Can Grand Alliance Save the USPS from Destruction?

The American Postal Workers Union and more than 60 other organizations have formed the Grand Alliance (www.agrandalliance.org), an umbrella group to advocate for preserving the U.S. Postal Service

This may be an opening salvo in a strategy to fight back against the forces of the blind greed and destructiveness of the corporate/Republican establishment. They do not care about the destruction they would create as long as a few rich people can profit here.

Other members of this group include the National Council of Churches, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the International Association of Fire Fighters, Alliance for Retired Americans, Greenpeace USA, Vote Vets Action Fund, and the AFL-CIO labor union.

Question is: what substantially can this alliance do besides launch a commercial hosted by actor Danny Glover—whose parents were both postal workers—against the much better funded opposition?

The postal service is still operating in its dysfunctional manner even though it’s showing some improvements in generating revenue and volume.

The USPS reported a 12.8 percent high in holiday season package delivery. The postal service even registered a 3.5 percent increase in standard mail (junk mail) volume http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2015/pr15_010.htm

First-class mail volume dropped 1.1 percent during the quarter. This result fits in with a steady decline in first class that has been going on for many years now. It also serves as a convenient excuse for the USPS to want to cut services because of the growing number of people who now pay their bills electronically.

The USPS continues to run at a loss. The elephant in the room—as it has been for the past eight years–is the more than $5.8 billion a year the postal service must fork over to the U.S. Treasury to cover the healthcare costs of future retirees for the next 75 years. No other federal agency has such an obligation.

It’s way too easy to make cheap jokes about elephants in the room now that the Republicans dominate both houses of Congress. But the temptation is there since it was Republicans—especially Darrel Issa (R-CA). He spearheaded ultimately unsuccessful efforts so far to totally privatize the postal service during the past few years as Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Issa no longer holds that post which is now held by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). But Issa may have helped pave the way for a more thorough yet still gradual dismantling the USPS as we know it.

Chaffetz seems nearly every bit as conservative as Issa although his style may be less combative, according to the Daily Caller http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/16/jason-chaffetz-gearing-up-to-become-houses-top-obama-watchdog/

It doesn’t look like Chaffetz will be too interested in preserving a public postal service.

On the Democratic side, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper plans to reintroduce a bill to help out the USPS as he has for about the past four years. This may end up just as a formality in this hostile legislative environment.

In fact, Congress obviously doesn’t really want to help the USPS survive and thrive. Maybe the Grand Alliance can help move Congress in the right direction. But it’s gonna take a lot of work, fighting spirit and likely a good deal of patience and endurance.

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This entry was posted in Congress, Government Accountabiliy Office, postal facilities, postal finances, U.S. Postal Service and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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