Portland delivers message on USPS’ 242nd birthday

Ben Franklin (above right), the nation’s first postmaster general, joined more than two dozen postal workers and customers at the Main Post Office in Northwest Portland July 26 to celebrate the 242nd birthday of the U.S. Postal Service. They also gathered to protest job cuts that are causing longer lines and delay of mail delivery.

“We need a revolutionary postmaster general who will fight for the postal service, against the tyranny of the privatizers, against the oppression of the union busters,” said Franklin, played by retired letter carrier David Medford. “We need revolutionary postal workers who will spread the alarm to every corner of this nation.”

USPS has eliminated dozens of jobs of retail and mail processing clerks in the Portland area this year, and dozens more are targeted as part of announced cuts that would reduce staffing by 12,000 nationwide.

‘Franklin’ called for a postal service that will deliver on time, six days a week, door to door: “We need post offices that are open at night … that provide banking services, one-stop government services, and internet access …. We the people have a constitutionally-mandated post office which we must defend for our children and our children’s children.”

And while USPS has experienced a decline in letter mail, the Postal Service has emerged as the mainstay of parcel delivery, as consumers move their retail purchases to online providers. Postal supporters said USPS financial losses are due to a 2006 Congressional mandate to fund retiree benefits in advance. Union leaders say USPS has been breaking even or making a profit on operations for the last five years.

The U.S. Postal Service was chartered by the Continental Congress on July 26, 1775 — also known as Postal Heritage Day.

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