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URGENT ACTION NEEDED To Save Six Day Delivery!

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Please make an urgent call today to save 6 day mail delivery. NALC President Rolando outlines urgent situation:

Tomorrow, there is a possibility that Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John McCain (R-AZ) will offer to the Senate’s continuing resolution (CR) an amendment to strike the mandate to provide six-day mail delivery.

As soon as possible, I need you to call 888-987-3602 and urge your senator to vote against this amendment if it is offered.

The attempt to end six-day mail delivery service is an attack on the future of this great institution, on the customers who need it and the employees who make it work. Ending six-day mail delivery will threaten the viability of the Postal Service.

Your senator needs to hear from you tonight or first thing tomorrow. This is extremely urgent. Call 888-987-3602 and you’ll be patched through automatically. And please leave a voicemail message if no one answers.

In Solidarity,

Fredric V. Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers

Come Support Your NH USPS Workers on March 17th In Manchester

NALC Save Americas Postal Service

Rally to Protect Saturday Mail Delivery and Strengthen the Postal Service at Manchester City Hall Plaza at 12:00pm Sunday March 17th.

NALC Save Americas Postal Service

Concerned Citizens throughout America will rally in other states on March 24 to protect Saturday mail delivery and demand that Congress deliver a better plan to strenghten the Postal Service for the future.  The New Hampshire rally in Manchester will take place at City Hall Plaza on March 17 at noon because of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the 24th, and all members of the community are invited to attend.

The Postal Service’s plan to shrink the Postal Service and end six-day service is an attack on the future of this great institution, on the customers who need it, and on the employees who support it.  Many Americans – especially smaill-business owners, senior citizens and rural resident-would suffer if the strength and reach of our Postal Service is compromised.  In addition, cutting Saturday mail would delay important household and business transactions, including bills, invoices and personal communications, and may force customers to shift to high-cost competing services.

The US Postal Service is America’s only universal communications network reaching every address in America six days a week.  Established by the Constitution and using no taxpayer funding for its operations, the Postal Service is a vital public institution that New Hampshire cannot afford to be dismantled.

For more information contact Wayne Alterisio

Do The American People Really Support 5 Day Delivery? Hint: Not As Much As They Say

From USPS Polling

Everyone is talking about the USPS and their illegal attempt to change to a five day delivery.  They say that this is the only way ‘save the postal service’.  The USPS has been on Capitol Hill with claims that the overwhelmingly the public is behind the move for five day delivery.   I do not agree.

It is a common trick when conducting polling to ask a question so you get the response you want.  For example how would you respond to this question?

“After learning that this change will allow the Postal Service to be financially stable, to what extent do you support the decision of the Postal Service to begin delivering mail five days per week and packages six days per week, including continuing package delivery on Saturdays?”

If you have to choose yes or no, would you support five day delivery to save the post office? Of course you would.  This is why over 86% of people polled agreed with the above statement.

Now they USPS is pushing the idea that 80% of people support a five day delivery plan.

To what extent do you support the decision of the Postal Service to begin delivering mail five days per week and packages six days per week, including continuing package delivery on Saturdays?”

The real fact is that only 39% strongly support the idea, and 41% somewhat support the idea.

I cannot back up my polling with any real data, however of the people that I have talked to, only 10-15% seem to know and understand what the real problems are with the USPS.   I would be more interested to know what the polling is on that.

How many people know that the real issue with the USPS is the pre-funding mandate set forth by Congress.

I wonder how many people know that certain members of Congress have ties to UPS and want to privatize the entire USPS system.

These are the questions that pollsters should be asking but are not.  Why, because when you pay the pollster, you pay for the results you want.

We should all get behind the new legislation that was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) to modernize the U.S. Postal Service, save Saturday mail and repeal a crippling law responsible for 80 percent of the mail system’s funding woes.

Privatize The Post Office? That What Pitney Bowes Is Paying Lawmakers To Push

Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes seems  to be promoting a reckless and astoundingly flawed plan to privatize every part of the Postal Service except mail delivery.   This reckless plan was brought up years ago by the Libertarian Cato Institute but was quickly dismissed.  Yet the idea has been reintroduced recently. Why would this plan be suddenly creating interest in DC at this time?  It’s simple follow the money.

