Santa Monica activists plan rally to save post office building

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Santa Monica activists plan to hold a rally Saturday at the city's post office at 5th Street and Arizona Avenue, a 1930s-era Moderne building that is set to be shut down.  Members of the Santa Monica Conservancy, a preservation group, plan to stage the rally at 11 a.m. on what is scheduled to be the last day of operations at the post office.  Read more.

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USPS: A wholly owned subsidiary of Mailers Inc.

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BY MARK JAMISON

I am a card-carrying member of the DAV — Disabled American Veterans.   The organization has been a wonderful source of support over the years and does fine work on behalf of veterans.

So I was disappointed to discover DAV on the membership list of PostCom, the postal lobbying association that represents businesses and organizations that use the mail for business and commerce.   PostCom has been a vocal advocate for cheap mail rates, which come at the expense of Postal Service employees, consumers, and communities.

PostCom recently released a white paper on postal reform.  The paper offers nine principles that the Board of Directors of the lobbying group feel should be the basis of future postal reform.  The paper reads like a Christmas wish list from an industry that already enjoys healthy profits.

 

Postal reform, the PostCom way

The first three principles, presumably the most important given their place at the top of the list, directly attack the wages and benefits of postal workers: pull postal workers from their federal health care program, allow the Postal Service to offer a defined contribution retirement plan instead of FERS, and require arbitrators in labor disputes to consider the Postal Service’s fiscal position.  The remainder of the proposals — like giving the Postal Service authority to reduce the days of delivery — place the interests of PostCom and its members above those of the American public generally.

Over the last several years PostCom and its executive director Gene Del Polito have consistently taken positions that seek to solve postal issues at the expense of postal workers.  They have advocated for the end of postal participation in FEHB — an idea that was debunked by, of all places, the conservative AEI, in this testimony before Congress in 2012.  They would also like postal workers to be withdrawn from the current federal retirement system, and they would like to tilt the collective bargaining process — a process that already restrains labor and mandates arbitration — in ways that would ensure unfair disposition of labor issues.

Del Polito and PostCom have taken the position that their members — they call themselves the “stakeholders” — should have preferential treatment when it comes to postal issues.  In their view cheap mailing rates are the only reason for the existence of the Postal Service.  They acknowledge no role of public service, no greater mission of binding the nation together, and no activity other than the distribution of advertising mail for the Postal Service.  In service of this laser-like focus on cheap preferential rates for their members, they have advocated beggaring the workforce, service reductions for first class mail, and the removal of essential services and infrastructure from America’s communities.

In some ways PostCom is no different than any of the industry lobbying groups that exist to lobby on their members’ behalf, such as the Affordable Mail Alliance, a group of 700 publishers, direct mailers and non-profits; the Alliance of Non-profit Mailers; and various trade associations like the National Newspaper Association.  In fact, many of these groups have members in common with PostCom, although many of them do not publish a list of their participating members as PostCom does.

What all these groups have in common is the conviction that their financial interests not only supersede but essentially extinguish any other interests in the American postal system.  Even when PostCom offers proposals that might coincide with others’ interests — for example, the return of overpayments into the various retirement systems — their arguments are wholly self-centered and self-interested.  In their view, those overpayments are their money and should be returned in the form of even lower rates.

 

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Postal Service change delays newspaper deliveries in Macon, NC

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An unreported U.S. Postal Service change affecting local letter carriers working Macon routes delayed when subscribers on those routes received last week’s edition of The Warren Record.  Carl Walton, a Postal Service spokesman for the Greensboro district, said that Macon letter carriers now begin their workdays at the Warrenton Post Office instead of the Macon Post Office and then go about their routes from there….  Read more.

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