Chanting, marching through the Main Post Office in downtown Portland, singing and eating birthday cake, the crowd listened to postal defenders, including Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster general in 1775.
Franklin, looking none the worse for his years, was apparently rolling in his grave, itching to bring a revolutionary message to today’s postal supporters.
“The postal service is not broke, but the agenda of the 1% and their friends in Congress is to cripple the USPS, to soften it up for union busting and privatization. The USPS is a $67 billion annual business with over $100 billion surplus in its pension and retiree health benefit funds, over 30,000 post offices and 200,000 vehicles. We’re facing a huge transfer of public wealth to Wall Street investors,” said the elder statesman.
Reverend John Schwiebert, speaking on behalf of Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, expressed concern about the demolition of Portland’s Main Post Office. “The Main Post Office in downtown Portland will be replaced, either at its current location or close by.
“Today’s Main Post Office provides early opening and late closing, 24-hour access to thousands of post office boxes and scores of parcel lockers, general delivery for travelers and the homeless, passport application, dozens of parking places, Caller Service and Firm Hold-out, acceptance/payment/accounting for Business Reply and Bulk Mailing, after hours mailing machine, stamp vending, mail drops inside and outside, rest rooms, drinking fountain, snack bar, bike rack, exterior seating, shade, and trees.
“Business and community customers need the same or improved service downtown.
“We need postal officials, the City of Portland and members of Congress to hold immediate public hearings to hear from postal customers,” said Schwiebert.
Recent small victories in the struggle to save the postal service have included a moratorium on “consolidations” and plant closures until April 2017, a one-year deferral of outsourcing of post offices to “contract” stations and “Village Post Offices”, and a moratorium on the outsourcing of trucking.
Portland Communities and Postal Workers United is part of a national network (Communities and Postal Workers United) to defend and enhance the US Postal Service.
Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, contact: Jamie Partridge 503-752-5112