Darrell Issa wants to End Door-to-Door Mail Delivery

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Clusterboxes have been subject to theft in Sacramento

Darrell Issa R-CA, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wants to end door-to-door U.S. mail delivery claiming it will save money. Darrell Issa and Postmaster General Donahoe hide behind the excuse that USPS is broke by billions of dollars and must cut costs. The cause of USPS fiscal problems, however, has been self-inflicted by Congress and by some top USPS leaders who have insisted on cutting services and jobs instead of creatively finding ways to generate new revenue.

The Truth About USPS Fiscal Woes

USPS’s current fiscal challenges were mostly engineered by Congress’s passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 which forced USPS to prepay its pensions 75 years in advance in just 10 short years beginning in 2007.

However, there are funds owed to USPS through overpayment to the government for various pension programs prior to 2007. Postmaster General Donahoe fails to address this issue and Darrell Issa denies any relevance to documents presented by The Office of Inspector General of USPS that estimated the U.S. Postal Service overpaid the government approximately $142 billion in other pension plans over the years (See USPS OIG Report Number FT-MA-10-002: Summary of Substantial Overfunding in Postal Service Pension and Retiree Health Care Funds).

Smoke and Mirror Talking Points

Darrell Issa and PMG Donahoe’s constant talking point of USPS “declining revenues” to justify Draconion cuts in services and closure and sales of post offices reflects a lack of vision and creative solutions from Congress and the top management at USPS. It is a bare-faced excuse to cut postal services even though USPS currently accepts no tax dollars from the public. At every opportunity Issa and Donahoe give the illusion that postal services must be cut because of the fiscal problems of USPS.

In 2006 USPS was voted the best postal service in the world and it is the second largest employer in the entire United States. Today in 2013 it is the largest unionized employer in the U.S.

Issa and Donahoe constantly bad mouth USPS and continue to forecast its decline. The true reality must be revealed. The American people can choose to create a more thriving USPS that protects and appreciates its postal assets instead of selling them off, especially it’s historic buildings and precious postal art.

We need leaders in Congress and USPS who provide solutions to create a thriving USPS that prides itself on preserving its historic postal buildings and art and expanding services for Americans instead of those who are claiming fiscal responsibility by gutting and destroying USPS through their misguided policies.

If someone ideologically is geared towards always cutting public services because they think government is too big, then one must question the objectivity of decisions made by such a person. When will the mainstream media find out the real philosophy and vision behind Postmaster General Donahoe’s views? Who will ask the USPS Board of Governors Chair his real views of USPS’s future? Do the USPS leaders in the top echelons of power care about their unionized workers? Do they care about our historic post offices or art? Or, are these leaders at USPS just carrying out philosophically flawed efforts outlined in Cato Institute white papers to destroy and privatize the U.S. postal service by getting rid of postal infrastructure and union jobs?

When is “fiscal responsibility” an excuse to Cut Services to Americans?

Americans want to keep their historic USPS post offices open in their community and want USPS to find ways to capitalize on its fabulous historic buildings and postal art to attract more customers and services to increase revenues. Adding some village post offices in locations that have no existing historic post office may be welcome in some communities. However, communities with existing historic post offices and public art are unwilling to trade their special post offices for a “relocated” post office at the back of a card store or in a former pet store. Postmaster Donahoe and Darrell Issa seem to think that “relocating” an historic post office to another location is perfectly ok because USPS will still provide postal services to its customers. Their thinking is flawed and completely contrary to the will of the people who have a right to keep their historic post office buildings and public art that was paid with tax dollars prior to 1970.

Saving the U.S. Postal Service by Senator Bernie Sanders

Did Darrell Issa Ask Americans at 37 million delivery points if they Want to Keep their Door-to-Door Delivery?

Did Darrell Issa ask the people of California or the nation about whether they want cluster boxes and curbside delivery instead of door-to-door delivery? No.

Did Darrell Issa ask the elderly if they support the end of door-to-door delivery and cluster boxes somewhere outside where they would have to go to collect their mail? No.

