As lawmakers work on finishing fiscal 2022 appropriations, they’ll have to decide whether to keep a House spending provision that would allow some post offices to offer more financial services. Coming in the wake of a largely ignored U.S. Postal Service test of a check-cashing service, a new initiative could test whether the Postal Service can attract millions of Americans who now lack banking services, serve areas largely vacated by banks and make money by doing so. Those tests depend on the Senate going along with the $6 million for a pilot project in the House’s fiscal 2022 Financial Services appropriations bill. Lawmakers are trying to finish the appropriations work before the current continuing resolution expires on March 11.
Throughout its 245-year history, the Postal Service has persevered through rain, snow, heat, the gloom of night, and even a global pandemic to serve the American people. But now this vital public service is under attack from within. In the course of two short months, a new Postmaster General has dramatically slowed the mail by banning overtime pay, dismantling mail sorting machines, removing mailboxes, and other service cuts. Given the overwhelming public support for the Postal Service, the U.S. government is unlikely to be able to get away with selling it off through public stock offerings as some other nations have done. Private corporations are unlikely to be interested in buying USPS lock, stock, and barrel anyway. The private carriers UPS and FedEx would be most interested in acquiring more of the public agency’s lucrative and growing package business. They don’t need legislative or executive action. They just need USPS to drive away their own customers by slowing deliveries and jacking up rates.
The wave of worker, student, and renter strikes is growing into a campaign for a general strike that begins on May 1 and continues at the first of each month from there. The government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse, a purely neoliberal money grab, has revealed that the only way we are going to survive and maintain social programs is by fighting for them. We speak with Mark Dimondstein, the president of the American Postal Workers Union, about Congress' failure to provide necessary funding for the US Postal Service as revenue has fallen by 50%. The USPS faces the real possibility of going bankrupt and the administration is openly saying it will let it fail in order to privatize it. We also speak with Joe Henry, political director of the League of United Latin American Citizens in Iowa, about the Meatless May campaign for meatpackers and against factory farming.
Washington — Faced with a crash in mail volume and revenue due to closures to battle the coronavirus pandemic—right when the country needs the Postal Service the most to help get vital food, medicine, and other life-saving goods to everyone—Postmaster General Megan Brennan asked Congress for a combination of $75 billion in cash and credit to keep going through the financial disaster. Her April 9 video briefing request, to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which handles postal legislation, drew immediate support from the nation’s two big postal unions, the Letter Carriers (NALC) and the Postal Workers (APWU). And even GOP President Donald Trump’s Postal Board of Governors backed it. “It is vitally important to the American people that the next stimulus package provides funding to the Postal Service sufficient to maintain a revenue stream that allows them to continue operations through this pandemic crisis,” NALC President Fredric Rolando e-mailed on April 10.
Among the most prominent victims of the coronavirus financial crisis is the United States Postal Service, which could quite literally run out of money to operate if the federal government does not approve a rescue package for it soon. The Trump administration—which, like much of the GOP, has long advocated for cutbacks and privatization of the postal service—actively prevented the USPS from being bailed out in the CARES Act, even as Donald Trump has made a show of publicly thanking Fedex and UPS for their work. Not very subtle. Fifty years ago last month, U.S. postal workers staged an unprecedented and historic eight-day strike, backing down the Nixon administration and winning the right to collective bargaining. A half century later, Mark Dimondstein, the leader of the 200,000-strong American Postal Workers Union, says that Republicans are using today’s crisis as an opportunity to destroy the postal service as a public entity once and for all.
The United States Postal Service has been fighting for its life since it was born. President Richard Nixon created this vast mail-managing entity in 1970 by turning its old Cabinet-level predecessor, the U.S. Post Office Department, into a government-owned corporation, caving to union demands after hundreds of thousands of postal workers went on strike for better wages and collective bargaining rights. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan tried to change the USPS’s public status and sell it off for cash. He failed, but in 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which mandated that Postal Service retirement health care* be pre-funded, and arguably contributed to a long-term financing crisis that continues today.
I’ve been a postal clerk for 23 years, serving my customers in a public post office in Gresham, Oregon. As you might imagine, with the holidays fast approaching, it’s a busy time of year for us. Every day, I help my customers mail letters, cards, and packages across town and across the county. Even when we’re busy, it’s a joy to share a small part in spreading holiday cheer. Because the Postal Service charges uniform rates across the country, I don’t need to ask you if a package is being sent to a home or a business, or whether the recipient lives in a big city or a distant rural area.
