Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

End of Saturday Mail an 'Idiotic' Move ; COMMUNITY COMMENT

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

End of Saturday Mail an 'Idiotic' Move ; COMMUNITY COMMENT

Article excerpt

I am the President of Southwest Indiana Merged Branch 377, National Association of Letter Carriers, which encompasses 14 cities here in Southwestern Indiana, Evansville being the largest of them. I represent city letter carriers from Mount Vernon northward to Vincennes and Bicknell, eastward to Washington and Jasper and Tell City, and back into Evansville through Rockport and Newburgh.

Nationwide, approximately 22,500 letter carrier positions will be eliminated if we go to five-day delivery, approximately a sixth of the career letter carrier workforce. For my branch, this disastrous move, if it actually occurs, will mean the loss of 26 good-paying middle-class jobs here in Evansville, one each in Mount Vernon, Princeton, Tell City, Washington and Jasper, and two in Vincennes.

Of the $15.9 billion loss last year, $11.1 billion was due to a law passed in 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which mandated the Postal Service pay $5.5 billion per year to pre- fund retirees' health care benefits 75 years into the future, in only 10 years time. Think about that. We are paying for health care benefits for postal employees who have yet to be hired - some of these future employees haven't even been born yet. The post office is the only government agency with this unique financial burden imposed by Congress.

Like all businesses across the country, the post office was heavily affected by the Great Recession. Because of this recession, first class mail fell 37 percent. However, with the growing amount of ecommerce, parcel delivery is up exponentially. Then there is the matter of the Postal Service overpaying into our employee pension funds, according to the Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the Postal Regulatory Commission - some $75 billion overpaid. During the 1970 Postal Reorganization, the Office of Personnel Management shifted an unfair amount of the federal government's pension cost obligation to the Postal Service. Congress needs to give back our money.

You say the Postmaster General made a daring move to cut costs. I say it was an idiotic move - unless Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe's move is but a ploy to force our dysfunctional Congress to cease their egregious partisan bickering and actually attempt the work they were elected to do by passing a bill that removes the root cause of our problems - the pre-funding mandate. …

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