I read with interest your editorial about the current Senate bill to reform the postal service (Los Angeles Times editorial, “Fixing the ailing Postal Service,” Nov. 21). The editorial omits mention of major portions of the bill including the reformation of the federal workers’ compensation program, which is best handled outside postal reform legislation and my commentary. Another major omission is that the bill is yet another stake in the heart of the middle class by pulling the postal service out of the federal retirement system and health care insurance system and subjecting these employee benefits to negotiation and binding arbitration.
This is a bold and blatant attack on the systems that helped create financial security in old age, the defined benefit retirement system as a reward for substantial years of service and the employer-provided family health care insurance system that is partially funded with employer contributions. Taking postal employees out of these systems will substantially increase the cost for other federal agencies and federal employees by decreasing the insurance risk pools. The Federal Health Benefits Program has a miniscule oversight cost and works well for the employees and the taxpayers.
While I’m a member of an organization opposed to closing post offices and reducing postal service, I don’t see the fiscal logic of this position. This bill prevents for two years a moratorium on closing post offices but authorizes five-day per week postal service, and doesn’t address the change to the goal of overnight local delivery. As I pass the post offices in Great Bend, Felts Mills and Black River within 10 miles of each other, I clearly see the need for post office closures. We have never received any mail on Saturday that could not wait until Monday or be delivered by overnight services.
I survived living in Watertown for 15 years with my mailbox on the street while two blocks away postal carriers walked door to door to carry out unnecessary and antiquated service at a substantial cost. We need to recognize postal delivery is an essential government service, but it needs to trim organization and service while periodically receiving appropriated funds for new equipment. My wife runs a mail order business and swears that the U.S. Postal Service is the best in the world. Let’s preserve it by common-sense changes in this digital age with congressional oversight, not meddling.