As a letter carrier and local union president of Long Island City Branch 357 representing over 250 active and retired workers and thier families, I was quite concerned that the article written in the February 14 Courier did not include three very important facts. First, over 80% of the losses sustained by the USPS are the result of a pre-funding requirement mandated by a lame-duck Congress in 2006 that requires the USPS to pay $5.5 billion per year for future retirees’ health benefits for 75 years from now. No business in the WORLD, private or otherwise, has such a burden. This was done at a time when the USPS was showing a surplus and could afford to put away for a rainy day. Second, it’s short-sighted to believe that everyone uses email for all of their bills and correspondences. In many parts rural parts of the country, they do not have cellular service or Internet, and the letter carriers are their only link to the outside world. In those communities, 100% of the people need their mail six days a week. Lastly, while mentioning the letter from Meng to the postmaster general, you should have alerted your readers that there are three bills in the House and the Senate that are trying to enact useful postal reform that will not only keep the delivery of mail six days a week, they also serve to strengthen the USPS and keep the only universal delivery service in the United States. They are H.R. 30, H.R. 630 and S. 316.
I would also like to announce that on March 24, letter carriers from every neighborhood in every state will be out there for a day of action to let the American people know the whole truth about what they can do to save six day delivery. We will be out there with our friends, families, co-workers and patrons from the communities we work in to do everything we can to save Saturday delivery. The postmaster general is going against the will of Congress by the announcement of five day delivery, and they will be voting on the appropriation on March 27 to continue the six day delivery requirement that has been successfully signed into law for more than 30 years. If you want more information go to http://deliveringforamerica.com/ to see what you can do to help.
David Van Aken
President, Branch 357
National Association of Letter Carriers