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Postal Workers, Customers To Hold Protests All Across The Country On May 14

New Reports Reveal Long Delays in Mail Delivery;

Reduction in Service Standards and Closure of Mail Sorting Centers Are Hurting Consumers, Seniors, Small Businesses and Workers;

 Union Call for Expanded Hours, Postal Banking and New Services

WASHINGTON – Members of the American Postal Workers Union will rally in more than 85 cities in 36 states across the country during a National Day of Action on May 14 to demand improved postal services and to protect good, living-wage jobs.

“U.S. Postal Service executives and the agency’s Board of Governors are using a manufactured financial crisis to justify their strategy of reducing service, delaying mail delivery, and dismantling a great national treasure,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

“Postal workers are fighting for a vibrant, public Postal Service that expands hours, offers new services, and gives quality service to people across the country – no matter who they are, where they live or how much money they have,” Dimondstein said.

The nationwide protests will take place one week before the APWU contract with the U.S. Postal Service expires (on May 20) – and amid new reports of severe delays in mail delivery. Postal workers will urge customers to sign postcards to the Postmaster General declaring, “I Stand with Postal Workers,” and in support of improved postal services.

During contract negotiations, the APWU has made the unprecedented move of bringing consumer issues to the bargaining table, insisting that quality service is crucial to maintaining a strong public Postal Service.

In addition to proposals that would protect good, stable jobs, postal workers are demanding extended hours at post offices to shorten customers’ wait time in line, an end to the closure of mail sorting centers, restoration of prompt mail delivery, and the addition of postal banking.

According to an April 27 Washington Post article titled, “It’s not just you: Letters really are taking longer to get delivered:”

  • A decision by the Postal Service this past January to abandon overnight mail delivery is causing severe delays in mail delivery.
  •  “Preliminary internal data shows that the Postal Service did not meet even its lower targets for first-class mail during the first seven weeks of 2015, with letters that are supposed to take three days … arriving on time just 54 percent to 63 percent of the time.”

The Washington Post also reported on May 11 about outrageous delays for residents of rural communities in an article entitled, “Senators Press New Postmaster General on Troubled Rural Mail Service.”

The Postal Service, which isn’t funded by taxpayers, earned an operating profit in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and is on track to earn a substantial operating profit again in 2015. Although revenue from first-class mail has been declining, package volume – largely due to the growth of e-commerce – has been rapidly expanding.

For a list of protests at U.S. Post Offices on May 14, visit www.apwu.org/may-14-national-day-action.

NH PROTEST

Manchester Post Office
955 Goffs Falls Road, Manchester NH

Time: 4:30-6:00pm 

RSVP via Facebook event here

For additional background on the threats to a strong, public Postal Service, visit www.apwu.org/sites/apwu/files/resource-files/In-Depth%20BrochureV2.pdf.

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. For more information on the APWU, visit www.apwu.org.

U.S. Could Lose Its Postal Service As We Know It

(Matt Spiel FLIKR CC)

(Matt Spiel FLIKR CC)

By John Dick for People’s World
NALC Member from Michigan

Today was nothing but slog. A complete burden not just on the body, but a spewing of my entire soul. A steady crunch-crunch-crunch with every footstep. It’s that crunching that’s driving me mad: I can’t move my feet without that racket bouncing through my simple brain. The day started with a driving snow; two inches before the clock hands struck noon. The snow turned into needles of hail, then sleet. The icy crust of precipitation on top of the layer of thick snow created my hell for the day. With each insertion of my foot into this sludge it took an equal amount of labor to release my foot into the frosty air. The ground seemed to have demons reaching up with death-grip talons hell-bent on stopping me from completing my appointed rounds. The steady crunch ringing through my skull with each footstep was my squashing of another succubus hindering me from getting to the next mailbox. Damn you evil creatures, and damn this evil weather!

We get through these days; we letter carriers. The body keeps moving, but only because the mind stays focused. “Keep on playing those mind games.” I imagine myself always on the next street, one step ahead of the game. I imagine riding the Great White Steed through the Florida Keys, maybe on the Seven Mile Bridge. I imagine having that first beer when I take off my layers of winter wear

(Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough FLIKR CC)

Dangerous Winter Stairs (Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough FLIKR CC)

after coming home. I evoke the distant memory of only last night, when my best friend and retired letter carrier wife said, “Welcome home, baby!” I can have that again. But I got to keep moving through this slog.

