Rolando: Although There Are Encouraging Signs That Our Calls Are Working, We Must Keep Up The Pressure

Call Congress 3

Fredric Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers

I know this is an especially busy time of year for all of us. Active letter carriers are dealing with the last days of the “Christmas crush,” long days filled with extra greeting card and parcel deliveries. (Meanwhile, retired carriers no doubt feel a phantom twinge of shoulder pain as they recall how much heavier their satchels used to get as the holidays drew closer.)

Congress has been busy as well, unfortunately. As I’ve told you in previous e-Activist messages, a worrisome new compromise idea has emerged from the ongoing, closed-door postal reform discussions on Capitol Hill: to eliminate Saturday mail delivery in one year. Sadly, Congress seems stuck on the idea that saving the Postal Service somehow hinges on going from six-day delivery to five-day delivery—a service cut that would result in the elimination of 25,000 city letter carrier jobs, or one-sixth of our workforce.

Many of our legislators also seem to think that cutting service would be a more effective means of saving the Postal Service than dealing with what’s really hurting us: the unfair mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits.

I’ve asked you several times to talk to your Senate and House representatives about this issue, and there are some encouraging signs that our phone calls are working. A report in today’s The Hill notes that some lawmakers are calling “slim” the chances of a postal reform measure passing in the current lame-duck session. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), the retiring chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the Postal Service, even admitted to reporters yesterday that “a lot of people outside this group negotiating don’t like what they hear our compromises are,” while Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) said that he doesn’t think postal reform is “going to make it” in the final two weeks of the 112th Congress.

But even with the end in sight, there is still plenty of time on the clock. “As long as we’re here in session, I’m not giving up on postal reform,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) told The Hill.

So while it seems clear that we’re making some progress, we must keep up the pressure on our leaders. Call your House and Senate representatives—one more time, if necessary—at 202-224-3121, and tell them: Wait until next year to work on meaningful and effective postal reform, rather than hastily passing a reform measure now that would do more harm than good. Please urge other carriers and postal employees, as well as your family members, your neighbors and your friends, to deliver this message, too.

Let’s all do what we can—what we must—to make sure Congress crafts effective postal reform next year instead of rushed reform this year.

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