Immediate Release – August 21, 2014
Top Postal Executive’s Visit Draws Protest
(Vancouver, WA) Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman drew the ire of dozens of postal workers and community allies when he visited Vancouver this morning. Carrying signs, picketing and chanting, the protesters massed at the entrance to the 2014 Mailers Conference at the Convention Center Hilton. “No closures, no cuts, no contracting-out” blared from a bullhorn heard inside by conference-goers, gathered to hear Stroman speak. A flyer with “Nine Questions” for the DPMG was distributed to attendees.
Ronald Stroman is the second-highest ranking postal executive. He serves on the Postal Service Board of Governors. According to promotional materials, he “also has the lead role in working with Congress to …adjust delivery frequency and gain greater flexibility in aligning the Postal Service processing, distribution and retail networks…” In plain language, the Deputy PMG is pushing to eliminate Saturday and at-the-door delivery as well as continue the massive cuts and closures to mail processing plants and post offices across the nation. In addition, Stroman is a leader in the outsourcing of postal work to private corporations such as Staples, Pitney Bowes, Amazon, and Dill’s Star Route trucking.
Of immediate concern to the protesters is the projected closure of 82 mail processing facilities, including those in Tacoma, Wenatchee, Bend, Pendleton, and Eugene, beginning in January. 15,000 family wage, union jobs will be lost and delivery standards will be relaxed to delay mail 2 to 3 days.
Stroman and postal management say these cuts and closures are necessary because the USPS is losing money. The protesters, organized by Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, claim that a 2006 Congressional mandate, which forces the U.S. Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance, has created a phony financial crisis. Although the USPS has claimed a “loss” every year since 2006, due primarily to the pre-fund mandate, the postal service has not made an actual payment toward prefunding since 2011. The USPS has generated an operating profit for the last six quarters.
“It’s not the Internet, not private competition, not labor costs, not the recession – postal management is killing the US Postal Service,” says Jamie Partridge, retired postal worker. The activists are calling on postal management to suspend cuts, closures, and subcontracting and allow Congress to fix the finances by repealing the prefunding mandate and refunding the pension surplus. The pension surplus involves some $60 to $85 Billion overpaid into federal retirement accounts, according to the Office of the Inspector General and the Postal Regulatory Commission. Twin bills, HR 630, sponsored by U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (Oregon) and S 316, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont), would fix postal finances and prevent plant and office closures and service cuts.
A rally outside the convention center featured the following speakers:
- Bob Vacca, president, Oregon State American Postal Workers Union
- Brian Dunsmore, president, American Postal Workers Union, Portland area
- Ben Poe, Portland Communities and Postal Workers United
- Jim Falvey, president, National Association of Letter Carriers, Portland area
- Greg Stark, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, Portland area
- Greg Margolis, Portland Jobs with Justice
Via Portland Communities and Postal Workers United
Contact: Jamie Partridge