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National Association Of Letter Carriers Announce Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), released the following statement regarding the NALC Executive Council’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president of the United States:

ClintonFollowing a tremendously hard-fought primary process, NALC is proud to endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve as the next president of the United States.

Secretary Clinton has a long history of supporting the issues most important to letter carriers—a strong Postal Service, collective-bargaining rights for postal employees and decent pay and benefits for all American workers. She has been a friend of NALC since her first meeting with us in 1994.

Former Sen. Clinton was among the first in the Senate to support legislation to prohibit the contracting out of letter carrier jobs to low-wage private contractors, a bill that helped us stop the practice in 2006. She has defended six-day delivery, supported federal employees and was an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act.

NALC is proud to once again stand with Hillary, just as it did when she ran for president in 2008.

This year, we had the good fortune of seeing two tremendous champions of letter carriers compete for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.  In fact, both have been made honorary members of the NALC by delegates to our national conventions. As I informed our members in March, based on the issue surveys we sent to both parties’ candidates and the polls we conducted among our 280,000 members and activists, both Secretary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders earned our support. Out of respect for both candidates and the passionate supporters each has in our union, we decided not to endorse either until the primary process produced a nominee.That has now happened.

We commend Sen. Sanders—who also is a long-time friend and a fierce advocate for letter carriers in Congress—for running a fantastic campaign. The energy and passion that he brings to politics have ignited a national conversation and moved the needle in our national debates about inequality, wage stagnation and the power of corporate interests in our democracy. NALC intends to continue fighting alongside Sen. Sanders to strengthen our employer, our political system and our country.

This endorsement was not a difficult one to make, given the two choices before us. Leaving aside his anti-worker record as an employer, his dishonesty and erratic temperament, and the bigotry and sexism he has demonstrated as a candidate, Donald Trump showed blatant disrespect to America’s letter carriers. In our endorsement process, he not only failed to answer our candidate questionnaire, he would not even acknowledge receiving it. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has demonstrated her commitment to letter carriers and has dedicated her entire life to public service. Few candidates have ever been better prepared for the Oval Office.

There is a lot at stake on Tuesday, Nov. 8—for our country, our jobs and our families. Starting in the key battle ground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Nevada, NALC and America’s letter carriers are ready to unite behind Hillary Clinton to make this great country even greater.

After the endorsement was announced, Secretary Hillary Clinton released the following statement:

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

“The Postal Service is consistently ranked as the most trusted government agency, and the brothers and sisters of NALC are one reason why. Since our nation’s founding, efficient and effective mail service has connected families and enabled commerce. Today, more than 160 billion pieces of mail travel through the postal system each year—many of them in the hands of a Letter Carrier.

“As President, I will stand with the Letter Carriers to protect workers’ fundamental rights to organize, to bargain collectively, to be safe on the job, and to retire with dignity and security. And I will work with the Letter Carriers to build a bright future for the postal system and postal workers in the 21st century. I know that the postal system is still a vital lifeline for American communities from coast to coast, and recognize the Letter Carriers’ vital role in building the American middle class.

“Above all, workers deserve a seat at the table and a champion in the White House. Because when workers are strong, families are strong—and when families are strong, America is strong.”

Postal Workers Take Case To Save USPS To The Nation’s Largest Stamp Collection Trade Show

You’ve Got Mail Today, Will You Have it Tomorrow? 

Postal Workers, Supporters Urge 250,000 Stamp Collectors At NYC Trade Show to Join Campaign to Support USPS 

NEW YORK – The mail always seems to get through somehow, but how do you get a crucial message about mail through to the public?

Start with the world’s largest stamp show.

Members of the American Postal Workers will reach out to stamp collectors at the upcoming World Stamp Show in New York City this week to issue a warning: The future of the public Postal Service is threatened by a congressionally-manufactured financial crisis and efforts to privatize the 240-year old national treasure.

“We can’t wait to talk with stamp collectors, who understand as well as anyone how a strong Postal Service connects our country,” said Dennis O’Neil, a retired postal employee. “They can be a key constituency in efforts to protect our public Post Office.”

More than 250,000 people are expected to attend the eight-day World Stamp Show, which begins on Sat., May 28, and runs through Sat., June 4, at the Jacob Javits Center at 655 W. 34th St. in New York City. The show is held in the U.S. once every 10 years.

