Evidence keeps mounting that the U.S. Postal Service is planning to go private and wants to do so as secretly as possible.
Last July the National Labor Relations Board ruled that The USPS’s contract to sell postal products through Staples office product stores is illegal.
Now the American Postal Workers Union, which brought the complaint to the NLRB says it has unearthed a “secret memo” that the U.S. Postal Service has formulated plans to privatize itself and do destructive things like eliminate more and more post offices. This development reportedly came up during proceedings before the board http://www.apwu.org/news/web-news-article/secret-document-exposes-usps-privatization-planning. Of course, an outside consultant advised taking this action.
But so what?
Even if this secret memo exists, does it expose anything that hasn’t been painfully obvious for at least the past half-decade?
In 2011, then-Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe unveiled plans to begin closing post offices and postal distribution facilities in an effort to save money and cut out inefficiencies in its workings.
That grand scheme, which also called the shuttering of 82 new distribution facilities on top of the 141 closed in the past five years–has run into serious roadblocks.
Last year, several Senators led by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan about how much these closings hurt people in rural locations http://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=3766.. After that the postal service tabled those closings until next May.
As it was downsizing its physical plant, the USPS began selling or at least trying to unload, post offices and distribution facilities to private real estate developers some of which were politically well connected.
Since then the USPS has been able to sell off many but has often met with fierce local resistance, particularly in places like Berkeley, CA and others.
The alleged leak of this memo at the NLRB hearing comes at the same time as the Senate Government Reform and Operations Committee began holding hearings on iPost, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) about reforming the financially floundering USPS which lost $5.1 billion for the year ended Sept. 30 http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2015/pr15_060.htm.
The primary driver of this loss is the more than $5.8 billion payment the postal service must make to prefund the healthcare expenses of future retirees until nearly the end of this century.
Carper’s well-intentioned bill only calls for the gradual elimination of this monstrosity, not its immediate repeal which would really restore he USPS to financial health.
Question is, will Congress do anything before the election when conservative Republicans expect to win really big. But judging from the party’s antics thus far such an outcome is far from certain.