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Stop the destruction of the postal service

Published Feb 24, 2012 9:07 PM

Community Labor United to Save Postal Jobs & Services issued the following media release on Feb. 18 after newspaper, TV and radio media barraged the public that same day with reports that the postal service is broke. The group is organizing a rally on March 17 to protest attempts to lay off postal workers and close post offices.

“The spin is in full swing,” said Johnnie Stevens, coordinator of Community Labor United to Save Postal Jobs & Services, “to spread lies that the [U.S. Postal Service] is broke in order to justify layoffs, post office closings and union busting when the current moratorium expires May 15.”

“Any reporter spending two minutes to research the claim that USPS is broke should honestly report this is a lie,” said Anne Pruden, retired Service Employees 1199 member and coalition organizer. “Instead, they are parroting USPS lies. Raising stamps to 50 cents is meant to falsely convey that USPS has no money. Meanwhile, they are not raising the very low corporate [postal] rates.”

In a Feb. 6 letter to Rep. Bernie Sanders, USPS Postal Inspector David C. Williams wrote that the USPS “has built a war chest of more than $326 billion to address future liabilities.” He states that no other private or public entity has been required to pre-fund their retiree and health funds, as Congress has demanded of USPS. Williams says there are billions of dollars in overfunding that could be returned to the USPS now, without requiring future payments to these funds for 21 years.

“This is really about taking the people’s postal service and turning over its technology and business to private communications companies that wine and dine Congress,” explained Charlie Twist, a letter carrier whose union is backing a March 17 protest. “We have already lost more than 100,000 jobs. We are going to fight layoffs of 200,000 more. We know that their real intention is to destroy the entire postal service, bust our unions and deprive communities of critical service.”

President Barack Obama’s “compromise” to end Saturday delivery is unnecessary. Along with all the other proposals, it is calculated to make the postal service inoperable, and then claim private companies are needed.

“Privatization of the postal service will increase customer costs, lower wages, and deprive seniors, communities of color and rural communities of services and jobs,” says community activist Rosa Maria del Torres. “In New York City and around the country we will fight this all the way.”