I take this job seriously. I have a mission every day for my community. My coworkers feel the same way. Until my route is completed, I feel my job is not done. Tonight, I did not finish delivering the last mailbox till 6:50 pm. That does not make me happy, but the assignment was finished and everyone got their mail for the day. Our start time was moved from 7:30 to 8:00 am, which just makes my job harder. I want to deliver your mail as early in the day as possible. Some offices in our district have start times as late as 9:00 am. I guess that explains why the new postal caps have built-in headlights.

Another thing happened on Jan. 5 of this year with nary a peep from United States Postal Service (USPS) headquarters. Service standards for first class mail were “relaxed.” That sounds soothing, doesn’t it? Kinda like a massage. In the “old days” if you mailed a letter, let’s say within a fifty-mile radius, it would get there overnight. A good example would be from a Detroit address to a suburban Detroit address. Now it takes two days. A letter that normally took two days, for example, from Cincinnati to Detroit, now takes three days.

The thought behind this from the Postal Service management is to “relax,” i.e., delay the US mail so that the closure of 82 mail processing facilities can happen within the next year. The effect of these closures would be the loss of 15,000 jobs. But the loss of good paying “middle class” jobs is only the tip of this massive iceberg.

Ruth Goldway, Postal Regulatory Commissioner since 1998, criticized the latest service cut, which “threatens the very integrity and concept of Universal Service – the Postal Service’s primary obligation…. Under the law, the Postal Service is required to give the highest consideration to the requirement for the most expeditious collection, transportation, and delivery of important letter mail.” This is the reason letter carriers all across this land labor in all types of weather conditions to complete their appointed rounds six days a week. We want the American public to get their mail and parcels in a timely, efficient manner. No delays, no excuses.

Postal management is making a business decision to cut service on first class mail. They believe it will “save money.” That is the elephant in the room. The United States Postal Service is moving more and more to a business model than a service to the American public. My supervisors and postmaster have been using the words “company” and “business” lately in my conversations with them in regards to the USPS. The word “service” is never emphasized by them, but We the People have a mechanism to shift the dialogue.

The American public needs to demand that the Postal Service remains a service that continues to serve the American people. Instead of a slash and burn approach to cutting services, the USPS could and should be expanding services to our communities. The greatest example would be establishing “public banks” in all post offices to help those who are excluded from participating in “for profit” banks. Many of these folks rely on predatory lenders who rob you not with a gun, but with a fountain pen. Our network expands into every street, in every city. We could do great things, if given the chance. And still deliver your mail!

The four postal unions formed an alliance last year to “Help Save America’s Postal Service.” We quickly realized that more was needed. In recent years we valiantly tried to frame our message to the American public, with limited success. We have staved off attempts to kill Saturday mail delivery and more recently door-to-door delivery. We tried to stop the “relaxing” of first class mail standards and the closure of mail processing facilities, but these policies seem to be moving forward. We have a Congress that is reluctant to address our issues and a president who at best seems indifferent to the plight of the public Postal Service. We are reaching out to each and every one of you now.

A grand alliance to save our public postal service

On the national level, close to 70 organizations have signed on to help in our mission: To preserve the United States Postal Service as a public trust, a national treasure that serves all citizens of our country equally. This public good must not be sacrificed for the sake of private investment and profit. The organizations now affiliated are not just labor unions, but community groups as well as faith-based, social justice, and environmental groups. We want to see small business associations, senior citizens’ advocates, and Chambers of Commerce. We all have a stake in this battle!

When the unions fight this battle alone, it is seen as a war to save our jobs. This has never resonated with the majority of the American people, most of whom do not hold union jobs. That is why America has to see this struggle in a different light. That is why America has to know what can be lost here if we do nothing. If we don’t fight back, if we don’t lock arms and stand in solidarity, young and old, union and non-union, rich and poor, we will lose an American institution. Older than the Constitution itself, the Postal Service will become just another company.

And I will lose any motivation for climbing to your mailbox on a miserable winter day.

Sign the pledge today here.

 

Post first published by People’s World, here.

US Postal Unions And Community Activists To Hold “Stop Delaying America’s Mail” Rally In Manchester, NH (and Nationally)

Postal-Unions-Set-Day-of-Action-to-Protest-Service-Cuts-Mail-Delays_blog_post_fullWidthOn Nov. 14 postal workers across the country will come together for a National Day of Action to tell Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail!  Please join us! Whether you are postal employee, a small business owner, an individual customer, or someone who simply wants the U.S. Postal Service to survive and thrive, please get involved!

“The Postal Service is set to make severe cuts in mail delivery service that, if implemented, would cause hardships for customers, drive away business, and cause incalculable harm to its reputation,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

Why Now?