For the first time, the American Postal Workers Union – with more than 200,000 members at the heart of the world’s largest postal system – will have an official presence at the show. APWU members will distribute informational handouts and souvenir items, joined by supporters of an advocacy group, A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service.

The Grand Alliance includes more than 130 national and local senior advocacy coalitions, civil rights organizations, labor unions, environmental groups, and other groups concerned about the future of the U.S. Postal Service.

Priorities of the Grand Alliance include:

·      Standing up for postal standards, including door-to-door mail delivery six days a week.  USPS management is currently pursuing a failed and self-defeating strategy of downsizing and service cuts, including a nationwide downgrade of delivery standards in 2015.

·      Restore standards to July 2012 levels: According to news accounts, the USPS is not even meeting its own lower standards, with late mail having a significant impact on small businesses, senior citizens, consumers awaiting mail-order medicines, and other postal patrons.

·      Addressing a costly, inappropriate retiree health benefits pre-funding mandate, which will solve a manufactured “financial crisis” at USPS; A 2006 law created an artificial financial burden for the Postal Service with an unreasonable requirement to pay in advance for retiree health benefits. This mandate, which costs billions each year, does not exist for any other public agency or private company.

·      Adoption of a permanent moratorium on plant closings and consolidations.  Postal management can save money and enhance productivity and efficiency by using existing personnel and resources, instead of continuing to outsource key functions – including its retail operations – to for-profit companies like Staples, which are not accountable to the people.

·      Expanded services – including longer office hours, enhanced package delivery, low-cost digital access and postal banking.

·      A full and functioning Postal Board of Governors, acting as champions of the public postal service:  At present, there is only one confirmed member of the Board; eight seats remain to be filled.

“We’re at a pivotal point,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “We can allow privatizers to destroy our beloved U.S. Postal Service and leave millions of businesses and residents with second-class service – or none at all – or we can boost service, expand hours, take advantage of the booming ecommerce sector, and offer new services, such as postal banking.  

“We believe the public, starting with these stamp collectors, will favor a stronger USPS.”

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 APWU, visit www.apwu.org.

Coalition Delivers More than 150,000 Signatures with Message to Postmaster General: Act Now on Postal Banking

Nationwide campaign calls for immediate action on paycheck cashing, no-fee ATMs, and money transfers in U.S. Post Offices

Millions of consumers, underserved by traditional banks, will benefit from plan endorsed by USPS Inspector General for low-cost financial services

IMG_0080WASHINGTON – The Campaign for Postal Banking and dozens of national consumer, labor, and civic organizations delivered a petition today with more than 150,000 signatures to U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan.

The petition calls for immediate action to establish low-cost financial services in the nation’s 30,000 U.S. Post Offices.

“The big banks have abandoned our communities and left us to predatory payday and car title lenders. But the US Postal service has the authority to provide an affordable, high quality public alternative right now,” said Liz Ryan Murray of National People’s Action, a national network of grassroots organizations representing low-income communities and communities of color. “It’s time for the Postmaster General to act — our families can’t wait.”

Right now, nearly 28 percent of U.S. households are underserved by traditional banks and are forced to turn to payday lenders, check cashers, and other financial predators, spending on average 10 percent of their income on fees and services. These services are part of an industry that rakes in $103 billion a year at the expense of the most financially vulnerable.

“Tens of millions of seniors rely on the U.S. Postal Service as one of the most trusted institutions in America,” said Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works. “It’s the perfect fit to offer no-fee ATMs and electronic funds transfer.” 

“I am forced to borrow from payday lenders because my Social Security income is too meager to cover my needs,” said Bonnie, a senior citizen. “The smallest problem with my old car or any other thing in my life forces me to use lender money. The fees are horrendous!” Bonnie’s surname is being withheld to protect her privacy.

“The Postal Service has the legal authority, right now, to offer payroll check-cashing, access to no-fee ATMs, and electronic money transfers – and consumers want those services,” said Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union. “Big banks are turning their backs on millions of families. In fact, one in four U.S. households lives at least partially outside the financial mainstream. Without bank accounts they fall prey to predatory lenders.”  

USPS Inspector General David Williams has issued two white papers on postal banking that detail how the USPS could expand the products it already offers under its existing legal authority. “Offering expanded financial services would help the Postal Service improve the lives of millions of Americans as it fulfills its universal service obligation,” according to a May 15 report from the Inspector General. 

“The USPS, through what some term ‘postal banking,’ can step in to fulfill its mission of providing universal service while strengthening the public Postal Service and protecting good jobs that our communities need,” added Dimondstein. “Members of our union look forward to working with Postmaster General Megan Brennan to transform the USPS into a 21st century hub for communications, finance, and e-commerce.”

From 1911 to 1967, the U.S. Post Office offered savings deposit accounts to consumers, and it continues to offer domestic and international money orders, as well as international wire transfers. The U.S. Postal Service ranks as the most trusted federal agency, with a favorable rating given by 84 percent of those polled. 

“The United States has two separate banking systems today – one serving the well-to-do and another exploiting everyone else,” said Prof. Mehrsa Baradaran, author of How the Other Half Banks. 

“The best way to level the playing field for credit in the United States is postal banking,” said Baradaran, who teaches contracts and banking law at the University of Georgia Law School. “A public option in banking would balance the scales of government support for the banking industry and could potentially drive out the usurious fringe-lending sector, which profits from American’s financial woes.”


The Campaign for Postal Banking is a coalition of consumer, worker, financial reform, economic justice, community, civic, and faith-based organizations building a campaign-based movement to inform and mobilize the public to call on the United States Postal Service to take the necessary steps to restore and expand postal banking at its branches across the country. 

Participating Organizations: A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, Alliance for Retired Americans, Americans for Financial Reform, American Federation of Government Employees, American Postal Workers Union, Brave New Films, Campaign for America’s Future, Campaign for Postal Banking, Center for Effective Government, Center for Study of Responsive Law, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Commonomics USA, Communications Workers of America, Consumer Action, Daily Kos, Deluge, Democracy for America, Essential Information, Farm Aid, Hightower Lowdown, Jobs with Justice, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National People’s Action, People for the American Way, Progressive Democrats of America, Public Citizen, Social Security Works, United for a Fair Economy and USAction 

For more information:

CampaignforPostalBanking.com

Why We Need Postal Banking: Statements from Leaders

The Need for Postal Banking: Personal Stories

Speaker Ryan Has Three Goals: Destroy Social Security, Medicare And The USPS

Paul Ryan (FLIKR CC Starley Shelton)

Paul Ryan (FLIKR CC Starley Shelton)

Koch Brothers darling Multi Millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan is leaping back on to the national stage as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr Ryan was initially hesitant citing family concerns (despite the fact he is an opponent of paid leave for ordinary Americans)  but eventually was swayed by other GOP leaders to take the job. Ryan, who seems fixated on reducing retirement benefits for both the American public and especially federal workers, will have a larger platform to try to make these cuts a reality. Clearly these ideas are unpopular to many but as Paul Krugman brilliantly stated, Ryan is “the best con man they got.”  Republicans are using him to sell their treasure trove of unpopular policies to the apathetic American Public

Ryan was an architect of George Bush’s  failed plan to partially privatize  Social Security in 2005. More recently Ryan has teamed up with Congressman Darrell Issa to push the idea of reducing Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) benefits for Federal Workers. In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office they emphasized that the CBO should consider “different options for reforming FERS, based on changes made in recent years to other large pension plans, both public and private. The report should include, but not limit itself to, adjusting the retirement contributions of federal employees, altering the formula for computing pension benefit payments, and expanding the defined contribution component while reducing the defined benefit component.” This sounds quite ominous for Federal Workers. The intent is crystal clear.

As outlined in The New Yorker Ryan believes the only reason privatization failed in 2005 was because of the way it was marketed.

“The Administration did a bad job of selling it,” he told me. Bush had campaigned on national-security issues, only to pitch Social Security reform after reelection. “And . . . thud,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to prepare the country for these things. You can’t just spring it on them after you win.” The lesson: “Don’t let the engineers run the marketing department.”

 

Here is where the job of being an elite con man comes into play.

10404189_10153548324976418_913827613849190064_nAfter repeatedly emphasizing he did not want the Speaker’s job he abruptly changed his mind and accepted it. Publicly he worried that “its a job for a empty nester” not a person with young children.  “I cannot and will not give up my family time,” he told reporters before abruptly changing his mind.  Curiously Ryan has been a staunch opponent of paid family leave despite the fact the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not offer paid family leave.  Astonishingly this country ranks last in government supported time off for new parents.

“Paul Ryan is rightly concerned about his job’s impact on his spouse and children,” said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project. “Yet [he] isn’t willing to guarantee that all workers… have the necessary tools to balance their work and family obligations.”FT_13.12.11_parentalLeave

“For workers without paid family leave, taking time off to care for a new baby or a seriously ill loved one can have devastating long-term financial consequences, ranging from racking up credit card debt to raiding savings to bankruptcy,” Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, told ABC News. “Paid family leave would provide a critical safety net for these working families in their times of need.”

Make no mistake Speaker Ryan will be pushing an agenda that is quite friendly to Multi Millionaires children at the expense of working families.  “My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up, of some day having my own kids ask me, ‘When the stakes were so high, why didn’t you do all you could? Why didn’t you stand and fight for my future when you had the chance?'” Ryan said to reporters. His children do not have to worry he will make life easier for children of the wealthy at every turn.

Speaker Ryan will try to dismantle the three of most popular parts of the federal government to continue the GOP fixation of shrinking government.

Speaker Ryan accepts millions of dollars from individuals and groups that will profit by turning medicare/medicaid into a voucher scheme and by the privatization of Social Security.  He targets for “reform” include vital government services like the US Postal Service, Social Security Administration, and Medicare/Medicaid all services that benefit ordinary Americans.  The wealthy have no need for a safety net. They want to profit by its demise.

Speaker Ryan will now play the role of con man daily on a national scale. He surely will be selling day for night.  We all must call him out on his continued  hypocrisy before our countries safety net vanishes.  Ryan and his fellow multi millionaire politicians are in politics for the wrong reason. They want to accelerate the wealth of the few at the expense of the many.

 

 

Congressional Inaction Threatens The Postal Service Yet Again (Shocking I Know)

USPS Headquarters

In a month when the Postal Service received both great economic news and a government “best” approval ratings, Congressional inaction continues to put the Postal Service’s future in peril.

The Postal Service Board of Governors job is to be responsible for long range planning  and setting policies that are crucial to the Services future survival. Yet Congress refuses to confirm any appointments to the board. Leaving the board with only 3 of the 9 Presidential Appointees actually serving. To no surprise those three were appointed  by George W  Bush.  Neglect by Congressional leaders has left this board without a quorum and operating under a “temporary emergency committee.”  This is certainly no unforeseen emergency.  This is part of the conservative plan to “shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.”

In seven short months the Board of Governors will be down to one appointed member as the terms of two governors will expire. That will leave just one appointee James Bilbray on the board. He will be joined by Postmaster General Meghan Brennan and Deputy PMG Ron Stroman. This will amazingly leave 8 out of 9 appointed seats vacant at a time in which the postal service has many crucial decisions to make in a constantly changing business environment.

The role of the Board of Governors is spelled out quite clearly by the USPS:

The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service is comparable to a board of directors of a private corporation. The Board includes nine governors who are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

The nine governors select the postmaster general, who becomes a member of the Board, and those 10 select the deputy postmaster general, who also serves on the Board. The postmaster general serves at the pleasure of the governors for an indefinite term. The deputy postmaster general serves at the pleasure of the governors and the postmaster general.

In 1970, when the Board was established by the Postal Reorganization Act, the governors of the Postal Service were appointed for terms of nine years. The first nine appointments were for staggered terms of one to nine years. Subsequent appointments were made for the full nine years. On December 20, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, P.L. 109-435, which changed the terms of subsequently appointed governors from nine to seven years. The Act also added some professional qualifications for the governors. The governors are chosen to represent the public interest generally and cannot be representatives of special interests. Not more than five of the nine may belong to the same political party. They shall be chosen solely on the basis of their experience in the field of public service, law or accounting or on their demonstrated ability in managing organizations or corporations (in either the public or private sector) of substantial size, except that at least four of the governors shall be chosen solely on the basis of their demonstrated ability in managing organizations or corporations (in either the public or private sector) that employ at least 50,000 employees.

