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Facing the Cliff

As Postal employees, we are in a unique situation in that we have the opportunity to vote on the future direction of our employer. In a few days we will head to the ballot box to decide the fate of our jobs and pensions.

Our choices for President are between two candidates who have a starkly different vision of the Postal Service’s future.

President Obama will  continue to work towards a long-term viable Postal Service. His message to Letter Carriers this summer in Minneapolis was inspiring: “Together, you represent  what’s best about this country. Your work isn’t easy, but day in and day out, you provide a service that keeps our country’s economy on track.” Obama continued, “We are pushing back on the assault on unions because the values you stand for — hard work, responsibility, looking out for one another — those are not just union values, they are American values.”

If Governor Romney were to take control of the Oval Office, he would most certainly begin the process of eliminating the Postal Service as we know it. He is surrounded by economic advisers like Kevin Hassett, who dream at night to not only see the most effective part of the federal government eliminated but to see hundreds of thousands of union jobs vanish.

As shown by his dismal job creation numbers as an unpopular Governor of Massachusetts, Romney has no skill at working for the advancement of ordinary citizens. Romney, besides being born extremely wealthy, has made his ridiculous amount of money presiding over Bain Capital. Bain Capital didn’t make money by creating jobs — they became wealthy by eliminating them. Gutting and then selling off companies is what Romney did at Bain and he will now do that to the Postal Service.

Having a $5.6 Billion annual payment mandated by Congress to pay for retiree health care costs 75 years in the future has placed the Postal Service in a difficult place. This burden  was placed as a political statement by the Bush administration. Adding to the problem is that the 112th Congress has been not only obstructionist but fervently anti-worker and anti-government. So it’s not even a possibility that Postal Reform could get a fair hearing. Though a bi-partisan postal reform bill garnered over 230 co sponsors, it was denied a vote by the Government Oversight Committee whose GOP members are well-financed by the Koch Brothers and other extreme anti-worker groups.

Just like Sandy was a “Perfect Storm”, so is the situation the Postal Service finds itself in. A manufactured crisis has placed the Postal Service on the precipice of a fiscal cliff. The Republican Party Platform is trying to use this crisis to advance their ideological crusade and privatize the Postal Service. That would have detrimental effects to millions of Americans who depend on the Postal Service, as well as postal workers and 7-8 million mailing industry workers who would soon be on the unemployment line.

Our choices are between President Obama, who will pull us away from the edge, and Mitt Romney — who would be more than happy to push us and our jobs off the cliff.

 

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About Bill Brickley

Bill is a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, formerly served on the NH Letter Carrier Executive Board as CD1 Legislative Liaison. Also serves on the NH AFL-CIO Executive Board. Former NH Area Coordinator Amnesty International and NH Labor News Blogger Follow him on twitter @BillBrickley
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