The US Postal Service Under Attack

     By Dave Duncan

The existence of the US Postal Service, considered to be the cheapest and most efficient in the world, is being threatened. Why? Because some corporately controlled politicians want to privatize it, cut wages, and eliminate some existing services, so that a well connected corporation can make a profit.

The USPS is Losing Money—A Lie

The general public has been fed the lie that the postal service is running in the red. Not so. The operating profit in 2014 was just shy of $1.5 billion. The staged “shortfall” that the public is being fed was created by the corporately owned politicians when they passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. This legislation passed by both Democrats and Republicans requires the Postal Service to pre fund the health benefits for USPS retirees for 75 years. The USPS is being forced to fund retiree health care costs for workers that have not yet been born. There is no company in this or any country that requires such a funding tactic. This sleight of hand causes the USPS to put aside more than $5.5 billion annually in order to meet the 75 year pre funding of health care for employees. The postal deficit has been artificially created. The USPS operates solely on the income received from the sale of stamps.

The Deficit is Not Real but the Jobs Lost Are

Over 100,000 decently paid USPS jobs have been eliminated. Any new hires are temporary workers with low wages and benefits. Approximately 75 jobs in the Binghamton area mail sorting facility have been eliminated.

Long term postal workers, who have been injured on the job, are being harassed when they file for workers’ compensation. According to one man who has been struggling to get his workers comp claim accepted, the USPS, “Keeps stringing me, and others in my position, along until we give up and take a reduced disability retirement because we need an income to live. If we go back to work after being injured, we are pushed very hard by management until we are forced off the job.”

Staples

Those wanting to cut corporations into the profitability of the USPS have transferred some work to Staples.  Staples is not known for its well compensated work staff. They have cut thousands of employees to less than 25 hours per week to make then ineligible for company health benefits. Much of the cost of the health care for these employees will now be picked up by the public since Staples employees have much lower wages than the USPS workers.

Walmart Next?

In a new wrinkle in busting up the USPS, there are rumors that some work is being transferred to Walmart. Walmart is another private company with a poor history of being generous with employee pay and benefits.

Closing Local Post Offices=Inefficiency=Public Disaster

Breaking up the USPS has been designed to be a disaster for the public. Neighborhood post offices have been closed.  In Binghamton one was closed on Main St on the West Side, and another on Robinson St. People in those areas without cars suffer. People who use the main post office branch on Henry St. often face long lines.

  Is This Efficiency?

Any letter mailed from one address in Binghamton to another address in Binghamton must first get sorted in Syracuse. How inefficient and costly the new USPS plan is.

The elimination of neighborhood facilities means that letter carriers must work longer, overtime hours.

UPS, FedEx and other “private carriers” are receiving subsidies from the government and they are more expensive than the USPS. Some areas of the country are not even served by the private carriers.

           Rural People at Greater Risk

To date no private providers are scrambling to serve the rural areas of the country.  Providing mail services to rural areas is not a profit maker for the corporations. Who will do it? Not Walmart, not Staples.

Today, at the federal level, there are well publicized efforts being put forth to hire veterans. Veterans are given an additional ten points on their exam for postal service jobs. Most USPS jobs are held by veterans.  Yet many of these same legislators are now threatening the decent paying jobs of Postal Service workers who are veterans.  Privatization will replace these well-paying jobs so that the new private owners can make a profit.

Public Back Lash

In many areas of the country the public has joined with the USPS workers to fight back against the cuts to the postal service and they have won. The public does not want the corporate politicians and the “privateers” to destroy the fine services of the USPS.

The USPS has been in existence since before the US became a nation. The provision for the USPS is spelled out in the Constitution.

When Your Politician Speaks of Creating Jobs

Speak to all those politicians who want to be elected so that they can “create jobs” and ask them if they are pressuring the Federal representatives to preserve the USPS.

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