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UPDATED : NH Speaker Bill O’Brien Starts An Attack On A National Institution, the USPS

The shocking words against unions is nothing new from Speaker Bill O’Brien. Now he has moved away from the NH Workers to the beloved workers in the United States Postal Service.  On his Facebook page he attempts to blame National Association of Letter Carriers members of tampering with his mail.  He also goes further to blame American Postal Workers Union, and National Postal Mail Handlers Union members of not delivering his “red tagged” political mail.

O’Brien FB Status Update:  Here’s what union-controlled government has become in New Hampshire:

…And now, most recently, the postal service, which of course is staffed by union employees, have begun to delay and withhold mailers I am trying to send to voters. 

Red-tagged political mail that is delivered to the Manchester distribution center is supposed to get into mailboxes in my district the next day, two at the most. The first mailer I sent out two weeks ago took three days to be delivered. The second, which, similar to the first, was hand-delivered to the Manchester (Goffs Falls Road) postal distribution center, was posted last Wednesday. It was not delivered, however, in one of my two towns – New Boston – until Saturday, again three days later. The same mailer has yet to be delivered to the other town in district – Mont Vernon, even though it is five days later…

My sense is that there will come a time right before November 6 in this election cycle, or perhaps even before the primary, when the unionized postal employees will just stop delivering my mail entirely, cutting me off from having an effective conversation with my constituents…

WMUR was quick to catch this as well.  They ran with the story as a headliner on the 6:00 news.  On WMUR they also interviewed American Postal Workers Union’s NH legislative coordinator Janice Kelble who called the speaker “paranoid”.  In a written statement to the NHLN, Janice stated:

Clearly believing that he is the center of the universe, he has made unfounded ridiculous claims.  In a post on his Facebook wall, O’Brien claimed that “the postal service, which of course is staffed by union employees, have begun to delay and withhold mailers I am trying to send to voters”.

Not only are his accusation completely without merit, they are  also extremely insulting to Postal Workers who are working very hard to keep delivery standards high. Postal Workers throughout the country know very well that the future of the USPS is all about providing a service.  Postal Workers work days, nights, weekend & holidays doing their best to get mail processed & delivered in a timely manner. With the high level of automation that exists today workers are mostly moving boxes & containers of mail for it to be sorted.

In 29 years of working nights, weekends and holidays, I never once saw any Postal Worker intentionally delay mail or process it differently based on the mailer. It is absurd to believe that anyone would risk their job to delay Mr. O’Briens mail. Members of the American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union take pride in the work that they do and believe strongly in the keeping the SERVICE in Postal Service.

So after two years of attacking hard working middle class families throughout New Hampshire, the Speaker is going after the hard working postal employees.  These are the same people who have an 80+% approval rating, and deliver over 40% of the entire worlds mail.  The USPS office employs over 500,000 employees and is the second largest employer in the United States.  The USPS would be ranked 34th on Fortune 500’s list, if it were a private company, bringing in over 60 Billion dollars per year.   The USPS is a pilar of our economy and has stood the test of time.  For over 225 years the USPS has been delivering the mail to every person in America.

The Speaker is making a lot of noise over the fact that his mail was delivered to all 8,000 people in his town, and they did it all for less than 44 cents apiece.  He should be thanking the members of the NALC, APWU, and NPMHU who tirelessly deliver the mail to his house in any weather not falsely attacking them.

UPDATE 8/15 16:16pm

Yesterday, Speaker Bill O’Brien accused the workers of the USPS of tampering with his political mail.  In a follow up to yesterday’s post, I went out to talk to someone who could fill in some of the details to further disprove these outlandish allegations.

I spoke with Chris Howe, the president of the APWU local 230 at the Goffs Falls Road mail processing plant.   He told me in a phone interview that, “after he heard about the post he immediately went to research what exactly happened.”  I asked what the standard delivery is for this type of mail.  Howe stated, “It is a two day turn around if it is dropped off at the post off by a certain cutoff time of 3pm”.  Howe continued, “The Speaker’s mail was not received by the USPS in time to be processed that day (received at 3:49pm)”.  Due to the fact that it was not was able to be processed in the same day moved the delivery date back one day.  Howe re-iterated that “the Speaker’s mail was processed and delivered without any delay and with the same high level of service people expect from the USPS”.

In my research I also found that to tamper with the mail is not only wrong but it is a Federal Offense that could lead to a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years in federal prison.

These claims are completely false and the Speaker is only trying to promote his anti-union agenda as he is campaigning for re-election. The USPS workers have served our nation for over 225 years, and is still the best in the world.

Update 8/19

In a story from the Concord Monitor

Tom Rizzo, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service’s Northern New England District, said O’Brien’s allegations were “unfounded.”

“The post service takes extraordinary efforts to provide our employees with the training and tools necessary to advance the mail entrusted to us, including political mail, in an appropriate and timely manner,” he said in an interview yesterday.

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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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