The Postmaster General is poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they will forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

  • On Jan. 5, the USPS is slated to lower “service standards” to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.
  • All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, church bulletins, letters, bill payments, invitations) throughout the country will be delayed.
  • Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.

These cuts will cause hardships for customers, drive away business, cause irreparable harm to the U.S. Postal Service, and lead to massive schedule changes and reassignments for employees.

Flawed Strategy

They are part of a flawed management strategy that has unnecessarily sacrificed service and failed to address the cause of the Postal Service’s manufactured financial crisis.

  •  More than 140 plants have closed since 2012;
  •  As a result, mail is delivered much later in the day, well into the evening;
  •  Retail work is being sent to Staples, at more than 1,500 stores throughout the country;
  •  Door delivery is being eliminated in most new housing developments;
  •  Chronic understaffing frustrates customers and slows the mail, and
  •  Six-day delivery is under constant threat.

The four postal unions are joining forces to protect service, fight for our livelihoods, and defend our great national treasure, the U.S. Postal Service. We have many allies in the fight against the proposed changes, including more than half the Senate and 160 U.S. Representatives.

Read the letter from the leaders of the four postal unions to Postmaster General Board of Directors.

Are the Cuts Inevitable?

The Nov. 14 date was selected because it coincides with the USPS Board of Governors’ last public meeting of 2014. On that day, the board will release the USPS financial reports for the fiscal year, and undoubtedly will once again bemoan “billions of dollars in losses.”

In fact, the USPS has earned more than $1 billion in profit from operations this year. The “losses” are the result of a bogus pre-funding requirement and have nothing to do with the cost of collecting, sorting and delivering mail.

The four postal unions, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Postal Mail Handlers Union(NPMHU) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA), are urging their members and postal customers to send a message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors:

Stop Delaying America’s Mail!

For those in New Hampshire, we will be hosting a candlelight vigil (details below) for others click here for a listing of events in your area

New Hampshire Candlelight Vigil

grim-reaperWhen: Friday, November 14, 2014

Where: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at City Hall Plaza, 904 Elm St., Manchester.

What: Those attending are encouraged to bring a candle/flashlight/ small light of some sort. Dress in Funeral attire. Even “Grim Reapers” would be appropriate.

Tee Shirts will be provided while supplies last. First come, first served.

Click here to download a sharable flyer for this event.

JUST ADDED! Informational flyers to be given out at Concord Post office and Nashua City Hall Plaza.  CLICK HERE for more details. 

NH – APWU Endorse Jeanne Shaheen For US Senate

APWU logo LRG

NH Postal Workers Union Proud to Announce Endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen On Labor Day Weekend

Manchester–Today, the New Hampshire Postal Workers Union is proud to announce their endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen for re-election, citing her work protecting the postal service, creating good paying jobs and standing up for New Hampshire workers and their families. Union leaders and members made clear that their decision to endorse was an easy one due to the stark contrast in this race between Jeanne Shaheen and her likely opponent when it comes to putting New Hampshire jobs first.

 “Senator Shaheen supported every postal worker in New Hampshire when she personally urged members of the Appropriations Committee to protect the USPS service standards, helping to preserve a vital public service,” said NH APWU President Dana Coletti. “Jeanne Shaheen looks out for the people of New Hampshire and has always put the families of this state first.

“Meanwhile, Scott Brown is against increasing the minimum wage and supports tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.” noted Janice Kelble, NH APWU Legislative Director.  “Now, he’s cashing in as a board member of a company that has offshored American jobs. That’s not the New Hampshire way. Scott Brown is wrong for the state, which is why we will work to reelect Senator Jeanne Shaheen.”

 Jeanne Shaheen has fought to strengthen the economy and create jobs for New Hampshire workers. This month, she signed a letter urging the leadership of the Appropriations Committee to protect the postal service standards, which is critical to maintaining the USPS as a public service. She’s supported investments in the state’s roads and bridges, which postal workers travel on every day, securing funding to rebuild the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge and expand I-93. Shaheen is also fighting to raise the minimum wage and voted to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

USPS Employees And Community Activists To Rally At NH GOP Event Featuring Congressman Issa

Get those signs ready because every USPS supporter’s favorite Congressman is coming to town.

Congressman ISSA (photo credit Congressman Issa on Flickr)

Congressman Darrell Issa will be speaking at a NH GOP event on Presidents Day (Feb 17th) at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord NH. 

As the Chairman of the House Government Affairs Committee, Congressman Issa has spearheaded the charge that would lead to the eventual privatization of the USPS.   He has proposed to; cut Saturday delivery, cut thousands of postal employee’s jobs, cut door-to-door delivery, and even proposed allowing UPS and FedEx the ability to use mailboxes like the postal service.  All of these horrible ideas are in response the myth that the USPS is ‘failing’ or going bankrupt.

