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Video: Linns Stamp News Monday Morning Brief for May 12

Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editor Chad Snee discusses a few significant events in the stamp world last week and what to look for in the coming week.

This week’s stories for May 12, 2014, include:

• Vatican City to issue Charlie Chaplin stamp
• Canada continues UNESCO series
• Scott catalogue update
• New Hummingbird plate number to look for

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Audio: Deepak Chopra on reinventing Canada Post with big price hikes and big service cuts

Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra spoke with Michael Enright on The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright this morning:

In 1867, the Dominion of Canada named Sir Alexander Campbell, a Father of Confederation, as the country’s first Postmaster General. Read More

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USPS cancels plans to close downtown Santa Fe PO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján welcomed news that the U.S. Postal Service has agreed to shelve a proposal to move out of downtown Santa Fe and instead keep the post office at its current site on Federal Place.

Udall, Heinrich and Luján have been instrumental in working to keep the downtown post office open after questions were raised of the Postal Service and the General Services Agency (GSA) about whether a move out of the building would save money and meet the needs of the community. Located across the street from City Hall, the Federal Place building is an important anchor for downtown. Read More

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APWU: USPS Reports $1 Billion Operating Profit: So Why is Management Cutting Service?

apwulogoMay 9, 2014 – Midway through the fiscal year, the USPS is reporting a $1 billion profit from operations, with $261 million of that amount from the second quarter.

But you won’t read that in the mainstream media. Instead, you’ll hear – once again – that the Postal Service suffered losses of billions of dollars.

The truth is that the Postal Service’s well-publicized financial crisis is a manufactured one. It is the result of the congressional mandate that the Postal Service, alone among all public agencies and private companies, be required to pre-fund future retiree health benefits.

The positive balance sheet continues the steady progress in the finances of the Postal Service, which has been operating at a profit since October 2012. A dramatic increase in online shopping has sparked an explosion in package volume and revenue, while a gradually rebounding economy has stabilized letter revenue.

“All of this good news exposes an ugly truth,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Postal management’s zeal for cutting service and outsourcing operations in a thinly-veiled attempt at piecemeal privatization.”

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Who said “all we need from Congress is help with restructuring our retiree health benefit plan”? Pat Donahoe

This morning’s press release from the USPS announcing its Q2 financial results included this from USPS CFO Joe Corbett:

“Some comments in recent news reports suggest that all we need from Congress is help with restructuring our retiree health benefit plan,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett. “Nothing can be further from the truth. Our liabilities exceed our assets by $42 billion and we have a need for more than $10 billion to invest in new delivery vehicles, package sortation equipment, and other deferred investments.

“We haven’t been making the retiree health benefit prefunding payments because we can’t,” added Corbett. “If legislation reduced the required retiree health benefit prefunding payment, it doesn’t provide us with any more cash to pay down our debt or put much needed capital into our business. Only comprehensive postal legislation that includes a smarter delivery schedule, greater control over our personnel and benefit costs, and more flexibility in pricing and products will provide the necessary cash flows.”

Corbett didn’t identify the people “suggesting” that the PAEA pre-funding requirement is the only problem facing the USPS- probably because no one seriously believes that. There are plenty of people pointing out the fact that ALL of the USPS current fiscal year loss is due to pre-funding- but that’s not an opinion- it’s simple arithmetic.

So who was Joe talking about? We combed our archives, and the best we could come up with was this- from a leading figure in the USPS, testifying before Congress in 2011:

“What we need is your help on these big issues that are beyond our control… The things we can’t control are the mandates, the $5.5 billion in the retiree health benefits- get those things out of the way and you will never see us again- all you’ll hear about is accolades about how good of an organization the US Postal Service is…”

That was, of course, Joe Corbett’s boss, the Postmaster General.

Postmaster-General-DonahoeReaders might recall that the PMG was accompanied at that hearing by then APWU President Cliff Guffey. The PMG praised the contract he and Guffey had recently signed, saying it would “help lay a foundation that is fair to our employees and stakeholders”.

If you’ve forgotten about the PMG’s comments, it’s understandable- he changed his mind just three months later, and demanded the right to unilaterally throw out the contract he had agreed to, slash benefits for postal workers and retirees, raise prices, and cut services.