Under this plan, financed by Pitney Bowes, the entire Postal Service would become a series of private companies that would process and transport the mail to your US Postal Service Letter Carrier who would deliver it. The rational of this misguided plan is that they can eliminate hundreds of thousands of good union middle class jobs and replace them with low wage and benefit challenged employees . Then disguise it by still having your trusted Letter Carrier still bring it to your door.

This Postal Service is easily the most trusted Government Agency in America, it’s not even close. So Pitney Bowes and its extremist colleagues in DC figure they can’t privatize the entire Postal Service, as Mitt Romney wanted to do, instead they will keep the public face of our nations most trusted agency and have employees paid at the Wal-Mart level process the mail. Corporate America daily underestimates the intelligence of the American People but this seems to be extreme even by their standards.

How can people feel secure placing their most important documents into a mail system run by a shadowy workforce? The Postal Service goes to extremes in keeping people’s mail private, safe and secure. Undoubtedly this new private mail processing company would not do the same.

Pitney Bowes has contributed the maximum $17,500 campaign contribution to one congressional candidate in its history. To no surprise the recipient was Congressman Darryl Issa (R-CA) in 2012. Also keep in mind Issa also received $17,500 from UPS.

Mr Issa whose extremist views on dismantling the Postal Service are well-known . His Government Oversight Committee has blocked any postal reform legislation other than his own HR 2309.  Another major recipient of thousands of dollars from Pitney Bowes is Dennis Ross (R-FL) who was the only co-sponsor co of the union busting HR 2309 . Interestingly, Ross’ 2nd biggest campaign contributor is UPS with $15,000 in 2012. This picture seems clear that these people want the Postal Service eliminated for their personal gain and anti union agenda.

Advocates for this Pitney Bowes study stress that private companies “can fulfill other tasks in the postal network and do so at a lower cost and with greater efficiency and innovation and without political and regulatory interference”

Lets look at the facts the Postal Service has the least expensive rates in the industrial world and their protection of the mail is unrivaled. The Postal Service has not been able to invest more in innovation because it is saddled with a 2006  congressional mandate that the Postal Service make annual $5.5 billion payments into a retirement benefits fund for future employees who are not even born yet. No agency or business,  public or private is required to make such a payment.  Why not simply let the Postal Service survive without any ” political and regulatory interference”?  I am sure no replacement private company is going to fund retiree costs 75 years into the future like the USPS is required by Congress to do.  Most likely this replacement company will offer no retiree benefits whatsoever.

So Pitney Bowes is funding this ” study” that is the going to be officially  released in full in a few months. Its release will coincide with the debt ceiling negotiations. What better time to attempt to sneak this ridiculous plan into law. Only in the world of extremist politics  and right-wing think tanks would an idea like this seem credible. Pitney Bowes should save their money as their CEO who made $9,230,798 last year is retiring soon and will undoubtedly need a golden parachute on his way out the door.

 

NALC President Speaks Out To Members and Congress About Pre-funding Obligations and Lame Duck Session

Rolando Letter to Congress 2

What follows is an email from NALC President Fred Rolando regarding the impending deal in Congress to eliminate a day of mail delivery each week. The sword is about to fall on many union jobs. At this point all we can do is call Senator Shaheen or Ayotte and ask them to preserve 6 day mail delivery.

“Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve asked you to call your representatives in Washington and tell them to wait until after the first of the year to work on meaningful postal reform, rather than try to push something through quickly during this lame-duck period after the November elections. And thousands of NALC activists made those calls. If you did so, thank you.

Unfortunately, we’ve learned that key members of the House and Senate have met together this week to work on a compromise postal reform bill, and it sounds as if eliminating a day of mail delivery service remains on the table during those discussions.

This is unacceptable. Cutting a day of delivery would mean sacrificing one-sixth of our workforce—25,000 city letter carrier jobs—all in the name of holding on to the misguided mandate to massively pre-fund 75 years’ worth of future retiree benefits and to do so within just 10 years. This policy is what’s really hurting the USPS, costing it billions a year and diverting its attention away from working on a true business plan for the 21st century. (It’s worth noting that this last postal reform law was passed during Congress’ lame-duck session in 2006.)

Besides, dropping a day of mail delivery is a sure-fire recipe for driving away business from the USPS by undermining the value of the service that we letter carriers faithfully provide.

NALC continues to oppose any congressional deal that eliminates a day of mail delivery and that fails to lay the foundation for a viable Postal Service. Click here to read the letter I just sent to every U.S. senator.

