Public Forum: The case against privatizing the Postal Service

by Sharon Hale Jenkins

United_States_Postal_Service_TruckThe Republican dominated Congress is STILL trying to dismantle the United States Postal Service (USPS). Postmaster General, Patrick R. Donahue, is the second highest paid government employee after the President. Unfortunately Mr. Donahue, along with Republican leaders in Congress, is proposing a plan to install so-called ‘mail service’ counters in Staples.

Under this plan, Staple employees (counter cashiers) would act as ‘post office workers’. This latest proposal was introduced after the failed attempt to end Saturday mail delivery. This was just the latest in a series of attempts to privatize mail service, thus eliminating good paying government jobs.

If not yet installed in your neighborhood, look for street corners to have a collection of stacked tan mailboxes. These street corner mail boxes will replace door-to-door delivery AND the union workers who now deliver your mail. This is a blatant attempt to get rid of postal union workers who strongly
support the Democratic Party (with both money and manpower).

Once in place, NON-UNION workers (with lower wages) will deliver the mail to the stacked boxes and residents will have to come to the street corner to retrieve their mail. Think of it as having a Post Office box on the street corner.

For readers who are not aware, the almost decade long ‘attack’ against federal postal workers began in 2006, when Republican Representative Thomas Davis from the 3rd Congressional District of Va. sponsored U.S. House of Representatives Bill #6407 entitled Postal Accountability and Enhancement
Act (PAEA). The bill was introduced on December 7, 2006. It was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8, 2006 and then by the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2006.

It was signed by then President George W. Bush on December 20, 2006. The swiftness with which this bill was passed and signed was the direct result of the Republican part losing control of both houses of Congress in the November, 2006 elections. The “lame duck” Republican Congress hurriedly passed
this bill before the “new” (Democratically controlled Congress) was officially sworn into office in January of 2007. The stated purpose of the bill was to reform the postal laws and improve the nation’s postal service.

The crux of the 2006 law is as follows: The USPS must make payments of $5.4 to 5.8 billion dollars into the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund EACH YEAR from 2007 to 2016 in order to prefund 75 years of estimated retiree health care costs. This requirement has forced the USPS to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something that NO OTHER GOVERNMENT OR PRIVATE CORPORATION is required to do.

In order to solve this problem, Democratic Representative Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts has introduced bipartisan legislation (with 193 sponsors) that would allow the USPS to spend more of its OWN money to pay down its deficits, including 6.9 billion in pension and other over payments that
may total as much as $25 to $50 billion dollars. These are Postal Office funds, NOT taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, Congressional Republican leaders have been supporting alternative legislation proposed by Republican Representative Darrell Issa from California.

His proposal would lead to WIDESPREAD LAYOFFS designed to greatly weaken the postal workers’ union, all under the guise of defusing the postal financial ‘crisis’ that Congress itself created in 2006. There are several key facts and truths about the USPS that are not well known that must be shared and made more widely known.

His proposal would lead to WIDESPREAD LAYOFFS designed to greatly weaken the postal workers’ union, all under the guise of defusing the postal financial ‘crisis’ that Congress itself created in 2006.

There are several key facts and truths about the USPS that are not well known that must be shared and made more widely known.

TRUTH # 1——-The USPS is NOT taxpayer funded. Therefore, package delivery fees, and first class mail are the revenue sources for the United States Postal Service. Most people, when asked, point to the increased use of electronic communications such as email as the reason for the financial crisis facing the USPS. Nothing could be further from the truth. As explained earlier in this article the deficits of the
USPS are directly due to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement ACT (PAEA) passed in 2006.

TRUTH # 2 ——When UPS and FedEx are unable to deliver mail in rural or outlying areas, the USPS is required by law to provide delivery to these areas, And without cost.

TRUTH #3——Only the USPS delivers mail and packages to West Africa. I wasted a great deal of energy before I finally sent a package to a Peace Corp worker who was teaching in a remote village. The package was delivered to the nearest city which was still miles away, but again, the USPS was the only
delivery system that served West Africa.

TRUTH #4—–Did you know that the USPS is the nation’s SECOND largest employer after Walmart? It is the largest employer of the DISABLED. The USPS has moved more people into the middle class (specifically AFRICAN AMERICANS) Than any other employer of VETERANS. God help us if large
quantities of medicine ever have to be delivered to areas were quarantined. What other organization has door-to door delivery system in place.

Hopefully, the information supplied in this article will inspire all concerned citizens to come out and VOTE in the crucial Congressional elections this coming November!

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