Why is the Postmaster General Understating Postal Revenue Gains?

David Yao

David C. Yao

In a May 9, 2014 press release, the Postal Service issued another quarterly press release turning an operating profit (of $261 million) into a loss. The supposed loss, an accounting fiction, was caused entirely by the 2006 law which generates a long-term loan to the Federal treasury, under the guise of “pre-funding” employee benefits.

In fact, the Postal Service is making a $1 billion operating profit in the first six months of its fiscal year. In their own press release in response, the National Association of Letter Carriers pointed out that the Postal Service has been turning an operating profit since October of 2012.

But the USPS release included this apparent misstatement: “’revenue…was up $379 million over the same period last year — the third straight quarter of revenue increase,’ said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donahoe” (underlining added).

The Postal Service has actually been reporting revenue increases for five straight quarters, dating back to January 1, 2013 (see below). So why is Postmaster General Donahoe minimizing that winning streak? Perhaps someone in Postal HQ’s statistics department was snoozing that day.

But there is a more disturbing explanation, that is consistent with the Postal Service’s “doom and gloom” reporting of its finances.
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Staples Plucks Postal Jobs

Members of three postal unions and community supporters gathered outside a Bronx post office slated for closure. The laid-off workers may be replaced by Staples workers. Photo: Alexandra Bradbury.

Members of three postal unions and community supporters gathered outside a Bronx post office slated for closure. The laid-off workers may be replaced by Staples workers. Photo: Alexandra Bradbury.

Staples’ latest ad slogan is “What the L?” That sounds like what postal workers said when they found out the retail chain planned to steal their work.

The Long Island, New York, local of the American Postal Workers Union didn’t waste any time after the news broke in November. Members voted to boycott Staples and ask their friends and neighbors to do the same.

“The ball started rolling then,” said President Pete Furgiuele—and APWU soon launched a national campaign.

Across the country, local delegations visited Staples stores in January to threaten a boycott unless the retailer’s new “postal units” are staffed by actual postal employees. Continue reading

Privatize The Post Office? That What Pitney Bowes Is Paying Lawmakers To Push

By Bill Brickley

pitney-213x150Pitney Bowes seems  to be promoting a reckless and astoundingly flawed plan to privatize every part of the Postal Service except mail delivery.   This reckless plan was brought up years ago by the Libertarian Cato Institute but was quickly dismissed.  Yet the idea has been reintroduced recently. Why would this plan be suddenly creating interest in DC at this time?  It’s simple follow the money.

Under this plan, financed by Pitney Bowes, the entire Postal Service would become a series of private companies that would process and transport the mail to your US Postal Service Letter Carrier who would deliver it. The rational of this misguided plan is that they can eliminate hundreds of thousands of good union middle class jobs and replace them with low wage and benefit challenged employees . Then disguise it by still having your trusted Letter Carrier still bring it to your door.

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The U.S. Postal Service is essential to our democracy and our economy

by Bob Simpson
George Washington stamp

The free exchange of ideas is critical to representative government and was one of the reasons why the US Postal Service(USPS) was created. At its founding the Postal Service had a deliberate policy of subsidizing the mailing of newspapers and other periodicals, precisely to encourage the communication of ideas. The importance of this was understood by President George Washington who signed the bill authorizing the US Postal Service in 1792. The idea of a postal service is enshrined in the US Constitution.
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Hunger Strikers Charge Congress with Starving Postal Service

By Josh Eidelson

Ten postal workers and supporters began a hunger strike on Monday to protest proposed cuts to USPS services. (Photo by Lingjing Bao via Flickr)

Since Monday, ten workers and consumers have been hunger striking on behalf of the embattled U.S. Postal Service. Their action comes amid a fierce debate over what ails the agency and how to fix it. “It’s a shame,” says hunger striker Tom Dodge, “to let something that’s so efficient and doing so well just die, starve to death.”

Dodge says he’s “amazed” to find himself on hunger strike. A 13-year postal truck driver in Baltimore and a member of the American Postal Workers Union, he says in the past he never got involved in union activism because of “too much politics.” Dodge describes being inspired to act following proposals for major cuts last year. But after participating in rallies coordinated by USPS’ four unions, he concluded they’d had only “a limited effect.”  Reached by phone Tuesday while waiting to meet a representative from House Speaker John Boehner’s office, Dodge called the hunger strike “about the strongest thing you can do without breaking the law.”  “We’re trying to shame them,” says Jamie Partridge, who recently retired after 27 years as a letter carrier in Portland.

