The Postal Service is finally beginning to feel the impact of the national economic recovery. Due to the crushing burden of retiree health pre-funding, it remains in a fragile state. But it’s clearly making a financial and operational comeback, thanks to the e-commerce boom and an improving economy. Unfortunately, neither the political elites in Washington nor postal management seem to have noticed.
The Postal Reform Act of 2014, which calls for eliminating door delivery to millions of businesses right away, and a phase-out of residential door delivery for 35 million households over the next few years, was marked up on Jan. 29 and Feb. 6. The bill (S. 1486) also facilitates the elimination of Saturday delivery in a few years by authorizing the Postal Service to cut it once mail volume falls below 140 billion pieces annually—without any review, and even if the Postal Service is profitable. They did this even though the Postal Service earned an operating profit in 2013 and expects to earn $1.1 billion this year—before counting the impact of the unique mandate to prefund.
How can the PMG and the Board of Governors sit meekly by, saying nothing, while Congress proposes the elimination of door delivery to millions of businesses? Do they want to cede the booming Priority Mail and e-commerce markets to private competitors? Do they really want to shutter the successful Customer Connect program that relies on door-to-door delivery? Do they really not see the folly of outsourcing retail services to low-wage, low skill workers at unreliable companies such as Staples—a chain store that is closing hundreds of locations all over America?
We cannot count on postal management to save the Postal Service. We can count only on ourselves and the brothers and sisters who work alongside us in other crafts within USPS. We must mobilize letter carriers and other postal employees to fight for postal reform that preserves a Postal Service operated in the public interest. More importantly, we must work together with the other postal unions to mobilize the public to recognize the threat posed to a vital public service by misguided managers and misinformed politicians.
In 2014, the four postal unions have worked together in Washington. We have lobbied members of the Senate, worked to build consensus on postal reform with allies in Congress, and confronted postal management. The unity and consensus we have developed to fight for each other stands in stark contrast to our divisions two short years ago over legislation in the Senate…
On March 11, all four unions endorsed an alliance to work together on progressive postal reform and to jointly oppose outsourcing and privatization. We published a joint statement on our websites. I urge every NALC branch, leader and activist to embrace the spirit of this new alliance. Let’s work together to save the Postal Service. Because we know: The cure for management short-sightedness and congressional dysfunction is solidarity.