Rearing It's Ugly Head - 5-Day Delivery
PMG Donahoe announced yesterday that beginning in August the USPS will begin 5-day home delivery of the mail. He says this is needed due to the continuing financial problems of the Postal Service. Packages will continue to recieve 6-day delivery and if you receive your mail at a post office box - so will you. It is just home delivery of the mail that will be curtailed to 5 days a week.
This is supposed to save $2 billion a year. I wonder how they figure that? Are they taking into consideration the lost revenue that will occur? How about a further erosion of mail volume due to the unavailability of the post office? It is said that for every 7% reduction in mail volume it costs the USPS $5 billion in lost revenue. I think that again the Postal Service is using "fuzzy math" when predicting a savings.
The move to 5-day delivery will cost jobs - 35,000 is the estimate. They all won't be carrier jobs either. Clerks, maintenance and mailhandler positions will be lost. This is another step towards the privatization of the USPS.
Congress can provide the solution to the financial problems by simply passing legislation to repeal the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law costs the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year in payments for future retiree health care premiums. No other company, public or private, has to make this kind of payment. Several independent audits have revealed that the obligation to fund these premiums has already been met, yet because it is law, the payments will continue through 2016 unless the Congress acts.
Why should the public care about 5-day delivery? I mean, with email and the internet, who really needs the post office anyways? Well, those who feel that way should consider these items:
1. The Postal Service receives NO taxpayer dollars. It exists solely on revenue generated by the sale of stamps and other services.
2. The USPS is written into the United States Constitution. It is to provide universal service at uniform rates for every American.
3. Over 30% of the population of this country has NO access to email or the internet. Senior citizens, low-income families, and those who live in rural areas still count of the USPS as their main contact with the rest of the world. They receive annunity checks, Social Security payments, prescriptions, and other items through the U.S. mail.
4. The Postal Service employs thousands and thousands of veterans. In fact, it is the #1 employer of military veterans in the world. They are given preference to a living-wage job as gratitute for their service.
5. It is the only delivery service that reaches every address in this country. Do you realize that about 30% of the packages received by UPS and FedEx are actually delivered by the Postal Service? UPS and FedEx don't deliver where they cannot make a profit. They have agreements with the USPS where they pay a small fee to have their packages delivered by a carrier.
The entire financial problem facing the Postal Service will go away IF AND WHEN CONGRESS ADDRESSES CRAFTS A SOLUTION. We have been waiting for more than two years for this legislation. Do you think they will ever get off their duffs and actually do something???
Terry Grant, President OPWU AFL-CIO