Portland Communities and Postal Workers United
contact Jamie Partridge
Postmaster General earns Scrooge Award
A huge postcard, announcing his Scrooge of the Year Award, was mailed today to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. Decked out in a santa hat, Rev. John Schwiebert handed the three-by-five foot card across the counter to smiling postal clerks at Portland’s Martin Luther King Jr. Post Office, while a holiday crowd of approving customers snapped photos as they waited in a line that stretched out into the street.
The Scrooge of the Year award is given every Christmas to the worst boss by a vote of attendees at the Portland Jobs with Justice holiday fundraising party. The award accuses the PMG of “dismantling and privatizing the people’s postal service, eg. closing processing plants, slashing service hours and closing post offices, delaying the mail, outsourcing retail to Staples and Walmart.” Donahoe is retiring as of February 1st, however he has made a New Year’s resolution to send the US Postal Service into a “death spiral”, according to his critics.
The Postmaster General has ordered the USPS to lower “service standards” on January 5th, to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town. All mail (letters, periodicals, packages) throughout the country will be delayed. Eighty-two mail processing plants, half of those remaining, will be closed during 2015, including those in Springfield, Pendleton, and Bend, Oregon.
“These cuts will cause hardships for customers – especially the elderly, disabled, rural, and small business customers– drive away business, and cause irreparable harm to the U. S. Postal Service,” said Rev. Schwiebert, a leader of Portland Communities and Postal Workers United. He called the changes part of USPS management’s “flawed” strategy to sacrifice service without addressing the Postal Service’s manufactured debt crisis.
Postal management says these cuts and closures are necessary because the USPS is losing money. Critics claim that a 2006 Congressional mandate, which forces the U.S. Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance, has created a phony financial crisis. Although the USPS has claimed a “loss” every year since 2006, due primarily to the pre-fund mandate, the postal service has not made an actual payment toward prefunding since 2011. The USPS has generated an operating profit for the last six quarters.