(Editor’s note: Here are some of the latest stories (and one older one from the late Andy Rooney) and why America’s postal service should be saved and how we can go about doing it. If you haven’t contacted your Representatives or Senators lately, today would be a good time to call them.)
Why We Should Give a Damn About Saving the USPS
By Katelyn Belyus
“Print is dead.” I hear it all the time. People love to say it. “No one reads magazines anymore.”
Here’s the thing, though: Print isn’t dead—at least not yet. Digital is growing at an aggressive rate, but it hasn’t obliterated print. In fact, according to a recent survey by AdWeek, 98.6 percent of all magazine consumption is still rooted in print. And with the majority of magazine readers reading print, then publishers still need to be concerned with mailing a print product—even if it feels like the U.S. Postal Service can’t get it together.
It’s not the USPS that failed us—it’s Congress. The USPS can’t make any major moves without its approval. We’ve all read the stories—the USPS isn’t really broke; it’s just been mandated by congress that it pre-fund future retiree health benefits, which costs the USPS over $5 billion per year. This is something no other federal agency is required to do; in fact, even few corporate plans are fully-prefunded.Esquire, Forbes and even my publication, The Nation have all covered it. And Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are jointly sponsoring legislation which would reverse the mandate.
NALC and APWU Push Banking Services at Post Offices
At a conference on public banking services held by the Public Banking Institute (PBI) in San Francisco last month, two postal unions announced that they would join forces to push for the reinstatement of simple banking services in post offices:
James Sauber, the chief of staff of the National Association of Letter Carriers announced that both his union and the American Postal Workers Union will partner with PBI in a campaign to reinstate simple checking and savings accounts in post offices. The U.S. Postal Service offered simple affordable banking services used by many working class people from 1911 to 1967 when the system was dismantled. “In the 1940s, 4.2 million American had accounts at the post office,” Sauber said. In other countries, postal banks remain important institutions, most notably in Germany, Britain, New Zealand launched in 2002, Brazil launched in 2000 and Italy, although Japan is beginning to privatize its postal bank, the largest in the world. Read more here.
Fix Pre-funding Mess to Save USPS
By Kurt Eckrem
I’m a mailman. I might be your mailman. I don’t like the term letter carrier because I deliver so much more. Magazines and catalogues. Legal papers. Packages and prescriptions. And I pick up your outgoing mail from your mailbox and your house and send it on its way. I like my job; decent salary, decent benefits, good people I work with. The physical part of the job is wearing sometimes. As I get older, the aches and pains don’t go away as fast, but I can deal with that. The other part is harder to deal with. The stress. The uncertainty. The pressure to do more, and do it faster. And what’s behind that? Money. You have all heard the post office is in trouble. The Postmaster General likes to say we are losing $25 million a day. That’s a lot of money, but are we losing it? Not really. Read the rest of the article here.
What’s Happening to the Post Office?
By Andy Rooney (Broadcast on CBS in 2009)
I got an e-mail from a friend I never heard of the other day suggesting I do a story about the trouble that our U.S. Postal Service is in – that’s what the post office calls itself, the U.S. Postal Service. I don’t take suggestions gracefully, but they’re thinking about closing post offices to save money and I think it’s crazy.
According to them, there are 37,000 post offices in the United States and if they closed 10 percent of them they could save $3 billion a year. They’re also talking about reducing mail delivery from six to five days a week and naturally they thought about raising the price of stamps again, too. Most of us don’t like any of these solutions to the post office’s problem. Read the rest of the article here.