Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
Tucsonans turned out in force last week to support postal worker jobs and protect the Cherrybell mail processing plant from closure.
Inside the Leo Rich Theater, a capacity crowd of more than 500 citizens listened to United States Postal Service (USPS) representative Brian McCoy’s dog and pony show touting plant closures and layoffs as the path to financial solvency for the USPS.
Outside, representatives from Jobs with Justice, Occupy Tucson, and unions chanted, waved protest signs and signed a petition to save local mail processing.
The main reason the post office is going broke isn’t the Internet or the number of postal workers, it’s the Congressional mandate requiring them to pre-pay employee retirement. Last fiscal year, the USPS lost $5.1 billion. During the same time period, they had a $6.9 billion surplus in the Federal Employee Retirement Fund.
Closing 250 mail processing plants nationwide and laying off 35,000 workers won’t solve this structural problem.
Moving from one-day delivery of local mail to two- to three-day delivery of local mail (as proposed by the USPS) won’t make the postal service more competitive; it will further decrease the use of first class mail and could lead to more calls for privatization.
Trucking mail from the city of origin to a regional processing plant and back again isn’t environmentally friendly and could be cost-prohibitive in the future.
For more details on the meeting and background on the postal service’s financial woes, check out my article in the Huffington Post: Occupy the Post Office? Tucson Postal Workers, Supporters, Fight Back Against Threatened Job Cuts.
More “missing the point” from the jobless. It wasn’t about “Occupy” it was about “Wall Street.” Occupy-Tucson is nothing meaningful.
They didn’t “protect” anything against closure. They just made lots of noise (and smell). The post office is doing what it’s supposed to do – that’s what contracts are for. Those same contracts require it to contribute to a retirement fund that one day will provide for the same people who are employed today. Whoops, I guess that doesn’t include anyone in Occupy-anything.
Sorry, I’m part of the 99% who have jobs. We’re not Wall Street. We’re not homeless hippies in a tent city in a public park.
Good video Pam of the protest rally & march through downtown Tucson, and at the USPS public hearing, where the 500 plus audience members were opposed to the closing of the Cherrybell processing center. My family still sends greetings cards, Christmas cards, packages to family members as far away as Hawaii & New Zealand, and even Europe. And we just mailed via first class our protest letter about this closing, which is due by 1/12/12 to USPS. I’ll link my blog for the mailing address in Phoenix :http://tucsoncitizen.com/community/2011/12/27/snail-mail-could-get-even-slower-public-hearing-about-proposed-closing-of-cherrybell-post-office-processing-center-on-1228/
Right wing tea party nuts in Congress refuse to address the simple fix because their ultimate aim is to close the USPS.
Let’s see here: Occupy Tucson is “”Pro-Raza” which means pro open borders and lots of illegals crossing the border willing to work for less than minimum wage…and open borders and more people competing for the same number of jobs which is is anti decent working wage for the union working man….
Gosh, life is pretty complex when you lack any sort of reason or intellectual consistancy.
“Pro-Raza”? Occupy is “pro people.”
This is one of the most frustrating parts of the Occupy movement. Just like leftists would take the most ridiculous racist things that a Tea Party movement participant said and turn it into their view of the movement, the right is now taking soundbites of the most insane Occupiers and using it to discount the entire thing.
The worst part is, at the core of each movement, the purpose is to take corporate greed, lobbying, pork barrel spending to appease contributors, etc. out of politics.
Left wing liberal party nuts refuse to address the understanding that the credit cards are maxed, the middle class in taxed to their eyeballs, and the US economy can no longer support the constant freeloading that has been the standard for many years now.
It’s over kids! Get a grip on the reality of the situation or it’s going to collapse around you, just like the USPS has.
“…the US economy can no longer support the constant freeloading that has been the standard for many years now.”
Yeah, all you folks out there working sixty hours a week just to put Dinty Moore on the table will have to stop freeloading, buckle down and work harder. No more free ride for you!
The USPS retirement fund situation is pretty much the standard, across-the-board situation encountered everywhere now-millions or billions in surplus while the entity itself is functionally bankrupt (google CAFR for details). This means that we are being lied to by our leaders (big surprise, I know..), who slash services, pleading poverty while stashing away the excess for their golden parachutes. Check out Bell, California for a perfect example.
The bottom line is that we, as taxpayers, need to go to the government entities and demand to see the full Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) they are required to publish, not the annotated versions excluding the pension fund profits they keep to show to the general public. If enough people or the papers actually did that, their game would be up.
Actually, from what I have heard on NPR, the USPS is required to fund retirement much differently from its competitors or any other business.
The 2006 Congress that passed that legislation was 100% Republican controlled. Their goal was and is to privatize the postal service.
I think they should raise the rates on junk mail. Look at your mailbox. What percentage is first class? By far most of what we receive is bulk mail. Why then does the postal service rely on first class to “pay the bills”?
Excellent questions and implied answers I heartily agree with. You are also correct that Republicans seek to privatize the postal service-so, too, do a fair amount of Democrats (go look up the record on the vote), given that they are subservient to the same financial interests. Your mistake comes in believing this to be a left vs. right issue when it’s an issue of right vs. wrong.
Despite what you heard on NPR, the post office is no more or less dependent on pension fund investment for retirement than any other governmental entity. The fact that said investments are running a surplus while simultaneously pleading poverty should be a red flag to anyone looking into the matter. The further fact that all other pension funds, private or public, run the same surpluses while the entities investing in them claim destitution should also be a clue. My point is that since there is obviously a significant profit margin in managing these pools of money above and beyond the costs of paying the pensioners and administrators, this money should be used for the stability of the entities investing, not vacuumed up by greedy bankers, CEOs and politicians.