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April 20, 2014
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Carper & Donahoe
Updated On: Mar 29, 2013

Two Peas in a Pod

It seems as though Senator Tom Carper and Postmaster General are much like two peas in a pod.  The PMG continues to try and drive the USPS right into the ground while Carper says he is moving postal reform through Congress - but it is going so slowly that when and if it happens, it might be to late to save the Postal Service.

Donahoe announced that he is accelerating the consolidation of 53 mail processing facilities which will further erode the USPS's capability to efficiently move the mail.  Carper, who is the chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmetal Affairs committee that oversees the Postal Service, said: "Given the Postal Service's dire financial situation, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Postmaster General is moving forward to implement additional cost-cutting measures with the limited tools at his disposal".  He added: "...I intend to closely review this plan and work with the Postal Service to ensure that the consolidation process is fair and transparent to employees and customers".

Do you think Senator Carper realizes that when these consolidations are completed it will be virtually impossible to maintain the first class delivery standards he is asking for in S. 316, the bill he cosponsored to save the Postal Servive?  Does he believe that the consolidations would be reversed and mail processing equipment moved back into the old plants?  Remember, the only way the USPS could justify consolidating mail processing centers was to RELAX the delivery standards!

Senator Carper also maintains that postal reform legislation is moving quickly through Congress and will be enacted so that the Postal Service has the tools to survive.  He said: "Now that the 113th Congress is underway, I have been working with my colleagues in the Senate and House to identify and come to consensus on a set of reforms so we enact a meaningfull bill as soon as possible - and provide the Postal Service with the tools and resources it needs to reform itself so that it can survive and thrive in the 21st century".

With the kind of schedule the House and Senate work on (they are now on a two-week break), is there anyone who believes that postal reform will come quickly?

Our national union has condemmed the plan to accelerate consolidation.  President Guffey stated: "These closures will eliminate jobs, harm communities, and delay mail delivery every day - Monday, through Saturday".  The consolidations will drastically curtail local mail sortation and virtually eliminate overnight delivery.

Need examples of what happens when a plant is consolidated?  Look at Lima, Ohio.  Their plant was consolidated into Toledo in October of 2010.  Local mail delivery (Lima to Lima) now takes 2-4 days where it was overnight.  And guess what - the brains at postal headquarters are now planning on consolidating Toledo into Columbus and Romulus, Michigan!!! 

There is a provision in the postal reform legislation to return the overnight delivery standards, but even if it survives in the final bill and is adopted, how will the Postal Servie be able to maintian it if all of these processing centers are gone?

Congress broke the USPS back in 2006 with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act which required the USPS to pre-fund $55 billion of future retiree health care premiums by 2016, something that no other company, public or private, has to do.  It is way past time that Congress fix the USPS, but will their solution come too late?


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