck Senators and Representatives are negotiating postal reform behind closed doors. On the table are closures and cuts, particularly cut ting mail delivery to five days.
Already, the Postmaster General has begun a massive wave of distribution plant and community post office closures and cuts. These attacks on our beloved postal service are not necessary. The postal service is not broke. Congress created the financial crisis. Postal management should back off and let Congress or the President fix the finances.
These closures are causing huge disruptions to mail service, eliminating the over-night first class delivery standard, delaying delivery two or three days, and forcing hundreds of thousands of postal patrons to travel many miles to the nearest post office. Elimination of six day delivery will further erode service.
Think about the frail who depend on timely delivery of prescription drugs, the farmer who depends on delivery of perishable products, the elderly who depend on a Social Security check, the homeowner who depends on timely delivery of a mortgage payment, the consumer who depends on delivery of a credit card payment, the business that depends on timely delivery of advertising, the medical facility that depends on lab samples through the mail, the community newspaper that depends on timely delivery of the news.
The Postal Service is our national treasure, enshrined in the Constitution. The operations of the USPS are funded solely by postage and no tax dollars. The Postal Service serves over 150 million households and businesses six days a week and provides equal universal mail services for all the people at reasonable uniform rates. Good postal jobs help build strong communities.
Current plans to close half the distribution plants and thousands of post offices, eliminate six-day and door-to-door delivery, and abolish 200,000 jobs will send the public postal service into a death spiral.
To justify these cutbacks, Congress has created a phony financial crisis. Since 2006 the USPS has been forced to spend nearly 10% of its budget pre-funding retiree health benefits 75 years in advance. No other U.S. agency or private business faces such a crushing financial burden.Not only would the postal service have been profitable without the mandate, the USPS has also over-paid tens of billions into two pension funds.
The postal service is not broke, but the agenda of the 1% and their friends in Congress is to cripple the USPS, to soften it up for union-busting and privatization. The USPS is a $67 billion annual business with over $100 billion surplus in its pension and retiree health benefit funds, over 30,000 post offices and 200,000 vehicles. We’re facing a huge transfer of public wealth to Wall Street investors.
What can we do? Sign petitions, join rallies and protests to Save America’s Postal Service. Show up to hearings and town halls to oppose post office and plant closings. Involve your neighborhood, fraternal and faith-based organizations in the fight to save the service. Build local coalitions of postal workers, seniors, veterans, rural, small business, and consumer groups. Ask your Congress persons to oppose all postal closures and cuts, support the repeal of the pre-fund mandate and refund of the pension surplus. Tell the President to veto any postal closures or cuts.