A 2014 Gallup poll ranked the United States Postal Service first out of 13 government agencies nationwide with the most positive public image. It is the nation’s second largest employer, with 486,822 career employees as of 2014. The USPS receives no tax dollars and is solely funded by the sale of postage, products and services.
However, the security of workers in the USPS is being threatened. That’s why today members of the American Postal Workers Union called upon supporters to join their “National Day of Action” by participating in planned protests in 85 cities across 42 states. Their aim is to demand improved postal services and protect jobs, as reports emerge of delays in mail delivery due to cuts in staffing and facilities.
These protests come one week before the APWU collective bargaining agreement with the USPS is set to expire on May 20.
According to the APWU, more than 140 mail processing facilities have closed since 2012, and 82 more are scheduled to close throughout 2015. Secretive deals have sent retail work to over 1,500 private office stores. There is also chronic understaffing.
These delays and other complications are part of a crisis manufactured by congressional Republicans. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was passed by a Republican legislature in 2006 and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Act reformed postal laws to require the USPS to pre-fund retiree health benefits up to 75 years into the future.
According to Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, “If the prepayments required under PAEA were never enacted into law, the USPS would not have a net deficiency of nearly $20 billion (2011), but instead be in the black by at least $1.5 billion.”
In a press release, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said “U.S. Postal Service executives and the agency’s Board of Governors are using a manufactured financial crisis to justify their strategy of reducing service, delaying mail delivery, and dismantling a great national treasure.”
Thursday’s rallies highlight the necessity to keep consumer issues at hand, insisting that quality service is “crucial for creating a strong public postal service,” according to the APWU.
Campaign for America’s Future is among the 76 organizations that have declared “I Stand with Postal Workers” to protect expanded and enhanced services for the American people and union members’ jobs. Individuals can fill out the linked postcards.
The American public has consistently shown their support for a public, non-privatized, postal service. It is crucial that we stand by the American Postal Workers Union and urge Congress to support the same.