“Benjamin Franklin” attended a “Save America’s Postal Service” rally Sept. 23 at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 82.
Franklin is symbolic of the U.S. Postal Service, having founded it in 1775 and serving as postmaster.
On Sept. 27, rallies were held in every congressional district in the country to deliver the same message.
Today, as many as 3,700 post offices (41 in Oregon) are targeted for possible closure, and the postmaster general is calling for an end to Saturday delivery. Doing so would result in the loss of some 35,000 family-wage jobs. The postal service is a self-funded federal agency that is experiencing multi-billion-dollar losses. A primary reason for the operating deficit is a requirement imposed by Congress five years ago that the post office set aside $5.5 billion a year to pre-fund the medical costs for retirees 75 years out.
“The current postal crisis has been manufactured,” said NALC Branch 82 President Jim Cook. “No other government agency is required to make such a payment for future medical benefits. If we did not have $5.5 billion a year taken away from our operating budget, we would not be in the financial crisis today. In fact, we would be $700 million in the good.”
Postal unions are asking their customers to write Congress and ask that they repeal the pre-funding requirement. “Many
have heard reports about the USPS’s financial crisis,” Cook said, “but few know there are solutions that don’t cost the taxpayer a dime.”