Friday, November 14, 2014

America's Postal Workers Host National Day of Action

Rochester, NY area postal workers and their allies attend a press conference on a National Day of Action, Nov. 14, 2014. Photo by Ove Overmyer, © 2014
By Ove Overmyer

November 14, 2014-- Postal workers in Rochester and across the country came together today for a “National Day of Action” to tell Post Master General (PMG) Patrick R. Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America's Mail! However, in a stunning development, news broke late today the Post Master General is stepping down from the $276,840 a year post on February 1, 2015. Donahoe has served the postal service for 39 years, and began his stint as PMG in October of 2010.

This news is little consolation and comfort to area postal workers, who this summer at a national convention voted “no confidence” in Donahoe. At the Rochester, NY press conference today on 30 N. Union Street, local leaders called on the USPS Board of Governors to immediately freeze Donohue’s policies so they could do no more harm to the American people. To see photos from the press conference, you can go here.

“While we are encouraged by this development of the PMG stepping down, we are not celebrating,” said Jim Bertolone, President of the American Postal Workers Union, Local 215. Bertolone also doubles as the President of the Rochester & Genesee Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and Rochester Labor Council. He added, “On January 5, the USPS is slated to lower service standards to virtually eliminate overnight delivery—including first class mail from one address to another in the same city, town or village. This would be devastating to our local economy and to our local communities.”

Bertolone went on to say that all mail throughout the entire country will be delayed—including necessary medicines, local newspapers, bill payments and more. And also beginning in January 2015, the USPS plans to close or consolidate 82 distribution centers.

Postal workers and the four national unions that represent the workers say these cuts will cause irreparable hardships for customers, slow economic growth and lead to massive schedule changes and reassignments for federal employees.

The four American postal unions are joining forces to protect service, fight for their livelihoods, and defend our great national treasure-- the U.S. Postal Service. Bertolone mentioned that the postal workers and their many allies in the fight against the proposed changes include more than fifty U.S. Senators and more than 160 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Nov. 14 date was selected for the Day of Action because it coincides with the USPS Board of Governors’ last public meeting of 2014. Today, the board released the USPS financial reports for the fiscal year, and undoubtedly once again bemoaned “billions of dollars in losses.”

In fact, the USPS has earned more than $1 billion in profit from operations this year. The “losses” are the result of a bogus pre-funding requirement and have nothing to do with the cost of collecting, sorting and delivering mail.

The unions say the cuts are not inevitable. The American people must engage their federal lawmakers and advocate for strengthening our United States Postal System—and not dismantle it for the benefit of vulture capitalists who want to privatize public services.

To learn more on how you can help restore postal service in your region, please visit this website here

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