From Portland Communities and Postal Workers United:
Postmaster General Megan Brennan met briefly with protesters after giving a speech to a conference of Portland mailers yesterday. Rev. John Schwiebert and retired letter carrier Jamie Partridge, leaders of Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, were invited in from the picket line to discuss their demands with the PMG. “We appreciate the willingness of the new Postmaster General to meet with community groups impacted by cuts, closures and delay of the mail,” said Schwiebert. “We’ll see if our pleas, petitions and postcards result in preserving the people’s postal service.”
A chanting and singing group of several dozen postal workers, retirees and postal customers held banners and signs reading “No Closures, No Cuts” and “Mail Delay, Not OK” on the sidewalk outside the Portland Art Museum, site of the annual meeting of the Greater Portland Postal Customers Council. Meeting attendees received copies of an Open Letter to the Postmaster General” which outlined PCPWU concerns about mail delay and reduced service standards related to mail processing plant closures and drastic cuts in rural post office hours.
Since 2007, the US Postal Service has eliminated 155,000 jobs while closing 153 (almost half, including Salem and Pendleton) its mail plants and reducing service at half the nation’s post offices. Currently the PMG is considering shuttering another 68 mail plants, including Bend and Springfield in Oregon, plus reducing hours at 5,000 more rural post offices, including 37 in Oregon. The previous PMG attempted to cut one day of delivery and eliminate at-the-door delivery.
“The postal service is not broke,” said Partridge. “But the agenda of the 1% and their friends in Congress is to cripple the USPS, to soften it up for union busting and privatization. The USPS is a $67 billion annual business with over $100 billion surplus in its pension and retiree health benefit funds, over 30,000 post offices and 200,000 vehicles. We’re facing a huge transfer of public wealth to Wall Street investors.”
Recent small victories in the struggle to save the postal service have included a one year moratorium on mail plant closures and a National Labor Relations Board charge against the USPS to stop outsourcing postal retail jobs to Staples Office Supply stores.
Portland Communities and Postal Workers United is part of a national network (Communities and Postal Workers United) to defend and enhance the US Postal Service.