Where did this horrible idea of ending door-to-door mail delivery originate from, and why is Darrell Issa pushing it in his “postal reform” bill?

Tell Darrell Issa and Congress that Issa’s “postal reform” bill is wrong for USPS, and wrong for this nation.

Here is Ralph Nader’s 8/21/2013 letter to Darrell Issa clearly explaining and refuting Issa’s policies within his flawed postal reform bill H.R. 2748.

Tell your Congressperson Issa’s bill is wrong for USPS, wrong for America, and wrong for postal workers.

Here is an example of how the leadership of USPS has engineered”excess capacity” in the Reading PA beautiful historic post office that has served its community for decades in order to close it and sell it. This is disgraceful. This is undemocratic and unjust.

Musical Chairs in Reading PA leaves historic post office without a place at http://www.savethepostoffice.com

Why is the USPS leadership like VP Samra of Facilities deliberately claiming he listens to the concerns of each community and then ignores them and closes, relocates and sells the beloved community historic post offices? There is only one reason, to sell off our treasures as fast as possible before people can act. Where is President Obama to stop this? Where is Congress to stop this? The people must stop stand up now to stop the sell off of their postal buildings and art.

Issa’s “postal reform” bill is an attack on working families. It is an attack on our Constitutionally driven right to have our mail delivered to our homes.

Possible Motives for Issa wanting to End Door-to-Door Delivery

Since 2001, Postmaster General Potter and now Postmaster General Donahoe who was the deputy to Republican PMG Potter in prior years, have systematically cut the USPS union workforce through attrition and buyouts of union jobs. At least 200,000+ jobs have been lost in recent years at the same time delivery points have increased by over 17.1 million locations.

As we have seen from the ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) effort to promote anti-union, anti-collective bargaining legislation attacking public and private unions in Wisconsin and other states, another way to limit unions is to limit the jobs people actually have. That is exactly what has occurred at USPS from 2001 to 2013.

The USPS takes no taxpayer dollars and hasn’t since the reorganization of the postal service based on the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act. USPS pays for itself with the sale of postage and mail services.

So why does Darrell Issa want to end door-to-door delivery? He claims it will save money. Whose money? If USPS makes money from selling postage and mail services, isn’t ending door-to-door delivery cutting back on the “service” of the mail service? Yes, it is. And, it doesn’t make much business sense unless perhaps someone doesn’t want to improve the USPS business. By saving money, does Darrell Issa mean paying for less postal workers to deliver mail? Why, yes, he does.

That means Darrell Issa wants less postal workers to deliver mail to clusterboxes on a curbside. He doesn’t seem to care about better customer service for American customers of USPS who would prefer to continue having door-to-door delivery. Have you heard people clammering for an end to door-to-door mail delivery? No.

Isn’t Congress supposed to listen to the people of the U.S.? Yes, they should.

What are Elements of Good Business Common Sense?

Most businesses want to provide good customer service and also to expand their company’s services for higher profits. It makes sense that you will get more customers if you provide a better service and more value to people. A business gets happy customers, return customers and new customers when they provide a service people want.

However, under PMG Donahoe and some in Congress like Darrell Issa, it seems they have adopted a ridiculous policy of limiting the footprint of the postal service and reducing mail service to customers through:

  • Consolidating hundreds of mail processing centers
  • Closing hundreds and potentially thousands of post offices in rural and urban centers despite angry appeals from communities to keep their post offices open
  • Selling off important historic post offices with New Deal Era Murals despite numerous community efforts to keep their post offices functioning in their historic post offices (Venice, Ukiah, Santa Monica, La Jolla, CA, Bronx NY, Greenwich CT)
  • Cutting the postal union workforce in spite of a constant increase in mail delivery points
  • Slowing mail service and the mail standard
  • Cutting mail service hours and days of operation
  • PMG Donahoe and his management team repeatedly have failed to listen to their customers in local communities who want creative solutions to keep their post offices open instead of “relocating” them from their historic buildings to places like a former pet supply store in Greenwich, CT.