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The Real Story About the USPS

by Bill Brickley

NH letter carriers (NALC) at a Save Our Postal Service rally.

The corporate owned media is blindly mouthing the GOP version of the situation with the US Postal Service. Their fairy tale states that the USPS is losing serious money because of declining mail volume due to the Internet – competition from Federal Express and UPS and those ineffective union workers. Since our electorate spends minimal time researching anything of substance they buy this fairy tale as fact.

Let me tell the real story. The USPS is currently in a financial crisis – no dispute on that. It has in fact been caused by a 2006 poison pill put in a postal reform bill by the Bush administration that required the USPS topre fund their future retiree health care costs for the next 75 years in the next 10 years. That is $5.5 billion a year. No other federal agency does this as well as few private companies. Especially during an economic slowdown we are experiencing. Take away this onerous pefunding and the Postal Service has actually made a 7 million dollar profit over the last 6 years despite the effects from the economic meltdown.
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Senate Passes Postal Service Bill

postal_service

by Laura Clawson

The Senate passed S. 1789, the bill generally reported to be aimed at “saving” or “fixing” the postal service, by a vote of 62-37 Wednesday. Less widely reported were the origins of the postal service’s problems in a crisis manufactured by Congressand exacerbated less by the shift online than by the recession. The Senate bill buys the postal service some time before the worst proposed post office and processing center closures, cuts to delivery and lengthened delivery times, and jobs cuts can begin to kick in. But while it prevents postal executives from kicking off an immediate death spiral, it doesn’t create the conditions for the postal service’s success by reversing the conditions that manufactured the crisis to begin with.

 

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3 Big Lies At the Heart of Republican Attacks On the Post Office

by Josh Eidelsohn

Josh Eidelson

In nine months in office, the new Republican House majority has amply proven the emptiness of its early promises: to create jobs, run government more like a business and respect small-town America. But there’s no better object lesson in Republicans’ real priorities than their bid to end the Postal Service as we know it.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) transports hundreds of billions of pieces of mail a year to addresses everywhere in the United States. It does so with no government subsidies – if you don’t use the postal service, you don’t pay for it. Now, like the US economy, the USPS faces a crisis brought on by Republican policies, which Republicans insist only more right-wing policies can solve. USPS has informed Congress that it can’t pay $5.5 billion due to a federal retiree health fund September 30, raising prospects of default. Republicans, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, are demanding layoffs and service cuts. Here’s how the Republican plan – burning the Postal Service to save it – contradicts the stories Republicans tell us about themselves.

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“Sitting Ducks” and “Walking Targets”: Risking Life on the Job

by Adam Kader

We all know the phrase “going postal,” right? It’s when someone becomes extremely angry to the point of become violent, usually in the context of work. It came about in response to a number of horrific incidents of violence committed by postal workers in the 1980s and ’90s.*

But this past week the Chicago Tribune ran a revealing story about the risks of violence posed to postal workers just doing their jobs. In a place like Chicago, the workplace for mail carriers–the outdoors–presents natural health and safety risks, such as heat illness. Being in Chicago, extreme weather conditions can be expected and prepared for. But when routes run through high-crime areas, carriers’ work can become life-endangering from human factors of violence.

In the Tribune story, mail carrier Khalalisa Norris tells her story of being nearly gunned-down in a drive-by shooting (watch a video here). Rodney Nelson, another mail carrier, describes being taken into an alley and held at gunpoint to hand over his mail bag. And Berenda Walker was assaulted while organizing mail in her truck.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that an average of 1.7 million people were victims of violent crime while working or on duty in the United States each year from 1993 through 1999 according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).”

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Congress Holds Unprecedented Hearing into USPS-Union Agreement

by Mike Elk

APWU President Cliff Guffey

Today, Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a  hearing on the tentative collective bargaining agreement reached last month between the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the United States Postal Service. The move pushes Congress into uncharted territory.

“I have never heard of a congressional hearing being called into a collective bargaining agreement,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “This hearing is unprecedented and there has never been a hearing before into the collective bargaining agreements between our union and the postal service.”

The tentative agreement, which would cover the next four and a half years, still needs to be ratified by APWU members. It would freeze salaries for two years and require about 202,000 union workers to pay more for their healthcare. The deal will also allow the USPS to relocate workers more easily and hire more part-time workers.

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