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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Peninsula | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Postal Workers and Customers Demand: No Cuts to Service!
Despite what you may have heard, the Postal Service isn’t broke. Nor is it losing billions of dollars a year delivering the mail. And a taxpayer bailout isn’t imminent. Reduced services are being presented as a foregone conclusion, but they’re not.
Today postal workers from the National Association of Letter Carriers and the Raging Grannies joined forces to send a message to the nation and its Congress. In Palo Alto 60 postal workers and 6 Raging Grannies demonstrated in front of the office of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. Anna Eshoo is a co-sponsor of HR 1351 and for that they thanked her...and called out the mostly Republican congress members who have not signed it. Nancy Pelosi has said she will not sign it because of her position as minority leader in Congress.
The massive cuts in service to residents and businesses being proposed are not inevitable, necessary or constructive. That’s because the financial problems facing the Postal Service aren’t caused by the cost of delivering mail; they’re caused largely by Congress, and Congress can solve them.
The Postal Service isn’t funded by taxpayers. All its revenue is earned from the sale of its products and services, meaning that the dire warnings of a taxpayer bailout are completely unfounded. The Postal Service hasn’t used a dime of taxpayer money in 30 years. The Postal Service made a net profit of more than $600 million sorting and delivering the mail the past four fiscal years. You read that correctly. Despite the worst recession in 80 years, despite competition from the Internet, despite everything you’ve heard, postal operating revenues exceeded costs by $611 million in the four fiscal years since 2007.
—Customer satisfaction and on-time deliveries are at record levels, labor costs are declining, worker productivity has doubled, and for six years running the American people have named postal employees the most-trusted federal workers. U.S. citizens and businesses benefit from the most inexpensive and most efficient mail system in the industrialized world.
So why the headlines about multibillion losses and a Postal Service in financial free fall? There is indeed a financial problem, but it’s not what you’ve been told. It doesn’t result from mail delivery. The $20 billion in postal losses you’ve heard about stems from a 2006 congressional mandate that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years and do so within a decade—a burden no other public agency or private firm faces. The Postal Service is actually paying, out of its operating budget, for the future retiree benefits of people who haven’t been born yet. That cost— $21 billion since 2007—accounts for 100 percent of the agency’s red ink over that period. House Bill 1351, which has bipartisan support and over 200 co-sponsors, would address the pre-funding issue.
What this is really about is another attack on unionized public workers like teachers, nurses, fire fighters etc.
While postal workers and Raging Grannies demonstrated in Palo Alto, they were joined by others across the nation, who joined them in demonstrating against proposals to close thousands of post offices, eliminate Saturday deliveries, lay off workers, cut postal workers’ pay, and end collective bargaining rights.
HR 1351, drafted last month by Democratic Rep Stephen Lynch, would end this sabotage and save the post office -- without a single penny of taxpayer funding. Even now, the USPS receives not a single penny in taxpayer subsidy.
HR 1351, is now co-sponsored by 211 Congress members including Anna Eshoo. This bill needs to be brought to the floor of the full house, despite obstruction of GOP Committee Chair Darell Issa of California.
Her aides came out and spoke to the group