NEW YORK, N.Y.—Jonathan Smith, head of the New York Metro Area Postal Union, entered the Hunts Point Station post office in the Bronx on the afternoon of Oct. 16, accompanied by a dozen-odd retired postal workers, a 4-year-old girl carrying a “The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale” sign, and union communications director Chuck Zlatkin, who was carrying a small cardboard box of petitions with more than 5,300 signatures demanding that the U.S. Postal Service begin offering basic banking services. Their aim was to deliver the petitions to Bronx Postmaster Scott Farrar. But Farrar had declined an invitation to come, and after about 10 minutes, the staff on duty refused to accept the box. Smith and Zlatkin instead handed it over to Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx), who said he’d deliver it to Postal Service officials.
By Joe Davidson for The Washington Post - But now, that program has been sentenced to death and it is postal labor leaders who are rejoicing. They cheer the demise of a program that had been the target of a vigorous campaign by postal unions that don’t want the post office privatized. USPS will discontinue retail services at Staples stores by the first week in March, according to the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which led the fight. The union cast the decision as “a big win for the public as well as the 200,000 members of APWU and the union’s allies.”
By John Kiriakou for Reader Supported News - The U.S. Postal Service is spying on us. And they’re not doing a very good job at it. I’m not talking about peeking into letters or looking at how many mutual fund statements you receive. I’m talking about the systematic collection of information on every single piece of mail you send or receive, including the names and addresses of the sender and recipient, without a warrant or oversight and without any explanation to the person being targeted. Indeed, the USPS Inspector General has even issued a report saying that the Postal Service “failed to properly safeguard documents...
By Dave Johnson for Nation of Change - Should we run our country for the benefit of We the People, or so that a few people can profit off of We the People? This is a question that is rising to the surface in a battle between those who want the United States Postal Service (USPS) maintained and expanded, and those who want it privatized. There are some conservative ideologues who just can’t stand that the USPS demonstrates government doing its job of helping make our lives better. As with Social Security, they attack it relentlessly and endlessly. The latest push to privatize the USPS came from the Elaine Kamarck at Brookings, in “Delaying the Inevitable: Political Stalemate and the U.S. Postal Service.”
By Andy Piascik. United States - Throughout the country, postal workers and community allies have prevented the closing of many facilities. Among the actions taken were a post office occupation in Oregon and the erection of a tent city in front of a facility in California. Several years ago, similar popular pressure stopped the attempted elimination of Saturday delivery service. The large scale elimination of facilities has had the predictable result of increasing costs because of the greater distance mail must travel. Consider that an item mailed from a Bridgeport address to another Bridgeport address, for example, now goes to a distribution facility in Kearny, New Jersey before arriving at its final destination, then consider that the same rocket scientists who came up with that one hail themselves as fiscally responsible and attack the USPs as inefficient.
Today the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, US Postal Service & The Census, in partnership with the United States Postal Service, announced the release of a new commemorative stamp honoring Florida postal worker Doug Hughes, whose recent actions have brought unprecedented attention to the corrosive influence of money in our political system. Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Chair of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service & the Census, issued the following statement. The commemorative stamp was unveiled this morning at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, by Deputy Postmaster Kirk Reiland. The stamp features a portrait of Hughes, as well as a rendering of his one-man gyrocopter, a small anachronistic helicopter favored by hobbyists, with the accompanying text: "Doug Hughes' Historic Flight Against Corruption." The stamp design was donated by retired Maryland postal worker and painter, Thomas P. Conrad, a fellow gyrocopter enthusiast.
Let’s begin with the bad news. The U.S. Post Office, the oldest, most respected and ubiquitous of all public institutions is fast disappearing. In recent years management has shuttered half the nation's mail processing plants and put 10 percent of all local post offices up for sale. A third of all post offices, most of them in rural areas, have had their hours slashed. Hundreds of full time, highly experienced postmasters knowledgeable about the people and the communities they serve have been dumped unceremoniously, often replaced by part timers. Ever larger portions of traditional post office operations--- trucking, mail processing and mail handling-- have been privatized. Close to 200,000 middle class jobs have disappeared.