May 29, 2015
The Times-Union’s report on the slowing of mail in Florida accurately depicted the impact of the closing of mail-processing facilities and other changes.
But there’s even more to the story.
The U.S. Postal Service also wants to end Saturday mail delivery and door-to-door delivery — meaning small businesses wouldn’t receive checks and orders on weekends. And residents would traipse daily around Florida neighborhoods seeking cluster boxes.
These degradations of service rest on the false premise that the Postal Service is losing money delivering the mail. Yet operating profits are growing, letter revenue is stabilizing and package revenue is skyrocketing as folks shop online.
Fiscal Year 2014’s $1.4 billion operating profit already has been surpassed halfway through fiscal 2015.
Postal red ink stems from congressional politics. In 2006, a lame-duck Congress mandated that the Postal Service prefund retiree health benefits.
No other agency has to prefund for even one year; the Postal Service must prefund 75 years into the future and pay for it all over a decade. That $5.6 billion annual charge is the red ink.
Instead of addressing the actual problem, some in Washington want to target services that residents and business owners in Florida and across the nation rely on — like ending Saturday and door-to-door delivery — or slowing the mail. It’s illogical to degrade networks that have returned to profitability.
Florida’s small businesses, which employ 3 million people, would take a hit — as would Postal Service finances as mail and revenue is driven out of the system.
The state would lose jobs. The mailing industry, reliant on a robust, six-days-a-week Postal Service, employs 7.5 million Americans in the private sector (including 480,104 Floridians).
Floridians should urge their congressional representatives to preserve profitable postal networks while addressing the pre-funding fiasco.
Then the Postal Service can continue to offer Americans the world’s most affordable delivery network.
Fredric Rolando, President,
National Association of Letter Carriers,