privatization - postalnews blog


PMG tells employees he doesn’t want to privatize USPS

From USPS News Link:

The news media, blogs and social media often comment that some Postal Service initiatives — or recommendations in pending legislation — are steps toward privatizing the organization.

No one is planning to privatize USPS.

“USPS is doing all it can to grow business, not sell it off,” said PMG Pat Donahoe. “Initiatives like business and retail partnerships will benefit employees by helping build growth and financial stability into the future.”

Retail alliances — where USPS sells products and services through Approved Shippers, Contract Postal Units, or Village Post Offices —  give customers more choices where and when they can purchase postal products and services.

These relationships also secure the long-term future of the Postal Service — a goal all stakeholders want. “These partnerships provide greater value and convenience for our current customers and also will attract new customers,” said Donahoe. “This is good for the organization and for our employees.”

Donahoe said USPS is doing what any business that wants to survive and prosper does — adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace and meeting customer needs. “If we don’t adjust, we’ll become another outdated 20th century business — stuck with a rigid business model that doesn’t work,” he said.

Read more: USPS News Link Story – USPS sets the record straight.

Tester says postal bill moves the Postal Service closer to privatization

tester(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today voted against a bill to restructure the Postal Service, saying the measure “moves the Postal Service closer to privatization and could hurt rural mail delivery.”

Tester voted against the bill as a member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that oversees the Postal Service. Tester has worked for years to reach a fair compromise that puts the Postal Service on sound financial footing while keeping mail delivery service standards strong.

“Half measures won’t balance the Postal Service’s books or preserve needed mail service in rural America,” Tester said. “This bill shirks our responsibility to fix the Postal Service and further leads the organization down the path to privatization, which will further cut mail service in rural America. Better solutions exist, and I will keep working with my colleagues to include them in the bill.”

Tester says the bill would do nothing to reverse the closing of mail processing facilities nationwide, which has resulted in delayed mail delivery throughout rural America. The bill also fails to fully address the requirement that the Postal Service prepay retirement benefits of postal employees at a rate higher than necessary, but includes sweeping changes to the federal workers compensation program, even though the committee has yet to hold a single hearing on the issue.

Tester backed a bipartisan Senate plan in 2012 that gave the Postal Service the flexibility it needs to restructure while protecting postal service in rural states like Montana, but the House of Representatives never voted on the plan.

Tester has a long-record of working to reform the Postal Service while making sure rural Montanans can still reliably get their mail and packages. He successfully got the Postal Service to keep Saturday delivery in 2013, protected rural post offices from closure, and kept the Missoula mail processing facility open.

The Postal Reform Act will next be considered by the full Senate. Tester will continue to work to amend the bill to make sure it works for rural America.

Senator Tester: Donahoe “wants to privatize” USPS

testerSenator Jon Tester (D-MT) has been an outspoken critic of USPS service cuts. In today’s Washington Post he takes aim at the PMG’s actions in shutting down processing facilities and outsourcing retail operations to Staples:

“What I see this postmaster general doing is shutting down post offices, then saying let Staples do it,” Tester said. “Well, guess what: I don’t have a Staples.” Tester farms wheat outside Big Sandy, Mont., which has 600 residents.

And then Tester gets to the heart of the issue, suggesting that the PMG’s actions are part of a scheme to privatize the USPS:

Donahoe “can say whatever he wants,” Tester said, “but I think he wants to privatize. And I think there’s plenty of people in Congress who agree with that. I don’t.”

Read more: Staples’ selling postal products without USPS workers brings complaints of privatization – The Washington Post.

Retired postal exec criticizes privatisation, “obscene” executive salaries

royalmailA SCOT who was in charge of Hong Kong’s postal service has strongly condemned plans to privatise the Royal Mail.

The Westminster government fired the starting gun last week for a £3bn flotation which will end the Royal Mail’s 378-year history of state ownership.

Michelangelo Pagliari, who was postmaster general in Hong Kong from 1992 to 1995, when it was a British colony, said he was “totally opposed” to the proposal and expressed disgust that Moya Greene, the chief executive of Royal Mail, earned £1.5m last year.

Pagliari, now retired, from Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire, warned the move would pave the way for “obscene” salaries for more executives and higher delivery charges to remote areas such as the Scottish islands.

“The chief executive’s salary is a multiple of the combined salaries of the entire management of the Hong Kong post office,” he said. “No doubt this partly explains why we made a profit every year while maintaining among the lowest domestic and international postage rates in the world.”

Read more: Expert writes off postal sell-off | The Sunday Times.

Occupation of post office thwarted

From Portland Communities and Postal Workers United :


Dozens of protesters rallied and attempted to occupy the Main Post Office on NW Hoyt this afternoon.  The protest against postal privatization was thwarted by a heavy presence of Department of Homeland Security police, Postal Inspectors and a half dozen postal managers standing inside the post office lobby.  Senior plant manager, Lisa Shear, herself a target of the protest, came out to warn activists that she would have them immediately arrested if they stepped foot inside the lobby. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Video of last week’s Portland OR anti-privatization demonstration

Video of last week’s demonstration in Portland, provided by the organizers, Portland Communities and Postal Workers United:

7-3-13 Protestors occupy private airport mail facility; five arrested from Peter Parks on Vimeo.

