Word came last week that nearly all the U.S. Postal Service facility closures have been put on hold until next April.
This action came after a number of U.S. Senators led by John Tester (D-MT) sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan earlier this year. They complained that the USPS closures and new more lax delivery standards are disproportionately hurting people in rural areas http://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=3766.
Maybe the USPS is finally beginning to get it. Or, more likely, it’s reacting to growing pressure not only from the Senate but business people as well.
Postal service management still apparently can’t see the ill will it’s creating from these shutterings. Or maybe they don’t care as they seem to have insulation from a conservative corporatist Congress and other political operatives that want to degrade the nation’s oldest public institution with an eye toward eventual privatization.
Certainly slower deliveries brought about from the USPS’s new standards are pissing people off. Once upon a time, one could expect mail sent from far-off locations in the country to arrive within three days. But now that only happens about 63% of the time, according to Omaha.com http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/u-s-postal-service-delivery-times-lag-more-than-expected/article_3d184144-3097-591c-801f-0f2026fcdc35.html.
So much for the postal service’s long-standing promise of universal and timely service, no matter the weather.
It’s one thing to cut services for residential customers. Who cares about them? But these slowdowns are affecting businesses also. You might think businesses would have more money, power and influence to fight the facility closures and diminished delivery standards.
At the same time, don’t think for a minute the USPS is done with closing facilities, especially local post offices. Keep in mind its desire of sell post offices to commercial real estate interests across the country. Abetting this movement is Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) whose husband, Richard Blum, is chairman of CBRE, the real estate giant. The firm has a contract with the postal service to sell off its properties without competitive bidding.
Question: what’s gonna happen if these real estate companies cannot make enough money from taking over post offices?
The USPS or other public agencies could well end up taking them back.
What happened to passenger railroads in this country provides a cautionary tale. When they were no longer profitable, their operations fell into the hands of both the federal and local governments such as Amtrak and myriad local and state authorities.
Nobody sane is going to deny the need for rail and other forms of mass transit in our ever-urbanizing society. So what if they can no longer make any money?
The parallels with the USPS are striking.
Right now, it’s anybody’s guess what the postal service might do about plant shutterings in the middle of the 2016 Presidential election year when they are supposedly scheduled to resume.