(September 12, 2014) The U.S. Postal Service as we know it is continually under attack in this Congress. It is most important to understand the USPS has the dubious distinction of being the only employer, public or private, required by the federal government to prefund retirement health benefits for 75 years out, for workers not yet born or employed. This is at a price tag of more than $5 billion a year. The first three-quarters of this fiscal year 2014, the USPS would have turned more than a billion dollar profit without this onerous burden. The USPS weathered the stormy economy but is choking on the prefunding mandate. Cutting Saturday delivery will curtail 17 percent of the service, placing a hardship on small businesses, businesses open on Saturday and postal patrons that could easily turn a dismal disputed savings into a loss. The USPS is a vital factor in our economy. We move the mail, and the mail moves the country. This slogan is as true today as it ever was. Even with the staggering growth of the Internet, the USPS still has a vital place in the delivery world. This is a distinction it has earned since the days of the Continental Congress.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has drafted lifesaving legislation to put the USPS on firm footing with the elimination of retiree health care prefunding while strengthening postal networks. Sen. Pat Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch have been strong advocates for the USPS as the battle wages on. I encourage Vermonters to stand tall with our congressional delegation and Americans from every walk of life to preserve six-day and door-to-door delivery of mail and expanded useful services from the USPS, from packing as well as shipping, banking for underserved Americans, computer age copying and shipping, and hunting licenses.
Send a message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. His job is to preserve the USPS for the American public; not help beleaguered members of Congress dismantle it. Plans to move delivery to centralized locations and eliminate collection boxes to reduce the service, which is pivotal to the success of the USPS. It is the USPS’s ability to bring mail to patrons’ door that is the signature of our bond with the American public. Business’ indoor delivery has become a gray area. Customer signatures must be obtained prior to any conversions of the mode of mail delivery. Let’s not be penny wise and pound foolish. After all, service is the Post Office’s last name. Let’s keep it there.
(President, Vermont State Association of Letter Carriers)