Senators Receive the Message – Fix the Prefunding Debacle

March 17, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Thousands of APWU members again stepped up to join the U.S. Mail: Not for Sale campaign’s nationwide phone action on Tuesday, February 25, to tell the Senate to fix the problem Congress created that put our public Postal Service in jeopardy.

Almost 7,000 postal workers, allies, and community supporters called their Senators and asked them to cosponsor the USPS Fairness Act (S. 2965) – following a call to action from President Mark Dimondstein and Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard.

The legislation would repeal the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act’s (PAEA) burdensome pre-funding mandate for retiree health care. That burdensome mandate is taking billions of dollars out of the Postal Service. This has led to job and service cuts across the USPS.

The USPS Fairness Act is the first step to putting the USPS back on the road to sustainability.

Calls Made to Every Senator

As seen with our successful call-in day around the House of Representatives bill, H.R. 2382, the spread of calls was inspiring. Every Senator received at least one call about S. 2965, with many receiving hundreds.

This action followed right after the passage of the USPS Fairness Act in the House of Representatives on Feb. 5, with a two-thirds majority.

Call Your Senators Today

If you were unable to participate on February 25, it is not too late to call your Senators! If you did participate, call again, 844-402-1001!

It is important that we keep the pressure on our Senators, so they cosponsor the bill. Our work is not done on the USPS Fairness Act until the Senate pass it on the floor, and the President signs it into law.

US Mail: Not for Sale Campaign Generates Major Media Presence

One goal of the US Mail: Not for Sale campaign is to gain extensive media coverage to educate the public about the serious postal privatization threat. So far this year, the campaign’s work has resulted in stories and columns published in major daily newspapers and reported on television news programs across the county, reaching tens of millions.

The work to broaden public awareness of the White House’s attacks on the public Postal Service is key to putting pressure on the Postal Board of Governors, who as this issue goes to press have yet to name a successor to outgoing Postmaster General Megan Brennan. This media spotlight also contributed to the push on elected representatives, and the resulting passage of the USPS Fairness Act in the House of Representatives on Feb. 5 with a two-thirds bipartisan majority.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote an article on Jan. 9 titled “The Postal Service is America’s most popular government agency. Why does Trump hate it?” In it he strongly criticizes the right-wing attacks on the public Postal Service and its attempt to sell-off parts of the USPS.

Hiltzik cited the Postal Service’s 90 percent favorable rating, and mentions our successful petition campaign in January, which resulted in over 411,000 signatures delivered to the Postal Board of Governors demanding the new Postmaster General support the public Postal Service. Hiltzik also noted the U.S. constitutional universal service mandate: “Establishing ‘post offices and post roads’ is one of the powers of Congress explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, right up there with the power to tax and borrow, declare war, coin money, establish federal courts and issue patents and copyrights… Because of the Postal Service’s mandate to provide universal delivery across the United States, no matter where, the commercial firms often rely on the Postal Service to deliver their packages to the last mile.”

The column reached over 15 million people, through both the Los Angeles Times and syndication in numerous publications across the country.

In our earned and broad media efforts, President Dimondstein was also featured on a major television news segment done by Nexstar Broadcasting, shown on over 100 local tv stations throughout the United States. “Everybody has the same right to have mail service no matter who we are and where we live,” said President Dimondstein. “And that would all be threatened, undermined and done away with, with privatization.”

To watch the interview, click here.

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