If there is a sliver of good news here, it’s this: It’s still not too late for you to act. Even if you have already called your representatives, please do so again—they can not hear from us enough on this important issue.

So please, call your House and Senate representatives at 202-224-3121 and tell them to oppose any lame-duck postal reform bill. Tell them that Congress should instead start over in the new year to craft a brand-new reform measure that preserves this institution, that allows it to grow and meet today’s challenges, and that takes into account the needs of all postal stakeholders and customers.

Also, encourage your fellow letter carriers, your family members and your friends to call their representatives, too.

And stay alert for future developments. If these members of Congress reach some sort of postal reform deal this week, I will schedule a tele-town hall meeting to mobilize the entire membership to fight it.”

In Solidarity,

Fredric V. Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers

Below are two images. The first is the letter that President Rolando sent to the members of Congress, encouraging them to make new legislation in the next session and to do it correctly.  The second image show how their current proposed changes to the postal pre-funding will only net a savings of 5 billion over 10 years.  That will not be enough if they want to keep the post office functioning.

 

Why Is The NH Union Leader Demonizing The Hard Working People Of The USPS

Photo Brian Kersey / Getty Images

Photo Brian Kersey / Getty Images

The United States Postal Service is the most efficient mail delivery business in the world. A study by Oxford Strategic Consulting released earlier this year surveying the Postal Service’s of the 20th most advanced countries and it stated the US Postal Service is the most efficient in the world. Add to the fact that this is done without a dime of tax payer money and is even more impressive.

I would fully expect the Manchester Union Leader to cite American Exceptional-ism and congratulate the USPS on a job well done. The Postal Service is an example on how a business can withstand the worst recession in our lifetime as well as soaring gas prices and pretty much break even delivering the mail for the past 5 years. While also providing a government service and keeping millions of Americans connected, its a vital part of Americas infrastructure.

Starting in 2007, a short-sighted mandate from a Lame Duck Congress has required the Postal Service to set aside, in just 10 years, enough money to pay almost all retiree health benefits for the next 75 years ,something no other public agency or private company is required to do. This has cost the Postal Service almost $31 billion since 2007, accounting for more than 85% of its red ink during this period.

If that lame duck congress had not placed this unprecedented  burden on the Postal Service there would be no talk of USPS having financial problems. It’s that simple. Congress placed this unfair burden on the USPS and Congress can remove it.

Amazingly the Manchester Union Leader stated “The Senate approved a bill to give the agency $11 Billion in cash by refunding payments made to a federal pension fund” In reality the Senate isn’t “giving” the USPS anything. The USPS has overpaid over $11 Billion into this fund and just expects its money back. Its not a bail out. The Office of the Inspector General issued a report detailing this as well as outlining the fact the Postal Service has overpaid $75 Billion into another retirement fund. There is a bi-partisan bill currently before Congress HR 1351, USPS Pension Reform Bill with over 230 co-sponsors, including Charlie Bass, that would address the Postal Service over-funding their pensions. Congressman Issa for purely ideological reasons has refused to allow the House of Representatives to vote on this.

The US Postal Service has the 2nd lowest postal rates in the Industrialized world. Making it a bargain! The Postal Service does this with 200,000 fewer employees than it had 10 years ago. Of the remaining workforce over 20% of the employees are veterans.

Why is the Postal Service under attack by the Manchester Union Leader? Could it be that because the Postal Service is arguably the most efficient and most popular part of the Federal Government.  Pew Research has shown that the US Postal Service has a favor-ability rating of 83% easily the highest among government agencies. Add to this that the Ponemon Institute has the Postal Service ranked as the most trusted federal agency for the 6th consecutive year.

The Postal Service delivers over 30% of Fed Ex Ground shipments add to this a significant portion of UPS parcels and you can see both these businesses realize the Postal Service is the most affordable way to get parcels delivered. The Postal Service is looking to expand on this “last mile program” with Fed Ex and UPS. Congress also has to rescind the restrictions placed on it during the 2006 lame duck and allow the Postal Service to explore expanding into other services. Also Congress should allow the Postal Service greater flexibility in setting rates. This will allow the Postal Service to continue to be affordable and efficient into the future.

This newspaper seems threatened by the fact that a unionized federal workforce, whose productivity is at an all time high, can be among the best examples of what a real, modern and affordable business looks like.

 

And Occupy the Election We Did!

