A huge postcard, announcing his “Scrooge of the Year Award” was mailed Dec. 22 to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. The award is given every Christmas to the worst boss by a vote of attendees at the Portland Jobs with Justice holiday fundraising party. The award accuses Donahoe of “dismantling and privatizing the people’s postal service, eg. closing processing plants, slashing service hours and closing post offices, delaying the mail, outsourcing retail to Staples and Walmart.”
USPS will lower “service standards” on Jan. 5 to virtually eliminate overnight mail delivery — including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town. All letters, periodicals and packages throughout the country will be delayed. Eighty-two mail processing plants — half of those remaining — will be closed during 2015, including those in Springfield, Pendleton, and Bend, Oregon.
Postal management says the closures are necessary because the USPS, which isn’t funded by taxpayers, is losing money. Critics claim that a 2006 Congressional mandate, which forces the U.S. Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance, has created a phony financial crisis. Although the USPS has claimed a “loss” every year since 2006, due primarily to the pre-fund mandate, the postal service has not made an actual payment toward prefunding since 2011. The USPS has generated an operating profit for the last six quarters. USPS is a semi-independent agency that relies on postage — not tax dollars — for revenue.
In the photo at left, Rev. John Schwiebert, decked out in a Santa hat, hands the three-by-five foot postcard across the counter to postal clerks at Portland’s Martin Luther King Jr. Post Office, while a holiday crowd of approving customers snapped photos as they waited in a line that stretched out into the street.
Donahoe announced in November that he was retiring effective Feb. 1. The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors appointed Megan J. Brennan, the current chief operating officer of the Postal Service, as the 74th Postmaster General and CEO.