5 Day Delivery.com - postalnews blog

5 Day Delivery.com

Rolando: Postal Service needs real reform

From the National Association of Letter Carriers:

NALC-LOGOApril, 8, 2014–Following today’s House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the Obama administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request for the United States Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando released the following statement:

Today’s hearing focused on the Obama administration’s proposals to slash postal services, proposals that were first developed during the Biden-Cantor deficit reduction talks in 2011 and have been included in the four budgets released since. Portions of these proposals are included in H.R. 2748.

But we are not dealing with the same Postal Service we were when H.R. 2748 and the administration’s budget proposals were originally crafted. The proposals did not make sense in 2011 because they never offered a real solution to the Postal Service’s financial challenges, which were largely created by Congress.

The proposals make even less sense now: The Postal Service has returned to operational profitability and is capturing a growing share of the booming e-commerce market. USPS had an operating profit of $623 million in 2013 and in the first quarter of 2014 alone reported black ink of $1.1 billion.

Congress should focus on unchaining USPS from the retiree health pre-funding burden–which is required of no other public or private entity–and freeing the agency to grow and innovate. Discussing job-killing proposals that degrade or dismantle our invaluable postal networks is not the conversation we should be having.

It’s time to move forward with innovative solutions that allow the Postal Service to evolve and use its established network to serve the nation’s communication and e-commerce needs.

It’s time to start thinking about how we bolster service for tens of millions of businesses and households that have come to rely on door-to-door delivery, six days a week.

It’s time to discuss how to position the Postal Service to build successful partnerships with more American businesses, like Amazon has in moving toward seven-day delivery.

It’s no longer 2009. The Postal Service’s employees have done their part to help the Postal Service bounce back from the Great Recession as some 200,000 jobs have been eliminated. In fact, the service cuts have gone too far, all to pay for a misguided pre-funding policy.

Now it’s time for Congress to strengthen the postal recovery, not cripple the Postal Service with even more destructive service and job cuts.

Read more: Rolando: Postal Service needs real reform.

NALC: Obama’s 2015 budget follows PMG’s misguided lead on Saturday delivery

From the National Association of Letter Carriers:

NALC-LOGOMarch 5, 2014–As it has for the past four years, the Obama administration’s budget proposal for 2015 defers to the misguided wishes of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe by calling for the end of Saturday mail delivery and for allowing the Postal Service to “begin shifting to centralized and curbside delivery where appropriate.” Rather than eliminate or repeal the pre-funding burden, the budget would simply restructure and re-amortize the liability for future retiree health benefits, pushing the problem off into the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Sanders: There’s No Need to End Saturday Mail Delivery

Op-ed piece by Senator Bernie Sanders in the Wall Street Journal:US Postal Service Carrier

The U.S. Postal Service is one of our most popular and important government agencies. It provides universal service six days a week to every corner of America, no matter how small or remote. It supports millions of jobs in virtually every other sector of our economy. It provides decent-paying union jobs to some 500,000 Americans, and it is the largest employer of veterans.

Whether you are a low-income elderly woman living at the end of a dirt road in Vermont or a wealthy CEO living on Park Avenue, you get your mail six days a week. And you pay for this service at a cost far less than anywhere else in the industrialized world.

Yet the Postal Service is under constant and vicious attack. Why? The answer is simple. There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that government now performs, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, public education or the Postal Service. They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services, and couldn’t care less how privatization or a degradation of services affects ordinary Americans.

For years, antigovernment forces have been telling us that there is a financial crisis at the Postal Service and that it is going broke. That is not true. The crisis is manufactured. Read the rest of this entry »

Compromise spending bill preserves Saturday mail delivery, rural post offices

dome-night2The New York Times reports that the compromise spending bill introduced in the House last night requires the USPS to continue Saturday mail delivery:

The bill also explicitly prohibits the Postal Service from cutting Saturday mail delivery or closing rural post offices.

The bill discards Congressman Darrell Issa’s bizarre proposal to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and use the savings to fund an increase in military pensions. Issa has for years claimed that the USPS is desperately insolvent, and in danger of requiring a massive taxpayer bailout. Yet he recently suggested that simply cutting one delivery day would not only make the USPS solvent, but also allow it to help finance pensions for other agencies. As with Issa’s other “reform” proposals, his plan failed to attract any support, even from within his own party.
Read more: House and Senate Negotiators Agree on Spending Bill – NYTimes.com.

A reporter finally asks Issa how cutting Saturday delivery pays for military pensions

Darrell-Issa-007Amazing! A reporter for the Washington Post actually asked Darrell Issa the question we raised the other day- “What does cutting 6 day delivery at the postal service have to do with increasing military pensions?” Josh Hicks writes in today’s Federal Eye column:

Issa pitched his bill as a measure that would “restore COLAs for military retirees while doubling savings.”

But the Postal Service is largely independent from the federal budget, so we wondered how the government could use savings from that agency to pay for military pensions.

