Attend United States Postal Service Public Input Meetings to Insure a First Class Stamp Receives First Class Service
For Immediate Release 11/7/2011 Contact Clint Burelson, President 360-970-2965
Statement by Clint Burelson, APWU President, Olympia, Washington
The United States Postal Service (USPS) will soon be holding “public input meetings” regarding their proposals to close and/or consolidate mail processing plants all across the country. The Postal Service admits that if they are allowed to proceed with consolidating mail processing operations, the first class mail that is currently delivered the next day will instead take two to three days. The Postal Service does not intend to reduce the cost of a first class stamp to match the reduction in service. The delay in service problems will be even greater for those in rural areas. This is a dramatic, inappropriate, and unnecessary reduction of service to the American people.
In addition, the Postal Service and corporate owned media are not properly reporting the severity of the reduction of service associated with the consolidations and/or the real reasons for the USPS’s financial condition, which is not as bad as advertised. It is therefore important that regular citizens, small businesses, non-profit organizations and local government spread the word and attend these important public input meetings to express their opposition to the consolidation of mail processing plants, the elimination of overnight first class delivery, and any further dismantling of the United States Postal Service.
In Washington State, the Postal Service plans to consolidate mail processing operations in the Olympia, Tacoma, and Everett plants to the Seattle Plant. Such changes will reduce service in all of Washington State and the entire country. The upcoming “public input meetings” for Washington State consolidations are scheduled as follows:
Public Input Meeting Regarding Closing of the Everett Plant
November 10 (Thursday) 6:00 p.m., at PUD Building on 2320 California St., Everett WA
Public Input Meeting Regarding Closing of the Tacoma Plant
November 17 (Thursday), 5:30 p.m. at Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma WA
Public Input Meeting Regarding Closing of the Olympia Plant
November 18 (Friday) 6:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Inn Suites
415 Capitol Way North, Olympia WA
The public can also send written comments now and for as long as 15 days after the public input meeting to the following address:
Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact
PO Box 90306
Seattle, WA 98109
For those in other cities, please check for the dates, times, and locations of the public meetings and the address for the written comments.
Possible Harmful Effects of the Elimination of First Class Service for a First Class Stamp
The drastic reduction of service associated with the consolidations is unnecessary and could cause harm as follows:
- A first class stamp will be devalued by the loss of first class service
- The proposal is a rate hike since local overnight delivery will now be at express rates
- Workers, their families and communities will be devastated by loss/transfer of jobs
- Checks, other income, and critical time-sensitive documents could be delayed
- Individuals might not receive their medications when needed
- Mortgage and other bill payments could be delayed causing late charges or worse
- Election results could be negatively affected by the delay in mail
- Small local businesses and non-profits could see further delay in their local mailings
- Delay in service will be greater following a holiday
- The delay in service problems will be even greater for those in rural areas
- Mail processing plants and post offices will be harder to get back once taken away
Postal Service Financial Situation is a False and Manufactured Crisis
The Post Office receives no tax dollars to fund its operating expenses and the financial situation at the USPS is a false and manufactured crisis, primarily caused by: (1) Excessive discounts to large mailers like Time Warner, Bank of America, etc., (2) The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) legislation, which set unrealistic price caps and mandated prefunding of retiree health benefits for employees who have not even been born, and (3) overpayments to retirement programs – Over 50 billion to CSRS and 6.9 billion to FERS.
The finances of the Post Office could easily be fixed simply by a more realistic retiree healthcare prefunding requirement. The 2006 PAEA legislation required the Postal Service to prefund the health care benefits of possible employees 75 years in advance. As if that was not bad enough, Congress required that all of the prefunding had to be completed within 10 years. Congress created the problem and Congress could easily fix it. However, corporate wealth heavily influences congressional legislation and therefore the easy fix is not being implemented.
In addition to adjusting the prefunding of retiree healthcare benefits, the American public should insure that retirement overpayments are returned to the USPS, undo the corporate takeover of the Postal Service, end large corporate mailer discounts, improve pricing methods to encourage the free flow of ideas, and improve service to the American people. The Constitution establishes post offices and postal roads that should serve the American public and not corporate interests.
Large Discounts to the Large Mailers
Large mailers receive generous discounts for preparing the mail for entry into the Postal Service. The discounts/subsidies to large corporations are so generous that a whole industry of private sector low wage, non-union, postal work has been created. Moreover, the discounts have caused a revenue problem for the Postal Service. According to an article appearing on 10/11/2011 in the Wall Street Journal (a conservative business newspaper),
“First-class mail accounted for 50%, or $34 billion, of the postal service’s total revenue in the 2010 fiscal year. Advertising mail had higher volumes but brought in $17.3 billion, or only 26% of total revenue, due to hefty discounts and lower rates.”
According to a recent (7/6/11) report by the Office of Inspector General, 60% of first class mail and a whopping 80% of standard (advertising) mail are currently presorted and drop shipped by private mailers. The OIG report concludes that the private sorting of the mail and drop shipping is so vast that the large mailers no longer need nor desire as many processing plants. However, the same is not true for the millions of people whose mail travels through these plants.
Consolidation Benefits Corporations at Expense of the American Public
The OIG report later indicates that the same large mailers are “open to relaxing the existing service standards in exchange for achieving substantial economies.” Of course, what this means is that service to the American people is reduced and the large mailers get the benefits.
Then Postmaster General John Potter, giving the keynote address to the big mailers on 4/3/2006 at the National Postal Forum, reminded them how they benefit by consolidation.
“Second, we need the industry’s cooperation as we streamline our networks — whether it’s our transportation networks or our processing networks. From your standpoint, it will mean fewer places to drop your mailings and enable you to maximize worksharing discounts. This is not something that will happen overnight. Rather, it will be an evolutionary process that will enable all of us to transition smoothly.”
At the time, the Postmaster General was telling the large mailers to be patient because the Postal Service’s attempts to quickly consolidate plants in 2005 met opposition from local postal workers and their communities fighting to keep service. However, now the large mailers and the USPS have regrouped and are using a manufactured “crisis” to claim financial woes and justify drastic changes such as consolidation and the reduction of service all in the name of, “saving the Post Office.”
The need for the mail processing centers and post offices still exist for regular citizens, non-profits, and small businesses who rely on the existing system to conveniently send and receive mail in a timely manner. The USPS acknowledges that closing these facilities means the elimination of overnight delivery for first class mail. There is no need for a first class stamp to receive second class service. Spread the word of the public input meeting in your area to insure a first class stamp receives first class service and living wage jobs are kept in your local community.
For more information contact: Clint Burelson – firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-970-2965