Carol Shea-Poter and NHALC

Left to right
Lew Henry, Wayne Alterisio, Carol Shea-Porter, and Bill Brickley

And Occupy the Election We Did!

I started posting on this website with a plea that we needed to get members engaged in this upcoming election because in 2010 we had our heads summarily handed to us on a platter. Mostly because of a pitiful voter turnout which invariably leads to huge Republican gains which translates into an attack on working families and the Labor movement overall. What we saw happen in Wisconsin was a prelude to what was about to happen to the rest of the nation.

Ann Kuster and NH Letter Carriers from the Union Night at the Fishercats

Newly elected Republican politicians turned 8 years of a Bush’s two wars and a ruinous Wall St. financial miss-step as a reason to lay-off teachers and dismantle bargaining agreements. You know what, aided by the conservative main street media, it worked! With the aid of ALEC generated legislation and flipped State Legislatures from blue to red, the onslaught began. It wasn’t long before the fight came here to New Hampshire. It was not just an attack on Labor with “right to work” but a host of crazy nutty legislation that was right out of a Fellini movie. Besides the phony claim that voter fraud was rampant in the country requiring us to set up an expensive time consuming voter ID system it was things we could have never imagined. It was things like being able to carry weapons on the House floor and on College campuses. My favorite was taking away lunch for State employees.

The Bill O’Brien Republican House was secret about its attacks never divulging their agenda or when legislation would be introduced. It was just a constant vigil. Democrats when they held the House always posted their agenda on pending legislation for the upcoming week. That is the fair and open thing to do.

This onslaught was not limited to Labor. It was also aimed at a women’s right to control her body and her decision as to when to start a family. That was probably a bigger mistake than attacking Labor. That has already been decided by the Supreme Court. All indications were pointing to Republicans wanting to change that decision. Their voting block was substantially larger. Coupled with the fact that the ethnic voter was not seeing jobs coming their way any too soon doomed the anti-fact checking Republican Party.

No poll or amount of corporate money and influence can stop a tidal wave of votes. Not in New Hampshire. Politics is real close-up and personal here. We will only succumb to logic and reason. We do fact check, and that drives our vote! We occupied the election like never before. I embodied this at my last union meeting when I called out all the people to stand who helped out on the election. I called them out by name too, because I knew who they were. It wasn’t just the usual few, it was many! Thank you brothers and sisters for making this election a roaring success for hard working families.

There was no apathy and that’s how we get change!

Veterans Day Is Not The Only Day We Honor Our Vets

helmets to hardhats

Today is the day when the nation stops to honor the brave men and women who have served our country.

Home of the FREE because of the BRAVE


‘Welcome Home’ the two words that every veteran looks forward to hearing.  Now as we celebrate Veterans Day we need to talk about the biggest problem facing veteran, unemployment.

In 2011 President Obama took this problem very seriously and pushed the “VOW to hire Vets Act” which has continued to lower the unemployment rate of veterans to its lowest point in years.

The President is not the only who have taken pride in helping our veterans returning home.  America’s Building Trades have been helping veterans find good careers through their Helmets to Hardhats program.

“Because of their military experience, these guys no longer have the kid in them,” said Doug Williams, Business Manager of Iron Workers Local 433. “They have discipline, can follow instructions and are not afraid to work hard. They are the kind of men we need in our industry.”

The Helmets to Hardhat program is also using returning vets to help heal America’s wounds here at home.  Veterans are currently working on rebuilding the World Trade Center.

“I had just arrived at my duty station when Sept. 11 happened,” says Lawrence Gotti, Ironworkers Local 40, a U.S. Army Veteran. “Being from New York and going through what I’ve gone through, It’s just an honor—it’s a point of personal pride to be here now working on any part of the World Trade Center.”

See the special Veterans Day message from Iron Workers General President Walter Wise

Locally the Iron Workers Union (local 7) have helped many veterans receive the training they need to build a long career as an ironworker.  Last year Shawn Cleary, Business Agent for Local 7, gave a speech at a local ‘Topping Out’ ceremony for graduating Helmets to Hardhats graduates. (Video)

While Helmets to Hardhats is a phenomenal program to help returning vets one organization has been helping vets for far longer.  The US Postal Service has a workforce of over 600,000 people and over 25% are veterans.   Even better is that 8% of the workforce are disabled veterans.  The USPS is one of the largest employers of returning veterans in the country, and now that is in jeopardy.

The funding problems the USPS is facing would reek havok on the workforce.