There is no denying that the USPS currently has money problems, however the problems were all made by Congress when they mandated that the USPS pre-fund their retirement system to pay for the next 75 years of retirees, in the next 10 years.  This has lead to a $5 billion dollar shortfall in the USPS budgets. Even with these money problems it should be noted that the USPS does not add one red cent to the national deficit because the USPS is a self-funded agency.  If people like Congressman Issa would just remove the pre-funding mandate, the USPS would bring in a profit of $600-$700 million dollars annually.

We cannot allow people like Congressman Issa continue to lie to the public about the problems of the USPS.  We will not stand idly by and watch why Congressman Issa takes the most trusted government agency and sells it off piece by piece.  This is why postal employees and community activists will be holding an informational picket in front of the Grappone Center, opposing Issa’s actions against the USPS.

Where: Grappone Convention Center
70 Constitutional Avenue,
Concord, NH, 03301.

When: Moday Feb 17th (Presidents Day) from 4:30-5:30pm

Join USPS employees, members of the American Postal Workers Union,  The National Association of  Letter Carriers, and community supporters to tell Congressman Issa,
The USPS Is Not For Sale!

APWU to Launch National Campaign Against Outsourcing USPS Services to Staples

Protests Begin in San Francisco and San Jose Tues., Jan. 28
Message to Staples: When it comes to mail – NO SALE
USPS workers must staff postal counters

From Left to Right:  Janice Kelble, Dana Coletti, (President Manchester Area Local & NH Postal Workers Union), Deb Smith, Joe Steele, Mike Lafayette and daughter Maeve

Image from a local NH APWU action at Staples.
From Left to Right:
Janice Kelble, Dana Coletti, (President Manchester Area Local & NH Postal Workers Union), Deb Smith, Joe Steele, Mike Lafayette and daughter Maeve

SAN FRANCISCO — Members of the American Postal Workers Union, joined by community activists, will launch protests against a deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples to move mail services into Staples stores. The first protests in the nation will begin in San Francisco Tuesday morning and later move to San Jose in the afternoon.

In October, USPS announced a no-bid agreement to open postal counters with limited service in more than 80 Staples stores. The Staples-operated and staffed postal counters will open on a trial basis in four markets across the United States: Northern California, Atlanta, GA, Pittsburgh, PA and Central Massachusetts. After the trial period, the Postmaster General has said the plan is to expand to 1,500 stores.

WHO: Members of the American Postal Workers Union, community activists, individuals who regularly use postal services

WHAT: Protests outside Northern California Staples stores

WHEN/WHERE: 10 a.m., Jan. 28th, Staples, 1700 Van Ness, San Francisco

4 p.m., Jan. 28th, Staples, 121 Bernal Road, San Jose

“All Americans should have access to a full-service post office,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Although first-class mail is declining, package delivery is growing, largely due to e-commerce. This is when we should be expanding the post office to offer longer hours and more options, such as public notary and basic banking. Instead, we are giving customers fewer postal services as a result of this no-bid sweetheart deal with Staples. If we’re going to have mini-Post Offices located in Staples stores, they should still be operated by USPS workers.”

Staples has been struggling recently, shutting 40 stores in the last quarter. The publicly-traded company runs a low-wage operation, with high employee turnover, designed to deliver bulk commodities to customers.

Although the USPS handles 160 billion pieces of mail each year – 40 percent of the world’s total – mail is not a bulk commodity. Each package is individually addressed, and requires individual handling.

During this time of rampant identity theft, privacy and security are of concern to millions of postal customers. Uniformed USPS employees are required to take an oath and pass a background check before they can handle mail and make credit card transactions. Retailers, such as Staples, cannot offer the same assurances.

“Without public debate and despite claims to the contrary, the USPS is moving to shutter the reliable neighborhood post office and move work to Staples and other for-profit businesses,” said Dimondstein “Our union wants to shed a light on this bad deal. We’re confident that when the public learns what’s going on they will say, ‘Staples, when it comes to mail without USPS workers – no sale.”