Darrell Issa’s proposal to end door-to-door delivery would only serve those who want to destroy the postal service by making it less responsive to its customers. That’s why Darrell Issa’s postal reform would harm the postal service, and why the public must tell Darrell Issa and their Congressional representatives that they want to keep door-to-door delivery and keep postal workers employed. 

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Why is the U.S. raiding $45 Billion of the U.S. Postal Service Health Retirement Plans?

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U.S. Post Office, Los Angeles CA

U.S. Post Office, Los Angeles, CA

The Postal Service has lots of money, $45 billion, in its Health Retirement Pension plans for its workers. Why, because in 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) forced USPS to prepay its retirement health plans 75 years in advance in just 10 short years beginning in 2007!

The Ed Show – US Postal Service remains under attack

PAEA Crazy Poison Pill for USPS

Sounds crazy right? Yes, it’s absolutely crazy. But it gets even nuttier when this mandated payment of $5.5 billion/year started in 2007 after the U.S. economy tanked and many businesses laid off hundreds of thousands of workers. Also, the businesses cut back on many services, including mail, to its customers. In this harsh economic environment, the PAEA pre-funding mandate kicked in when all businesses in the U.S. suffered due to the wild speculation on Wall Street.

So, when the United States had it’s most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression of 1929, Congress forced USPS to begin paying $5.5 billion – $5.8 billion a year. The timing for this poison pill to undermine the financial health of USPS was just amazing. You would think that perhaps Congress would then rescind this horrible prefunding mandate because no corporate or public institution has ever had to prefund 75 years out in a mere 10 years. Yet, some in Congress, who never bothered to put their names to the PAEA bill because it was passed in the middle of the night on a voice vote, decided that USPS could handle this massive prefunding mandate. Are you with me? Doesn’t this sound absurd to you?

Yes, it is a deliberate poison pill and it has been used to claim USPS is bankrupt and must slash jobs (Postmaster General Donahoe has cut 300,000 jobs since 2006), close 3700 post offices and consolidate processing centers.

Basically, PMG Donahoe decided to “right-size” (their special buzz word for selling off their historic already paid-for post offices and other postal buildings) and sell off America’s infrastructure of beautiful post offices. The real estate organization tasked with this is C. B. Richard Ellis Real Estate company. One of the largest real estate companies in the United States.

According to a recent interview with Mr. Cliff Guffey, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), on the Ed Show, the U.S. government is deliberately raiding the USPS $45 billion prepaid retiree health plans to get extra money for other purposes in case the Congress decides not to raise the debt ceiling–for example. This is happening while Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe guts the infrastructure of USPS by selling off historic post offices throughout the United States together with many New Deal era post office murals.

What You Can Do

Tell President Obama and Congress to reverse the prefunding mandate and stop the sell off of our historic post offices and art. Stop the Postal Heist going on by those who want the real estate for their own profiteering. Stop the Postal Heist designed to undermine the entire U.S. Postal Service, union jobs, and infrastructure. Stop the Postal Heist to privatize our precious postal service by those who fail to understand the need for public services like USPS. Even though USPS takes no tax dollars, it is still in our constitution and it is a public service, a public good and should be saved from privatization by those who have tried to do this for decades.

Meanwhile, on the SavethePostOffice.com blog, please check out this great new article, “Betrayal without remedy: The unwinding of the Postal Service,” by Mark Jamison.

“The Postal Service is supposed to serve the entire country, but that certainly hasn’t stopped the companies and industries that see themselves as the primary stakeholders in the postal system from demanding a more corporatized structure and mission that will serve their narrow interests.”

“That’s not the real story, though, and it never has been.  The real story is just beginning to come into focus: The leadership of the Postal Service, using the laws already in place, is engaged in their version of that most American of economic phenomena — the leveraged buyout.”

We must save our U.S. Postal Service for present and future generations.

The Travesty of the Relocation of the New Deal Era Ukiah CA Post Office and Mural

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What Happened to the Ukiah California New Deal Era Post Office and Mural? Despite outcries from thousands of people in Ukiah, the USPS sold its beautiful New Deal Era post office through a “relocation” rule. The people of Ukiah are … Continue reading