What’s the Real Story Behind the Postal Crisis?

12:03 pm in Uncategorized by Kay Tillow

"Franklin Statue at the Old Post Office" by FredoAlvarez on flickr. Statue of Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster General, at the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C

"Franklin Statue at the Old Post Office" by FredoAlvarez on flickr. Statue of Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster General, at the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C

On September 27, 2011, in over 300 cities, postal workers will rally their communities to save the US postal services.  Letter carrier Michael Plaskon has written a short essay to help us to understand the effort to destroy this public service so that it can be privatized for profit.  

What’s the real story behind the postal crisis?

By Michael G. Plaskon, Executive Vice President, National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 84, Pittsburgh, PA.

In every Congressional District across America, Postal Service unionists are organizing rallies to be held on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. The National Association of Letter Carriers is collaborating with the American Postal Workers Union, National Postal Mailhandlers Union, and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association to hold rallies at every elected representative’s office to make the point that only Congress can fix the financial difficulties facing the United States Postal Service (USPS).  Congress passed a law in 2006 placing the postal service in its current fiscal situation, and it is only Congress that can solve the problem by enacting H. R. 1351.

Neither workers nor our unions caused this crisis.

In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.  This law requires the Postal Service to do something that no other business or government agency has to do–pre-fund its FUTURE retiree health care benefits.  This is a 75 year liability that has to be paid in 10 years.  The Postal Service makes a payment of approximately $5.5 billion on September 30 at the end of every fiscal year to meet this obligation.  The Post Office has been paying these benefits the past four years into a trust fund for employees who have not even been born yet.  This is the burden that is creating the “financial crisis” for the Post Office.  The recession that has gripped America the past few years has undoubtedly affected the Postal Service, but even in the worst economic times since the great depression, the USPS has had a net profit of $611 million dollars.  Unfortunately, the red ink associated with the post office is the mandated pre-funding since 2006. Read the rest of this entry →