“The Board directs the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service, directs and controls its expenditures, reviews its practices, conducts long-range planning and sets policies on all postal matters. The Board takes up matters such as service standards and capital investments.”

We need to get politics out of the process of choosing members of the Board of Governors,” NALC President Fred Rolando said. “Managing an agency whose mission is to serve the public by delivering the mail shouldn’t be a political issue. Too often the board stresses how bad things are and warns of cuts in service, instead of advocating solutions. The Postal Service needs entrepreneurial leadership and support for expanding and modernizing, and for fixing the real problems the agency faces. It needs a coherent plan for the future”

Craft employees productivity and job performance are constantly monitored. Some may call it obsessive micro managing. Either way craft employees do an outstanding job  7 days a week 365 days a year in every weather condition. The workers of the Postal Service have produced an operational profit of over $1.4 Billion this fiscal year already.

Contrast that with Congressional inaction on confirming any members to the Postal Service Board of Governors. Also this Congress has taken no steps to repeal or mitigate the unnecessary and unprecedented 2006 Congress mandate that  placed a$ 5.6 Billion annual payment for retiree health care obligations 75 years into the future on the Postal Service.

The American public can recognize a job well done. The Postal Service has an excellent/good performance  rating of 72% in a poll just released. That is easily the best among government agencies. Postal workers are quite clearly not only making the grade but achieving the top score.

Congress on the other hand has abysmal performance ratings in a Pew Research poll released last week. Democrat members of Congress are at 33% approval while the GOP  members are at a stunningly low 22% . Its not too hard to figure out that if congress acts to enhance the postal service it would be popular among constituents and in turn benefit their approval ratings.The catch is it seems many congressman are more beholden to their financial backers than their constituents. The Postal Service in their eyes is a Pinata for the wealthy (their donors) to further enrich themselves.

If a non government, non-union enterprise was turning over a Billion Dollar profit this year and with that carrying high approval ratings from the American public and was deemed as the best company of its kind in the world than politicians of every kind would be scheduling a visit and a photo-op with its employees. Instead being a highly unionized,government agency postal workers are demonized by most politicians.  Rigid ideology and campaign donations dwarf  governing the country in a responsible manner every time.

 

Community Comes Together To Say “I Stand With Postal Workers” In Manchester

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Yesterday, dozens gathered to show their support for the US Postal Service at a rally held in Manchester, NH in conjunction with a national day of action to support the American Postal Workers Union whose contract is set to expire.

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.

“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 in a previous statement.

“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 stated..

 

The USPS Is Profitable Yet Again! But Why Are You Only Hearing Something Different?

USPS Letter Carrier Truck In Winter (Joel Kramer FLIKR CC)The revival of the US Postal Service continues to pick up steam according to Quarter 3 financial results released today. For the sixth consecutive quarter the Postal Service turned an operational profit when accounting for costs it can control. Fueled by an avalanche of packages the Postal Service continues to out perform expectations.

NALC President Fred Rolando commented: “Today’s results show the impressive Postal Service financial turnaround continuing in full force. The quarter’s $313 million operating profit puts black ink for the first half of the year above $1.4 billion – surpassing all of last year’s operating profit. Equally encouraging is what produced the operating profit – continuing revenue growth as an improving economy and rising online shopping drive better performances in letter mail and package deliveries. Package revenue is up a striking 11.2 percent this year; first-class letters and standard mail GCA on USPS pension and retiree benefitsalso are up.”

“This three-year trend in operating profitability makes clear the need to strengthen – not degrade – the now-profitable networks. We hope to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the administration and the new postmaster general to build on the progress achieved in the last Congress, within the mailing industry and among major stakeholders on consensus postal reform that promotes a strong and vibrant Postal Service.”

“We’re pleased with the increase in our controllable net income compared to the same period last year, which demonstrates that our cost containment and revenue strategies are delivering results,” said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan Brennan.

The only blemish in this financial report was the continuing unprecedented burden of being the only enterprise in the America that is required by law to pre-fund future retiree health care benefits. The graphics below outlines the absurdity of this requirement.

