Postal Workers Cheer Postmaster General’s Resignation, Call for Moratorium on Closings

From: Portland Communities and Postal Workers United
Immediate Release 11/14/14

Cheers went up from hundreds of postal workers today when the resignation of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe was announced. The postal workers and their supporters rallied at Postal Service headquarters, site of a meeting of the Postal Board of Governors, and at 150 locations in all 50 states, to urge a halt to plans to shut down 82 mail processing plants, which they warn will slow mail delivery and cost jobs.   In Oregon, rallies were held in the three towns scheduled to lose their mail plants – Springfield, Bend, and Pendleton – plus Medford.  Portland held a rally on Tuesday with Senator Jeff Merkley.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union released this statement:  “Today’s announcement that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is stepping down is welcome news. Over the summer, delegates to the American Postal Workers Union national convention voted unanimously for his resignation. We hope that the next Postmaster General will reverse Donahoe’s policies of lowering standards, reducing hours, outsourcing work and diminishing a great American institution. The newly appointed Postmaster General, Megan J. Brennan, and the USPS Board of Governors, the board that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, are poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people, cuts so severe that they would forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

“We call on USPS’ Board of Governors to immediately freeze Donahoe’s policies and to do no more harm.”

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, newsletters of religious organizations, bill payments, letters and invitations) throughout the country would be delayed.

Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.  The cuts would cause hardships for the public and small businesses, eliminate jobs, and destroy the world’s most efficient and affordable delivery network by driving away mail and revenue. They are part of the same flawed strategy that’s behind efforts to end Saturday and door-to-door deliveries, cut back post office hours, and make other reductions in mail service.

The travesty is that the cuts are absolutely unnecessary because postal operations are profitable. The Postal Service, which isn’t funded by taxpayers, has earned an operating profit so far this year of more than $1 billion. And, while revenue from First Class Mail has been declining, package delivery, largely due to the growth of e-commerce, has been rapidly expanding.

There is red ink, but it stems from political interference, not from the mail. In 2006, a lame-duck Congress mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits 75 years in advance something no other public agency or private firm is required to do. That costs the Postal Service $5.6 billion a year and that’s the red ink.

Fifty-one senators (including Wyden and Merkley) and 160 House members (including Blumenauer and DeFazio) have called for a one-year moratorium on the reduction in service and the closure of the mail processing centers to allow Congress time to enact postal legislation that would improve, not degrade, postal service. The Postmaster General and USPS Board of Governors should honor their request.