Are You Ready to Save Our Postal Service Again?

Debby Szeredy

May 7, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Read the Postal Service’s 10-Year Plan, and read between the lines. The truth is, this plan will destroy our service by cutting retail hours, including lunch operations (the busiest time of day for business), consolidating stations and branches, consolidating more mail processing plants and stopping airline transportation. We can bring back good service by going back to the 2012 Service Standards, bring back canceling (AFCS- 200) and mail processing (DBCS) equipment to the plants in Phase 2 and make the postal network service the needs of the people once again.

The USPS degraded service standards in 2015 so that they could consolidate 80 mail processing facilities. This ended overnight delivery within local areas (our prompt service). Since then, our mail processing network has continued to fall apart. USPS has not met their own degraded standards for the last six years.

The gaining facilities from Phase 2 have never been able to efficiently and promptly handle the mail they receive, and there are times that consolidated mail gets sent to other facilities even farther away to be processed.

Transportation costs skyrocketed after the degraded 2015 standards came into effect. The lowered service standards also led to outrageous amounts of overtime, penalty overtime, late trips, extra trips and less backup facilities during bad weather and natural disasters.

The Postal Service’s early employee retirement offers between 2010-2014 saw over 55,000 workers leave the USPS, causing a large staffing shortage. The USPS failed to staff sufficiently, treated new workers horribly with low wages and no real benefits. Turnover rates for new postal workers are way too high.

More Consolations

In addition, the APWU was notified that the PMG will be completing Phase 2 consolidations of 18 Mail Processing Facilities and reviewing 2 sites, Toledo P&DC and Youngtown P&DC, commencing in August of 2021 with plans to complete by November 2021.

The proposed sites are: Bend, OR; Cape Girardeau, MO; Erie, PA; Gainesville, FL; Grand Island, NE; Grenada, MS; Hattiesburg, MS; Huntsville, AL; Mid-Hudson, NY; Minot, ND; Norfolk, NE; North Bay, CA; Paducah, KY; Pocatello, ID; Rock Springs, WY; Seattle WA East DDC; Southern CT, CT; Wausau, WI.

We must stand together now, in this fight to stop these moves by the PMG. The plan includes cutting employee work hours, jobs, and overcharging our customers and mailers for slower, and more costly mail service.

What We Need

The people of this country want the old Postal Service back; the one that provided prompt, efficient services. The 10-Year Plan should include better staffing with a full-time workforce and the Service Standards of 2012. We want expanded financial services such as postal banking, electric postal vehicles riding through our neighborhoods, and charging stations at our local post offices. America needs broadband services at all rural and urban post offices to be shared with the community, and solar panels on the large mail processing plants. We need the best and most dependable transportation system, and the use of airline services to provide prompt services, across this country.

The retiree health benefit pre-funding requirement should be eliminated, and the pre-paid funds made by the USPS to date (currently USPS has $47.5 billion in reserves) should be returned. The government should provide $25 billion to the Postal Service to assist in rebuilding crucial Postal Service infrastructure. This will not happen until the Senate changes course from the filibuster and votes by simple majority.

It is time to go deep and get support from all our locals/ states, community groups and allies to stop PMG DeJoy from downsizing the USPS. We must engage with our congressional members and local politicians and the media, and strategically recruit our co-workers, friends and family to help us make calls, write letters, and attend press conferences and rallies. Are you ready?

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