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A way to keep six-day mail delivery service
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Lately, there has been much discussion regarding the USPS and the pursuit to eliminate delivery on Saturdays. The USPS has not been entirely truthful to the customers when they start preaching the roof is falling in – or the sky is falling.

Yes, mail volume is down and costs are going up but they are failing to mention a few things:

• A study just released by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) shows that the current system of funding the Postal Service’s Civil Service Retirement System pension responsibility is inequitable and has resulted in the Postal Service overpaying $75 billion to the pension fund. The OIG estimates that if the overcharge was used to prepay the Postal Service’s health benefits fund, it would fully meet all of the Postal Service’s accrued retiree health care liabilities and eliminate the need for the required annual payments of more than $5 billion. Also, the health benefits fund could immediately start meeting its intended purpose – paying the annual payment for current retirees, which was $2 billion in 2009.

• On March 18, 2010, Postmaster General John E. Potter testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. Responding to questions from subcommittee Chairman Sen. Richard Durban (D-IL), PMG Potter said returning the $75 billion in Civil Service funds owed the USPS would eliminate any need to cut mail service.

The real problems for the USPS started in 2006 with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). Congress, in cooperation with the Bush administration required the USPS to prefund decades of future retires health care benefits in just a 10-year window.

No other agency- including the United States Congress- or private company faces such a legal obligation to prefund. I am not saying this is a bad idea, because it is security for the employees when they do retire- but the massive amount in such a short period of time is unrealistic.  But if Congress tells the Department of Treasury to give the USPS money back or apply to the prefunding requirement of 2006, the USPS would be able continue six-day delivery.

The American people should be outraged that again the government is trying to take more and give less. The USPS is solely funded by the use of mail - the public buying stamps and services…no tax dollars.

The PGM has made it very clear if the USPS is to go delivering Monday thru Friday, then they would have to reduce full time employees by about 40,000 and part-time employees by about 13,000. In this economy can we survive adding more laid off workers?  And if USPS does get to reduce delivery- they will still raise rates.

The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), AFL-CIO has been a willing and working partner with the USPS. The parties bargained a fair and expedited way to evaluate, adjust all city letter carrier routes nationwide. This was done 3 times within the past 18 months. Every city letter carrier route has been looked at and adjusted to the current mail volumes, keeping the route as close as possible to 8-hour assignments.

Before any change in delivery is made, the USPS should pursue the overpayment and then pay the required prefunding obligation it has. The left-over money it would then have- should go to paying down its debt- and it is possible it would wipe out its outstanding debt. Just remember, the USPS was debt-free just a couple of years ago- it can be again soon- but not the way the USPS wants. Doing away with a day of delivery is not the answer, but a beginning of the end.

Contact your Congressman, your Senators,  President Obama and Postmaster General Potter- tell them we want six-day delivery and to give the USPS our money back as it was paid to the postal service and it belongs with the postal service.
Ken Meadows
Branch 4249, NALC