BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 14 – Calling on the Postal Service to avert damaging service cuts and job losses, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) pointed to a new report today that revenue for the mail delivery service rose by $569 million during the fiscal year that just ended.
It was the second year in a row that profits rose, mainly because of increases in package deliveries to online shoppers.
Despite almost $1 billion in revenue growth over the past two years, the Postal Service is forging ahead with plans to shut down as many as 82 mail processing plants beginning in January. The closings would put 15,000 jobs in jeopardy.
“Despite increased revenues and some very positive trends, Postal Service management seems hell-bent on slowing down mail delivery which is a self-destructive path that could put it into a death spiral,” Sanders said.
The Board of Governors on Friday appointed Megan J. Brennan to be the new postmaster general. A top aide to outgoing Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Brennan has pursued some of the same damaging proposals to cut services and eliminate jobs.
“I hope that Ms. Brennan understands that the Postal Service clearly needs to rethink its current approach. If it is going to be competitive and successful in the modern era, it cannot simply cut, cut and cut more. It needs to be creative and strengthen services that the American people need.” Sanders said.
While revenue for mail delivery is rising, USPS bookkeepers showed a deficit for the past year because of an onerous and unprecedented Bush-era law that requires it to pre-fund 75 years of future retiree health benefits for a program that already has more than enough reserves set aside. Without the mandate, the Postal Service would have made an operating profit of $823 million over the past two years.
The unnecessary financial burden on the Postal Service would be relieved under legislation Sanders introduced on February 13, 2013. It now has 28 co-sponsors. The Sanders bill also would modernize the Postal Service and let it expand its business operations without the need to slash services or eliminate Saturday mail.