It’s National Thank a Mail Carrier Day! Tell Congress to strengthen the U.S. Postal Service

Updated 2/10/21

Minimal script for call: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep./Sen [___] to celebrate “Thank a Mail Carrier Day” by:

  • Passing this year’s bipartisan version of the USPS Fairness Act. [Rep. – H.R.695/Sen. – S.145] (removes the onerous burden of pre-funding retirement.)
  • Ensuring the quick appointment of strong and diverse public service advocates to the USPS Board of Governors who can vote out DeJoy. (Currently, the 6-member board has no Black or women members.)
  • Returning postal banking, and adding other financial services like check-cashing, that help poorer communities.
  • Ensuring that the Postal Service continues to provide good jobs for workers, including Black workers, workers without bachelor’s degrees, and military veterans.
  • Opposing any privatization and outsourcing of USPS services.

Email template to legislators from EPI: here.

Contacts

  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email,DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com
  • Rep.-check for H.R.695 here. Brownley and Carbajal both are cosponsors.
  • Sen.-check for S.145 here. Feinstein is already a cosponsor, Padilla not yet.

Deeper Dive from Economic Policy Institute

(Save the Post Office) DeJoy’s 57 Varieties of Cost Cutting: What’s in the new OIG report—and what’s not?

  • The report discusses the Postal Service’s plan to eliminate 64 million work hours — the equivalent of 33,000 jobs — by implementing 57 cost-cutting initiatives. As discussed in this previous post, the plan represents one of the largest downsizing efforts in the 50-year history of the Postal Service.
  • These 57 “Do It Now FY Strategies” include restrictions on overtime, late and extra trips from processing centers, and all the other cost-cutting measures that have caused the delivery delays we’ve seen since July. 
  • The Postal Service’s Work Hour Reduction target includes a “Collection Box Optimization” initiative to remove over 7,400 collection boxes during each quarter of FY 2021, for a total of nearly 30,000 boxes. That’s twice as many as it has removed since the beginning of FY 2015, and it is over 21 percent of the total number of boxes (140,000).
  •  The plan includes reducing window hours at nearly 12,000 Level 18 and Level 20 post offices, a total reduction of 5.83 million work hours. That would mean closing for lunch — probably for longer than an hour — and perhaps earlier in the day as well.
  • Complaints for lack of access caused by reduced hours would be addressed by sending them to private businesses. “Alternate Access points (CPU, Approved Shippers, CMRAs),” which suggests that customers will be advised that if they can’t get to the post office when the window is open they can always go somewhere else to do their postal business.”

(Economic Policy Institute) It’s National Thank a Mail Carrier Day: Tell Congress to strengthen the U.S. Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service plays a critical role in our economy—and our democracy. The Biden administration and Congress must act swiftly to protect and strengthen this critical public service.

The Postal Service is still digging out from under an avalanche of mail from the holiday season, a problem caused by two key factors:

  • COVID-19 and its impact on the workforce at a time when mail volume surged.
  • Mismanagement under the Trump administration, spurred by the president’s opposition to mail voting and his animus toward Amazon, a major USPS customer. (Amazon’s CEO owns the Washington Post, whose coverage was critical of the Trump administration.)

Slow mail isn’t the fault of postal workers—it’s the result of sabotage. The Trump administration revived attacks on the Postal Service by anti-government ideologues and special interests who have long sought to privatize, shrink, or destroy it. The administration explored privatization options and installed a new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, who implemented cost-cutting measures that damaged the Postal Service’s reputation for on-time delivery and threatened the integrity of the November election. 

The USPS board currently has three vacancies. President Biden should waste no time in filling vacancies with strong Postal Service advocates, including another vacancy that will open up in December. The new leadership and Congress should work together to loosen constraints on the Postal Service that limit its ability to fulfill its public service mission and prevent it from expanding into new areas to meet unmet needs, including the revival of postal banking. 

recent report from the Economic Policy Institute states, “The social value of the Postal Service extends beyond the economic benefits provided by its delivery operations. It connects family and friends, fosters democracy, and is a key part of our emergency and national security infrastructure.”

It’s critical that the Postal Service continues to perform these essential functions for generations to come. To do this, the Biden administration and Congress need to untie the straitjacket that hinders its ability to fulfill its public service mission, including expanding services.

The Postal Service is bound by legislative and regulatory constraints that limit what it can charge for mail delivery, saddle it with unnecessary costs, and prevent it from expanding into new areas. Loosening these constraints would allow the Postal Service to meet unmet needs and to offset costs associated with maintaining a network of post offices and delivery routes. The high level of public trust in the Postal Service and its brick-and-mortar presence in all but the smallest communities are assets that would allow it to successfully expand the financial and other services offered. This would offer a lifeline to the one in five mostly low-income adults, many living in rural areas and other “banking deserts” not served by traditional financial institutions, who resort to using check cashing outlets, payday lenders, and other predatory services at an average cost of $2,400 per year.

Together, we call on Congress to: 

  • Work with the Biden administration to ensure the speedy appointment of strong public service advocates to the USPS Board of Governors.
  • Loosen constraints on the Postal Service and expand its mission to include a return to postal banking, a service that existed in the United States from 1911 until 1967 and that currently serves people in numerous countries including Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
  • Ensure that the Postal Service can continue to provide good jobs for workers, particularly Black workers, workers without bachelor’s degrees, and military veterans who especially benefit from Postal Service employment. 
  • Oppose privatization and outsourcing caused by high “workshare” discounts for mail that has been processed or transported closer to its destination. These lucrative discounts, the fruit of intense lobbying by corporations, enrich low-wage employers at the expense of the Postal Service and its workers.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” 

Those words are carved into the facade of a post office in New York city, and the phrase has become the unofficial postal worker motto. 

By strengthening the U.S. Postal Service and expanding its mission, we can take strides to address racial justice, create good jobs, and provide millions of people with a trustworthy, affordable, and accessible banking option.   

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