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Written by Bill Brickley for the NH Labor News
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The United States Postal Service is the most efficient mail delivery business in the world. A study by Oxford Strategic Consulting released earlier this year surveying the Postal Service's of the 20th most advanced countries and it stated the US Postal Service is the most efficient in the world. Add to the fact that this is done without a dime of tax payer money and is even more impressive.

I would fully expect the Manchester Union Leader to cite American Exceptional-ism and congratulate the USPS on a job well done. The Postal Service is an example on how a business can withstand the worst recession in our lifetime as well as soaring gas prices and pretty much break even delivering the mail for the past 5 years. While also providing a government service and keeping millions of Americans connected, its a vital part of Americas infrastructure.

Starting in 2007, a short-sighted mandate from a Lame Duck Congress has required the Postal Service to set aside, in just 10 years, enough money to pay almost all retiree health benefits for the next 75 years ,something no other public agency or private company is required to do. This has cost the Postal Service almost $31 billion since 2007, accounting for more than 85% of its red ink during this period.

If that lame duck congress had not placed this unprecedented  burden on the Postal Service there would be no talk of USPS having financial problems. It's that simple. Congress placed this unfair burden on the USPS and Congress can remove it.

Amazingly the Manchester Union Leader stated "The Senate approved a bill to give the agency $11 Billion in cash by refunding payments made to a federal pension fund" In reality the Senate isn't "giving" the USPS anything. The USPS has overpaid over $11 Billion into this fund and just expects its money back. Its not a bail out. The Office of the Inspector General issued a report detailing this as well as outlining the fact the Postal Service has overpaid $75 Billion into another retirement fund. There is a bi-partisan bill currently before Congress HR 1351, USPS Pension Reform Bill with over 230 co-sponsors, including Charlie Bass, that would address the Postal Service over-funding their pensions. Congressman Issa for purely ideological reasons has refused to allow the House of Representatives to vote on this.

The US Postal Service has the 2nd lowest postal rates in the Industrialized world. Making it a bargain! The Postal Service does this with 200,000 fewer employees than it had 10 years ago. Of the remaining workforce over 20% of the employees are veterans.

Why is the Postal Service under attack by the Manchester Union Leader? Could it be that because the Postal Service is arguably the most efficient and most popular part of the Federal Government.  Pew Research has shown that the US Postal Service has a favor-ability rating of83% easily the highest among government agencies. Add to this that the Ponemon Institute has the Postal Service ranked as the most trusted federal agency for the 6th consecutive year.

The Postal Service delivers over 30% of Fed Ex Ground shipments add to this a significant portion of UPS parcels and you can see both these businesses realize the Postal Service is the most affordable way to get parcels delivered. The Postal Service is looking to expand on this "last mile program" with Fed Ex and UPS. Congress also has to rescind the restrictions placed on it during the 2006 lame duck and allow the Postal Service to explore expanding into other services. Also Congress should allow the Postal Service greater flexibility in setting rates. This will allow the Postal Service to continue to be affordable and efficient into the future.

This newspaper seems threatened by the fact that a unionized federal workforce, whose productivity is at an all time high, can be among the best examples of what a real, modern and affordable business looks like.


About Bill Brickley
Bill is a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, serving on the NH Letter Carrier Executive Board as CD1 Legislative Liaison. Also serves on the NH AFL-CIO Executive Board. Former NH Area Coordinator Amnesty International and NH Labor News Blogger Follow him on twitter @BillBrickley

10:06 AM PT: Sorry the link to the Union Leaders editorial did not connect right. Here is the link


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