 

For more information, see this recent story from the Associated Press

Also a similar story from NH:
NH Postal Workers Vehemently Oppose Opening ‘Postal Units’ In Staples Stores – NH Labor News

 

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service. The union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

Congressman Darrell Issa Still Wants To Gut The USPS And ‘Applauds’ The Destruction of CANADA POST

Congressman ISSA (photo credit Congressman Issa on Flickr)Congressman Darrell Issa continues to astound informed observers of the Postal Service with his misguided comments. Mr Issa “applauded” Canada Post for planning to” phase out expensive to the door delivery “of mail over five years.  He seemed to have no problem equating the US Postal Service with Canada Post. Not taking into consideration that Canada Post lost over a hundred million dollars this year delivering mail while the US Postal Service had an operational profit of $600 million.

Mr Issa also seemed to neglect to mention the fact that Canada Post was raising rates from 63 cents to 85 cents for letter mail. Imagine his reaction if the USPS wanted to raise rates by over 30%.  Most likely his  Government Oversight Committee would hold special hearings around the clock.

Also this “modernization” enabled Canada to become the first G7 country to eliminate home delivery of mail. Being a public servant you would expect Mr Issa to value service to the public not be “applauding” dramatic regression of services.

Mr Issa gushed “The Canadian Government is supportive of its (Canada Post) decision to modernize.” Modernize?  The US Postal Service is the best Postal Service in the world. There is no disputing that. USPS boasts the lowest rates in the world without a penny of tax payer money while delivering over 40% of the world mail.  US Mail is delivered with reliability and a level of public trust that is the envy of other Postal Services and businesses worldwide.

If Mr Issa  wants to look at Canada and find ways for our country to “Modernize” maybe he should look at their very popular and efficient National Health Care System.

Mr Issa seems absurdly focused at working to decimate the Postal Service. I am hopeful that the over $40,000 he gets from Postal Service rival UPS is not a higher priority than the needs of the millions of people who rely on daily delivery of their mail.

Mr Issa, should be applauding his own countries Postal Service rather than working to decimate it.

 

 

 

Imagine A Wold Without The USPS, This Infographic Shows What We Would Lose

Can you imagine what the world would look like without the US Postal Service?  With the never ending attacks on the USPS, this could soon be a reality.  We cannot allow this to happen.  The USPS handles 438 million pieces of mail every day, moving over 40% of the worlds mail.

Below is a great infographic that highlights some of the things that would be lost if we loose the USPS.  The USPS is the second largest employer in the United States, and directly effects over 8 million jobs.  These workers deliver 160 billion pieces of mail every year.   And they do it all without taking any money from taxes. The USPS is completely self funded by the revenue generated from postage.

One of the best things highlighted by this infographic is the charity donations that the USPS help to raise.  Over $76 million dollars raised for breast cancer research, and nearly $2 million dollars for endangered animals.

We must stay united in our effort to preserve this Constitutionally protected service.  The problems facing the USPS are all due to the pre-funding requirement set forth by Congress.  The USPS is being forced to pre-fund their retirement system for 75 years in the next 10 years.  This is the only reason the USPS is ‘loosing money’.  If Congress removes this restriction we will continue to have a vibrant postal service for eternity.

Life without the United States Postal Service
Source: NumberSleuth

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

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

President Obama Can Do So Much More For Labor Unions

President Obama followed up his omission of labor unions during his Inaugural Address by doing the same at his State of The Union speech.Senator Tom Harkin, a long time advocate of working people summed up the feelings of many in the labor movement during an interview with “The Hill”.

“Not one word in there about, if you want to rebuild the middle class, you’ve got to make it easier and better for people to organize and bargain collectively for their wages and for their conditions of their employment,” Harkin continued. “Not one word about that. And to me, that is the crux of their problem — is that people don’t have any power. They don’t have any power when they’re out there on the job. And you’ve got to have a balance. You’ve got to give workers more of a power to be able to bargain for things like their wages, for pensions, for family and medical leave, and paid sick leave and things like that.

“People just are powerless, and so I was just kind of upset and really saddened that he didn’t even give a nod to labor unions.”

“And you know what?” Harkin added. “He wouldn’t be there without labor unions, and neither would half of our Democrats in the Senate, I’ll tell you that.”

President Obama is not stepping up to the plate to protect unions at any level. He would not be in the oval office today without the work of unions but he for some reason refuses to acknowledge them.

The Postal Service is the largest collection of union workers in this country and they are being decimated by congressional mandates. Congress is silently watching as Saturday mail delivery is eliminated and this will further serve to accelerate a death spiral for the Postal Service. A blow to the American people and the Labor Movement. Not one mention by our President.

Its time for President Obama to take actions that will make life better for working Americans on Main St.  The Republicans are already the party representing Wall St. We do not need another political party doing that.

President Obama, when you needed help from labor unions we were there for you. Just like unions step up and protect millions of Americans every day. It’s now time that you stand up for us.

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