The Postal Service has updated its business model and through the dedication of its highly unionized work force it has turned an operational profit six consecutive quarters . It’s now time for Congress to update its thinking about postal reform and instead of decimating the worlds best postal service they should be acting to further enhance it. Ideas of plant closings and service cuts now seem quite antiquated in lieu of this economic turnaround.

NALC_infographic_V4_011515_d131-copy-1024x662

Senator Rand Paul Has No Idea Why The USPS Appears To Be Failing, But He Blames Unions

RAND PAUL (Stump Source FLIKR CC)

RAND PAUL (Stump Source FLIKR CC)

With much fanfare Rand Paul has officially kicked off his Stand with Rand presidential campaign.  He is arguably the most anti-worker candidate on the American political landscape.

Paul never strays from being a front man for the wealthy with his extreme anti-union beliefs. For Postal workers his message is clear as he advocates an  end to collective bargaining rights for postal workers when their current contracts expire.  He says he is not “opposed to all unions” he just believes unions are inappropriate for public service workers.

For other union workers, his thoughts are just as clear as he proudly introduced a National Right to Work Bill in the Senate. The National Right to Work Committee has given Paul $20,000 already this election cycle, which is 57% of all the money it has handed out to all other politicians combined.  So you can easily say that Rand Paul has essentially become the national spokesman for Right to Work. This kind of belies his “man of the people” messaging.

When speaking on Postal Reform a month ago in Florida he blasted the Postal Service:
“There are two sectors in the economy. The productive sector: you. And the non-productive sector: the people who live in Washington. They don’t make anything. They can’t even run the post office. They say we are going to project our power and we create new nations around the world.  We can’t run our own post office. They came to me last year on my committee and you know what they said, ‘we need bonuses for people at the post office.’ They said ‘you’ve got to pay people to retain talent. To get talented people you’ve got to pay them.’ I said ‘how much talent does it take to lose a billion dollars a quarter.’” I am not quite sure that Postal Bonuses were a major topic in the postal reform mark up. I am quite sure that postal  union workers do not receive any bonuses. Plus the USPS has turned an operational profit over the last few years.

(Michael Vadon - Carroll County Republican Committee Annual Lincoln Day Dinner with U.S. Senator Rand Paul - FLIKR CC)

(Michael Vadon
– Carroll County Republican Committee Annual Lincoln Day Dinner with U.S. Senator Rand Paul – FLIKR CC)

“So something has to change, but everybody opposes any changes that would allow the Post Office to make decisions like a business. Maybe if they were to have bankruptcy and renegotiate all of their labor contracts, they would have a chance. But there’s too many strong political, partisan voices up here to let that happen.  So I don’t know what the answer is. Privatization would be great but how we go about doing that is another story.”

Senator Paul’s main contribution to the Postal Reform hearings before his committee were not exactly constructive. He immediately proposed an amendment calling on the Postal Service to declare bankruptcy and reorganize. In the senator’s vision of reorganization, collective-bargaining agreements between USPS and its employee unions would be renegotiated, while existing no-layoff protections and the ability to bargain over wages would be banned.

Paul then tied up the committee with a lengthy barrage of questions about his failed amendment to “remove a federal ban on guns in the post offices.”  This prevented substantial debate on the problems with retiree pre-funding obligations that his Congress placed on the USPS. Senator Paul’s Postal Reform boils down to eliminating workers rights and enhancing gun owners’ rights in the post office. That is not Postal Reform, that’s Postal Destruction.

The real issue behind the Postal Service’s red ink is the  2006 Congressional mandate that the Postal Service fully fund 75 years of retiree health care costs in a 10 year period. This onerous mandate costs the USPS $5.5 Billion a year and is the only reason that the Postal Service doesn’t show a profit on its balance sheet. Even more outrageous is the fact that this payment is unnecessary as the USPS retiree fund has more than enough money for decades into the future. The hard-working union workers of the Postal Service are on their 3rd straight year of an operational profit.  It’s been an extraordinary turnaround that Paul fails to mention.

