“The Postmaster General should be fired. The Congress needs to block these cuts and closures. The President should issue an executive order,” said Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier and west coast organizer with Communities and Postal Workers United, in response to the announcement that Saturday delivery would end in August. The CPWU is calling for a national day of action, on March 17th, to save the postal service, opposing all closures, cuts and delay of mail.
Cutting delivery to five days will eliminate 25,000 jobs, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers. The US Postal Service has already cut 168,000 jobs since 2006 and projects the out-sourcing of most postal trucking, closure of 30% of mail processing plants and hundreds of post offices by June, cutting another 100,000 jobs and slowing delivery standards .
“We will not stand by as our beloved postal service is destroyed,” said Tom Dodge, a postal truck driver and east coast CPWU organizer. “We urge all Americans who care about our constitutionally mandated postal service to organize dramatic actions on March 17th, the anniversary of the great postal strike of 1970. We must increase the pressure and turn up the heat on the decision makers.” The CPWU, a grassroots network of coalitions in twenty cities, staged several sensational actions in the past year, including post office occupations, hunger strikes, marches and rallies. They are urging the postal unions to call for a “March on Washington” to save the postal service.
“Not the internet, not private competition, not labor costs, not the recession – Congress is responsible for sending the postal service into a death spiral,” said Partridge. “Corporate interests, working through their friends in the legislative and executive branches, want to undermine the USPS, bust the unions then privatize it.”
According to CPWU, a 2006 Congressional mandate, which forces the postal service to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance, is bankrupting the service. Not only would the postal service have been profitable without the mandate, says CPWU, the USPS has also overpaid tens of billions into two pension funds. The activists are calling for the Postmaster General to reverse the cuts and closures and allow Congress to fix the finances by repealing the pre-fund mandate and refunding the pension surplus.