The Postal Service announced in August that it wants to reduce the workforce by 220,000, and is seeking authority to lay off as many as 120,000 workers.

If 120,000 postal workers were laid off, approximately 26,000 veterans would be affected.

Below is an ad created by the American Postal Workers Union in conjunction with Save Americas Postal Service to highlight these cuts.

As we move away from the Presidential election and into the Lame Duck Congress we have to be very mindful that there are many pieces of USPS recovery legislation that may come up.  Some of the legislation is good and would fix the over-funding of their retirement system, while others would end up closing post offices, and stopping six day delivery.

Working to save our USPS is just another way we can provide our returning vetrans with good careers here at home.

Congress Must Change The USPS Funding Policy To Save The USPS

NALC President Rolando Speaks at NALC Convention

Last week NALC President Fred Rolando issued a statement on the Postal Service meeting its borrowing limit:. Rolando very effectively puts the current Postal Service situation in perspective. This is from the NALC website.

“We encourage the media to pause and fully consider the situation before jumping to the conclusion that the U.S. Post Service, having reached its $15 billion borrowing limit for the first time, is facing a fiscal cliff.

“It’s not.

“The Postal Service announced this week that it has reached its borrowing limit—yet, it was also announced this week that there is a $25 billion surplus in its pension funds, as acknowledged by the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General.

“The Postal Service has said that normal operations will continue and neither the public nor employees will be affected. But the borrowing authority issue drives home the point that Congress must undo the damage its own actions have inflicted on USPS finances.

“As we have long acknowledged, the Postal Service does face a serious—but quite manageable—business problem as a result of the public’s increasing use of the Internet for email and other transactions. But the Internet also has spurred increased use of the Postal Service’s shipping services from e-commerce. There are challenges, but there are also opportunities for growth.

“Unfortunately, at the direction of Congress, the Postal Service has been forced to set aside more than $45 billion to pre-fund the health care costs of its future retirees and is required to unnecessarily set aside billions more—although no other business or government agency in this country is required to pre-fund these benefits, and although the amount already accumulated will provide for retirees for decades to come.

“By mandating these payments and refusing to allow the Postal Service to access its own pension fund surplus, Congress has turned a manageable business challenge into a nightmare of artificial deadlines and unnecessary financial burdens.

“No organization could be more concerned about protecting Postal Service employees’ pensions and retirees’ health care needs than the NALC, which represents 174,297 city letter carriers, as well as 89,202 retirees.

“But the 2006 congressional mandate that the Postal Service do something no other agency or company has to do—pre-fund future retiree health benefits 75 years into the future—accounts for 80 percent of all the red ink and 100 percent of the use of its borrowing authority. Congress should remedy what it has done.

“It’s also worth noting again that the Postal Service’s inspector general issued a report Tuesday showing that the combined surpluses in the Postal Service’s two pension plans now exceed $25 billion. If the Postal Service were allowed to operate like any other company, it would not have exhausted its borrowing authority.

“In short, this is a crisis created by Congress, and it will require a Congressional act to fix it. It’s not necessary to impose drastic cuts in service—such as the loss of six-day or to-the-door delivery—to stop the flow of red ink. Such measures would, in fact, be counterproductive, by driving customers—and thus revenue—away from the Postal Service. Congress can end this crisis by relieving the Postal Service of these unnecessary financial obligations so it can focus its energy and resources on adapting to the changing needs of the American people.”

Workers Rally Outside the RNC

Second-bill-of-rights

Workers from across the country came together to oppose Governor Romney and his 1% values.  The rally which promoted the “Second Bill Of Rights“.  Members of Postal Unions, IBEW, CWA, and many others were there to protest Mitt Romney and the attacks on worker in America.

From the YouTube Description:

When the Republican National convention headed to Tampa to nominate their candidate for president, the WCFFL was ready. The 12-counrty organization staged “Welcome to Romney’s America,” a combination protest and satirical street theater to illustrate what America would be like under a Romney/Ryan administration..

The premise of the WCFFL’s event was based around the tenants of a proposed America’s Second Bill of Rights, which defines 5 fundamental rights essential to workers and the middle class:

1. Full Employment and a Living Wage
2. Full Participation in the Electoral Process
3. A Voice at Work
4. A Quality Education
5. A Secure, Healthy Future

Romney’s vision for America would make a mockery of these basic rights and destroy the middle class.

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