Rand Paul has some serious misconceptions not only about the productivity of  union workers but also their retirement and health care plans. ” Federal employees have almost double the compensation that private employees have. […] Maybe these government unions are going to have to contribute to their pension, maybe they’re going to have to pay something for their health care, like I’m having to pay, so when I hear regular taxpayers in Kentucky they don’t have a lot of sympathy because they’re paying high insurance premiums and they have to pay for their own retirements. “

(Video link)

He couldn’t be more misinformed. Public workers at all level of government have to contribute to their pension and health care plans. Federal employees contribute to the Federal Employment Retirement System (FERS), which requires them to contribute to the fund at a rate equivalent to one percent of their yearly salary. Also Federal workers participate in the Federal Group Health Care system where they buy their healthcare.  For some Postal Workers (CCAs and  PSEs) the price for health care almost make it unattainable while joining a retirement plan is not fiscally possible. The Postal Service does not contribute anything to their retirement plans. Paul had to know he was completely misrepresenting the facts, but that didn’t stop him. His overall dislike of public sector unions make any exaggeration of the facts acceptable, it seems.

Demonizing federal union workers is a Republican staple since Ronald Reagan fired Air Traffic Controllers. There is a profit to be made by decimating the Postal Service both politically and financially.  It’s no surprise that UPS and FedEx are among the top 10 contributors to his leadership PAC. With Paul it’s simple: you just follow the money. Whether it’s degrading public union workers or being the lead advocate for bills against private sector workers, it’s clear whose side Rand Paul stands with. His close ties with anti-union groups show his true allegiance.  He will offer an occasional  populist message on foreign policy or the war on drugs in an effort to disguise the fact that when it comes to economic issues he is firmly against working people.

Paul is the latest in the line of snake oil salesman running for President who under the guise of free markets/privatization, who want to further enrich the ultra-wealthy on the backs of  middle class workers.  The ultra-wealthy supporters of Paul never vote against their economic self-interest. Notice the record-breaking income inequality as proof. In spite of that Rand Paul is running for president hoping to fool working people in to voting against their economic well-being.  His Stand with Rand movement is clearly standing on the backs of union people.

Paul believes ordinary people should just be slaves for the rich and be thankful for it. He expounds on this in the video below.  For working people a more  accurate slogan describing their economic outlook under a President Rand Paul would be Fall With Paul.

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.

State Senator Jeff Woodburn To Tour US Post Offices Celebrating The Anniversary Of Federal Mail Service

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Written by
Janice Kelble, Legislative Director
NH Postal Workers Union

While Tuesday & Wednesday were days spent at the NH Statehouse defending against so called “Right to Work” and other attacks on working folks, we had a bit of good news from the northern part of the State. The APWU and the NALC were pleased to get a call from NH State Senate Minority Leader, Jeff Woodburn. Senator Woodburn called to inform us of his plan to pro-actively recognize the importance of a public Post Office.

Senator Woodburn will be touring U.S. Post Offices throughout Coos and Grafton Counties to celebrate the anniversary of federal mail service being signed into law by President George Washington on February 20, 1792.

The Senator is inviting residents to join him in celebrating this vital public service that American’s depend on. “US Postal Services has proud history and remains a vital link to connect rural New Hampshire to the rest of the state and nation,” Woodburn said. ”

His tentative schedule includes stops at the following post offices:

08:30 – 09:00 am Lincoln Post Office
09:30 – 10:00 am Franconia Post Office
10:15 – 10:45 am Sugar Hill Post Office
11:00 – 11:30 am Littleton Post Office
01:30 – 2:00 pm Berlin Post Office
02:30 – 2:45 pm Milan Post Office
03:15 – 3:30 pm Groveton Post Office
04:30 – 5:00 pm Colebrook Post Office

In 2006 the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (PAEA) was signed into law, putting a noose around the neck of the Postal Service. Slowly the Service has eroded as the USPS cuts back service, by reducing Post Office hours, closing and consolidating processing facilities, attempting to cut back delivery days and drastically reducing delivery service standards. It is not too late to turn things around. While letter mail volume has declined, package mail is booming and the mail network must be maintained to preserve a thriving robust public Postal Service!

We need more elected officials like Senator Woodburn who go out of their way to recognize important public services and to honor the workers. With all of the threats of privatization of the USPS we hope more legislators will speak out in favor of retaining this trusted public institution. A big “thank you” to Senator Woodburn from the NH Postal Workers Union and from The NH Association of Letter Carriers.

For more information or to get an updated schedule, contact Sen. Woodburn at 603.271.3207 or Jeff.Woodburn@Leg.state.nh.us.

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