Issa’s response? “Bailout! Benghazi! Obamacare!”

Sorry- I just made that up. But the actual response from Issa’s staff makes about as much sense:

“Right now, the Postal Service has over $100 billion in unfunded long term debt, including retiree health care obligations,” said Caitlin Carroll, a spokeswoman for the congressman. “That $100 billion plus is a ‘contingent liability’ of the US government, to the extent that the Postal Service is never able to pay it off, and that Congress authorizes the Treasury to pay for it.”

In other words, there is no connection, but Darrell thinks military retirees are popular and postal retirees aren’t, and $100 billion is a big number, so it seemed like an easy way to score some political points at the expense of people who actually work for a living, unlike, say, Members of Congress!

Read more: Revisiting Issa’s plan to replace military-pension cuts with postal savings.

Issa introduces bill to end Saturday mail delivery, use savings to increase military pensions (seriously!)

Darrell-Issa-007Congressman Darrell Issa has introduced a bill that would allow the US Postal Service to stop delivering regular mail on Saturdays. Package deliveries would continue six days a week.

In a somewhat peculiar move, the Saturday service cut is included in a bill to reverse a reduction in cost of living adjustments for some retired military veterans that was part of the bipartisan Paul Ryan/Patty Murray budget deal.

Why the link? Issa claims that over the next 10 years the delivery cuts would save $17 billion- more than triple the budget savings provided by the military COLA reduction.

There’s just one little problem with Issa’s scheme, of course: since the USPS is funded by its own revenue, and is “off-budget”, reductions in USPS expenses have no direct impact on the federal budget. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: Postal Service works on Sunday to clear holiday backlog

DALLAS — For the first time ever, post offices in Dallas, Forth Worth, and Arlington were open and processing mail on a Sunday.

Monday is traditionally the busiest day of the holiday shipping season, with people trying to get those cards and presents delivered in time for Christmas.

"Holidays are always heavy, so this way everyone wins — not only for our customers, but it relieves stress on the postal workers as well," said Postal Service spokesman Skyron Marshall. "So it’s a win-win situation for everybody."

Read more: Postal Service works on Sunday to clear holiday backlog | kvue.com Austin.

NALC: Budget negotiators reject Saturday delivery cut, unfairly target future federal employees

NALC-LOGOFrom The National Association of Letter Carriers:

Dec. 11, 2013–NALC grassroots activists and the American public scored a huge victory on Tuesday when efforts to include elimination of Saturday mail delivery in the emerging budget agreement for 2014 failed. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: PMG optimistic, sees more staffing cuts, 7 day package delivery in ZIPs that can “support” it

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe expressed optimism about the agency’s future, and pointed to reductions in staffing and expenses the USPS had achieved despite the lack of Congressional action. He also appeared to confirm fears that the USPS might provide higher levels of service to some affluent communities, even as it reduces services across the country.

He told the WSJ that the USPS had reduced staffing by 200,000 employees since 2006. While accepting that labor costs account for 80 percent of postal service expenses (and that “it will always be that high”), he pointed to the fact that twenty percent of the current staff are non-career part time workers. Curiously, he suggested later in the interview that the percentage would drop in the future, telling the interviewer that the USPS “in the near term” required about 400,000 career emplyees, and 60,000 non-career. That works out to a non-career percentage of 13%.

Continued staffing and cost reductions would depend on Congressional action to allow the USPS to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, but the PMG promised “package delivery seven days a week in ZIP codes that can support Sunday”.

Donahoe also said that while the USPS would continue to seek partnerships with the private sector, he doesn’t think it should be privatized.

Read more: Why the Postmaster General Says He’s an Optimist Despite Red Ink – WSJ.com.

Politicians somehow think ending Saturday mail delivery will help the federal budget

In a bizarre twist to the ongoing budget fiasco in Congress, several news outlets report that negotiators are seriously touting an end to Saturday mail delivery as part of a deal. None of the reports we’ve seen actually explain what the connection might be- since the USPS isn’t “on budget”, and doesn’t use tax dollars, savings due to service cuts wouldn’t have any impact on the federal budget. As usual, of course, Republican plans would target middle class workers for pay and benefit cuts. Here’s the uncritical, unquestioning report published by Bloomberg:

[Congressman Paul] Ryan has previously shared with Republican lawmakers ideas including increased premiums for pension plans backed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and a cut in Medicaid payments to hospitals. Lawmakers including Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, have floated a proposal to push some spending cuts into future years.

Another option being discussed is giving the U.S. Postal Service flexibility to reduce costs, according to an aide close to the talks, most notably by ending Saturday mail delivery.

It might have been nice if a reporter had pointed out the fact that reducing mail service doesn’t save the taxpayers anything- and that “reducing costs” means cutting salaries, thereby reducing the amount of money workers have available to spend (and pay taxes on).

Read more: Budget Talks Target One Year Deal as Lawmakers Protest – Bloomberg.