The billionaires and their politicians in government want to dismantle the world’s largest civilian motor vehicle fleet, which is used by the United States Postal Service. Why? Because it would generate millions of dollars in profits for private corporations if the Postal Service privatized its motor vehicle fleet of seven ton, 11 ton and tractor trailer trucks.
Subcontracting the movement of mail between processing plants and post offices would eliminate thousands of union jobs. It’s all about lower wages and cuts in benefits.
The privatization of these jobs is another attack on the viability of the postal service, which has eliminated over 244,000 jobs since 2000. Just this year, 48 mail processing plants have been consolidated, destroying the infrastructure that makes mail delivery efficient and timely. Postal bigwigs want to close 90 more plants this winter and another 90 in January of 2014. The postmaster general is also slashing hours and closing half of all post offices, mostly in rural areas, and selling off valuable postal property.
The USPS is being dismantled piece by piece because of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which mandated a $5.5 billion per year advance for pension health care costs — to be made 75 years in advance! These mandated funds are not held by the USPS. This money, collected from the sale of stamps, is transferred to the Treasury Department, and is used as an accounting debit against the $17 trillion national debt — a debt accumulated largely from Pentagon adventures.
The privatization of postal motor vehicles jobs to nonunion private contractors should be seen as an attack on the wages and benefits of all transportation workers, including truck drivers, railroad workers, dock workers and everyone else who handles freight.
In California, 1,044 motor vehicle jobs are slated to be eliminated by November 17. Motor vehicle jobs in New York City and northern New Jersey are also being privatized at the same time that the Kilmer Sorting Facility in Edison, N.J., is being consolidated, at a cost of 500 processing jobs.
Postal workers and their community allies have begun to fight back against motor vehicle privatization. ”The really big consolidations and job eliminations will start in January 2013, and customers will see big changes to mail service,” said Tom Dodge, a Baltimore postal truck driver in his call for a rally on October 28 at 2 p.m. at the Baltimore Main Post Office, 900 E. Fayette St. Rallies have been held in Anaheim and Los Angeles in California, and more are planned. Postal union and community leaders in the New York area are discussing a show of opposition as well.
Communities and Postal Workers United (www.cpwunited.com) members are collecting signatures calling for a national march on March 17 to save the postal service.
Communities suffer whenever workers are forced to accept lower pay and inadequate health care and pension benefits. Community Labor United for Postal Jobs and Services (clupjis.com), a coalition active on the East Coast, believes that a movement of postal workers, union members, housing activists and others fighting for neighborhood issues can succeed in saving the postal service. ¡Sí se puede!
The writer is a retired letter carrier.