Protestors occupy private airport mail facility; five arrested. July 3, 2013, Portland, Oregon.

Five protestors, calling themselves “postal protectors”, were arrested July 3 in an occupation of a private air cargo facility slated to handle and process US mail. “Postal mail handlers and mail processing clerks are losing their jobs to profiteering, private corporations,” declared Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier who joined the civil disobedience action at the Matheson Flight Extenders facility, just next door to the US Postal Service’s Portland Air Cargo Center. “We protest the privatization of the public postal service. We oppose the destruction of family wage, union jobs and the delay of the people’s mail. We intend to disrupt this attack on our communities.” Protest organizers, Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, are demanding that Matheson management pull out of negotiations for the subcontracting of postal jobs.

APWU: Another Biased Report Calls for Privatizing Mail Processing

By APWU Executive VP Greg Bell:

Another conservative think tank has jumped on the “privatize everything but the last mile” bandwagon.

In a June 2013 report titled “Postal Reform for the Digital Age,” the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) offers a plan that “would preserve the USPS monopoly on ‘final mile’ delivery while opening up the collection, transport, sorting and processing of the mail to much greater competition.”  In other words, privatize all postal operations except delivery.

Where have we heard that before? Read the rest of this entry »

APWU VP responds to NAPA privatization report

Greg Bell
Executive Vice President

(This article will appear in the May/June 2013 edition of The American Postal Worker.)

gregbellThe National Academy of Public Administration, an organization chartered by Congress to provide advice to government leaders, recently evaluated a proposal to privatize all postal operations except delivery and concluded the idea “merits serious consideration. The original privatization proposal, which I wrote about in the March-April issue of The American Postal Worker, was written by a group of self-described “postal industry thought leaders.”

The panel’s conclusion gives a sense of legitimacy to privatization, which up to now has been dismissed as extreme.

Although the review by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) doesn’t quite endorse the proposal to privatize everything but delivery, it gives a sense of legitimacy to the concept, which up to now has been dismissed as extreme.

While the NAPA report is supposed to provide an independent review of the privatization proposal, it was financed in part by a contribution from Pitney-Bowes, one of the largest pre-sort companies in the country. Pitney-Bowes owns more than 40 mail processing centers and stands to be a major beneficiary if mail processing operations are contracted out to the private sector.

It’s worth noting that NAPA conducted a similar study in 1982 and came to a very different conclusion: Breaking up the Postal Service “is not in the national interest,” NAPA wrote at the time.

The recent NAPA review acknowledges that there are a number of important factors that the proposal failed to address, such as the retiree health benefit pre-funding obligation, and stresses that “a number of issues need to be further explored before any implementation of the concept can, or should, be attempted.”

On the other hand, the NAPA paper points out that the Postal Service is already privatizing many operations through the use of “work-sharing” discounts.

The study notes that the value of mail processing and transportation completed by private companies is estimated at $17 billion annually. While some portray this astounding figure as operating costs avoided by the Postal Service, in many cases the discounts are so big that the Postal Service loses money on the deal. In 2008 the Postal Regulatory Commission concluded that many discounts exceeded the costs avoided. And while the Postal Service has lost revenue, private mail sorters have made healthy profits.

The NAPA review notes that if privatization of all operations other than delivery was fully implemented, several “bargaining units would be negatively impacted.” NAPA acknowledges that several people interviewed for the review concluded that “cost savings will be realized mainly from replacing union labor with non-union labor.”

Driving a Wedge Between Unions

The proposal to privatize everything but delivery also puts a wedge between the postal unions — it invokes a divide-and-conquer strategy that seeks to reduce opposition to the plan by seeming to protect the work of one group of employees, Letter Carriers, while targeting employees engaged in mail processing, transportation and other activities.

We’ve seen similar divide-and-conquer strategies used in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere in an attempt to cause division between public- and private-sector unions. The Postal Service frequently uses this strategy to divide postal unions.

In an ironic twist, however, the NAPA study recommends “evaluating the merits of the contention that the delivery function should remain a role for the Postal Service.” In other words, why not contract out the whole kit-and-caboodle, including delivery?

The union principle that An Injury to One is an Injury to All is as true today as it ever was.


Video: Massive Cuts to Postal Service a Step Towards Privatization?

A proposal is currently being considered by the US Postal Service to sell its building in downtown Berkeley, CA and relocate its services. This is just one city that is feeling the impact of a crippling financial crisis currently affecting the Postal Service. In fiscal year 2012 it lost approximately 5.9 billion. And now thousands of buildings may be sold and thousands of workers laid off in what USPS says is an attempt to save itself, but critics argue is a step toward privatization.It’s commonly understood that the internet and e-communication is causing the demise of USPS, but that’s not the full story. What seems to be the prime cause is actually a little-known law passed in 2006.

Read more: Massive Cuts to Postal Service a Step Towards Privatization?.

More at The Real News

Delivering Postal Service Reform – By Darrell Issa

Darrell Issa has written a piece entitled “Delivering Postal Service Reform” for the National Review. Having read the article, we have edited it slightly for brevity, while preserving the spirit of the piece, as well as its complete analysis of the situation:


The full text of the original article is available at the link below:

Delivering Postal Service Reform – By Darrell Issa – The Corner – National Review Online.