Union to Challenge USPS Secrecy in Other Forums
A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit by the APWU and the Consumer Alliance for Postal Services (CAPS), which sought access to the meetings and records of the Postal Service’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC).
The APWU suit alleges that by excluding representatives of individuals and small businesses, MTAC violates the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires the federal government to give the public access to the meetings and minutes of agency advisory committees. MTAC is composed exclusively of high-ranking USPS officials and representatives of large mailers, and portions of its activities are closed to public scrutiny.
In rejecting the APWU suit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded [PDF] that the Postal Reorganization Act gives the Postal Service a “broad exemption from many of the laws that constrain modern day-to-day administration of other federal agencies.” The court concluded that the APWU’s “ argument is plausible, but it fails in the face of precedent.”
Commenting on the court’s decision, APWU President William Burrus said, “The APWU is deeply concerned that the Postal Service has relinquished its strategic policy-making to the largest mailers, and that it has done so in secret. Using MTAC and similar forums, big mailers have set the USPS agenda. This may explain why the Postal Service has repeatedly proposed postal rates and policies that favor large mailers at the expense of individuals and small businesses.”
Burrus vowed to pry open the USPS decision-making process and its secret strategies.