Tomorrow -- Tuesday, September 27 -- letter carriers are joining with our brothers and sisters in the NRLCA, NPMHU and APWU to let people know what the real situation is at the U.S. Postal Service.
With officials discussing massive cuts that would harm the American people and undermine the future of the USPS, this is too critical a time to stand by.
Among our actions will be rallies at nearly all 435 congressional districts across the country, in most cases from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time.
These rallies will not be protests. Our message will be tightly focused on the legislative process, not on our grievances with postal management or anybody else.
The rallies and our campaign to Save America's Postal Service have two goals.
The first is to provide accurate facts and context to the public, which has been misinformed about the real financial status of the Postal Service. The USPS is in far better shape than headlines suggest. Over the past four fiscal years, despite the worst recession in decades, the Postal Service actually realized a net profit of $611 million. It has tens of billions of dollars in surplus funds in its retirement accounts. It uses no taxpayer money and hasn’t for 30 years; it derives its revenue from the sale of stamps and services.
There are financial problems at the USPS, but they have little to do with the mail. Rather, they were caused by congressional actions that lawmakers can easily fix -- without using a dime of taxpayer money. The Postal Service is obligated by Congress to pre-fund future retiree health care costs in a way no other public or private entity does; moreover, it lacks access to billions of dollars of its own money.
Our second goal is to rally public and political support for H.R. 1351, which addresses some of the harm politicians have caused to the Postal Service.
Proposed cuts in delivery days, the shutting of post offices and the degradation of services are unnecessary measures, and they are destructive. They would particularly hurt small businesses, the elderly, rural areas, communities around the country -- and they would begin the dismantling of one of America’s oldest and most trusted institutions, one that provides Americans with the most efficient and inexpensive mail system in the world.
They would damage the U.S. economy at a time we can least afford it. The Postal Service is the heart of a $1.3 trillion mailing industry that supports 9 million jobs and that has job stability even during the recession. Weakening the Postal Service will jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs, unnecessarily. If Congress acts responsibly, the Postal Service can continue to adapt to an evolving society, as it always has. The Internet offers opportunities as well as challenges.
This is a chance for us to inform the public by providing information that counters the misleading conventional wisdom. Together, we can spark a public discussion and make a difference in the policy debate by bringing the full story to the attention of lawmakers.
Click here to find a Save America's Postal Service rally near you. If you can't attend one, please ask members of your family or friends and neighbors to go in your place.
Fredric V. Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers