Building a powerful nationwide grass-roots movement to Save the People’s Post Office

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Dave Welsh, a retired letter carrier and an organizer with Save the People’s Post Office, has written a lucid and informative summary of the grass-roots movement to stop the dismantling of the Postal Service for private profit.  It starts like this:

"Without question, the big-business class – and their agents in USPS headquarters, the executive branch and Congress – are on a path to dismantle the Postal Service, privatize the profitable parts of it, and neutralize or destroy the postal unions.

"Their whole economic system is in crisis. It’s not working. So the 1% are trying to pull their own chestnuts out of the fire by a full-bore attack on unions, the workers and the poor – an attack on our union contracts, our jobs, economic security, wages, benefits, conditions, and social services. Their assault on the Post Office is part of this strategy."  Read more.

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Berkeley sleep-in on post office steps goes into third day

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About fifteen protesters camped out on the steps of the Berkeley post office for the third night since the rally on Saturday.  Protesters denounced the Postmaster General's decision to sell historic post offices in Berkeley, the Bronx, and LaJolla,, close thousands of post offices and mail processing plants, end door-to-door and Saturday delivery, and lay off 100,000-plus unionized postal workers, in what they said was a "systematic plan to dismantle and privatize the postal service."  Read more.  (Press release)

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Gretna gears up to save the post office, again

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For nearly 70 years, the people in Gretna, Louisiana, did their postal business at a beautiful post office built in 1936.  It had a New Deal mural entitled “Steamboats on the Mississippi,” painted by Stuart R. Purser in 1939.

In 2003 the Postal Service announced that it wanted to close the post office and sell the building.  The city of Gretna responded.  It bought the historic building (which is now being renovated), and offered to convert an old train depot, just a block away, into a post office.  According to nola.com, renovations of the station were done using $100,000 in city and state money.  Then the city gave the Postal Service a sweet deal — $11,000 a year for the 900-square-foot space.

So for the past ten years, downtown Gretna has enjoyed having a small post office in a historic train station.  It’s been a boon to businesses, given new life to the old station, and served an important social and economic role in Gretna.  All the work elected officials did to keep a post office downtown paid off.  They even saved the mural and had it moved over to the new post office.

Now the Postal Service wants to close the railroad station post office.  The savings will just be the small amount of rent and the salary of one postal worker, but somehow the Postal Service estimates a ten-year savings of $729,000, even though that employee will just be transferred to the main office in Gretna.

Customers say it’s always busy at the post office, and city officials say closing it would not just be a loss to the community.  “It’s critical to business and government,” says the mayor.

The Postal Service began taking steps to close the office in early 2012, and there was a rally to stop it.  For some reason, the Postal Service backed off.

Now the Postal Service is picking up where it left off, and city officials are gearing up for another fight.  The Parish Council passed a resolution opposing a closure, and residents have been urged to share their views with the Postal Service.

Gretna saved the post office in 2003 and again in 2012.  It’s going to be tough winning round three.

(Photo credits: “Steamboats on the Mississippi” muralGretna, LA RR station post office; Gretna’s old New Deal post office)

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Postal Service reduces hours at post office, then cites declining revenue to close it

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The rationales offered by the Postal Service when it wants to close a post offices are often not very rational, but what’s happening in East Irvine, California, is a good example of just how irrational the logic of postal management can get.

In 2011, when thousands of post offices were being reviewed for closure, the Postal Service often cited a decline in annual revenues over the previous years as one reason to close the post office.  Considering that the Recession had begun in 2008, it was not surprising that revenues were falling, but that didn’t stop the Postal Service from considering the decline as a valid justification for closing a post office.

The story in East Irvine is a little more frustrating for customers to understand.

In 2009, the Postal Service wanted to close their post office, but local historians and residents protested.  The post office is housed in a historic 1890 building, which the Postal Service has leased since 1990, and people loved going there for a taste of history.

As a compromise, the Postal Service agreed to keep the office open, but at reduced hours.  It’s been open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, with no Saturday hours.

Now the Postal Service is studying the East Irvine post office for discontinuance.  The reason cited?  “A steady lack of revenue and/or volume.”

Rolland Graham, President of Mountain Outin’ Tour Company, is a regular customer of the East Irvine office.  “This is the third time we’ve had to go through this,” Graham told the Orange County Register. “It’s very frustrating because we can’t do any planning.”

The lack of revenue and volume at the facility, Graham said, is a result of a reduction in hours there, part of the compromise reached the last time it was facing the possibility of closure.

Last week Postal Service held the public meeting required by the discontinuance regulations, and now it’s waiting for customers to return a survey.  The outcome is not much in doubt.

The owner of the building has already put the property on the market.  The listing says the lease ends next July.  The post office will be probably be closed long before then.

Image credit: East Irvine post office, on Waymarking

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The GOP’s Relentless Quest to Destroy The US Postal Service Is Almost Done

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There's an excellent piece in today's Occupy Democrats by Salvatore Aversa about the Issa-led quest to destroy the Postal Service.  "The fight against the United States Postal Service continues," writes Aversa.  "While the Post Office looks for ways to save itself, Republicans, led by Representative Darrell Issa, continue to look for ways to destroy it.  Representative Issa, leader of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, now wants to end all at-home delivery by the year 2022.

"Before you can understand why they are doing this, you need to understand the problems facing the Post Office." Read more.

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Postal Service defends mailbox removal – WIVB

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The Postal Service continues to remove what it considers underperforming blue collection boxes.  Customers in Buffalo, New York, were dismayed to see some of the boxes they depend on just disappear one day.  WIVB reports the following: 

On Clinton Street, a blue mailbox has always been present outside Bruce Beyer's home. But last June, a sign appeared. Then this past Saturday, a postal worker came and took the box away.  Now Beyer says the closest mailbox is more than a mile away, at the main post office on William Street.

"I would guess that 20 percent of the people in this neighborhood, maybe a little more, don't own automobiles, don't drive. And it's not a neighborhood where you can leave your mail in the box and have the postman pick it up for you. Because if you leave, like Netflix for example, somebody's going to steal it," Beyer said.  Read more.

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