Postal Workers launch campaign against Trump administration’s privatization of Postal Service

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Postal workers and union supporters protest against the Trump administration’s proposal to privatize the U.S. Postal Service during last month’s American Postal Workers Union convention in Pittsburgh. – Tribune-Review photo

Senator McCaskill leading the charge

Pittsburgh (PAI) – Anticipating the GOP Trump administration will propose privatizing the U.S. Postal Service – eliminating services and killing well-paid union jobs – the Postal Workers (APWU) has launched a mass campaign to derail the scheme.

The APWU announced the campaign on the second day of the union’s convention, and has picked up strong support from a bipartisan group of senators, spearheaded by Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who have put forth a resolution to block the Trump administration from moving forward with its plans to privatize the Postal Service.

The Senate resolution follows a House resolution that was introduced this summer and notes the USPS already does not receive taxpayer funds, employs more than 500,000 workers, plays a critical role in the growing e-commerce industry and enjoys high favorability ratings, in suggesting the Postal Service remain “an independent establishment of the federal government and not subject to privatization.”

‘BATTLE OF OUR LIFETIMES’

We are facing the battle of our lifetimes,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said. “Last month the White House Office of Management and Budget dropped the bombshell proposing to totally sell-off and privatize the public postal service. These troubling and stormy times underscore that those in power mean business and think their time is now to seize the $70 billion of postal public revenue for their private profit!” Dimondstein said.

Trump has called USPS’ current business plan “unsustainable,” as shown by billions of dollars in yearly red ink – caused mainly by a $5.6 billion yearly GOP-Congress-mandated Postal Service pre-payment of future retirees’ health care costs.

Without that spending – unique to USPS – the Postal Service runs in the black. With it, it runs in the red, giving the Trump administration and GOP majority Congress an excuse to advocate ending the USPS as a public but independent agency.

NEW PATH FORWARD

The solution that APWU, the Letter Carriers and the Mail Handlers-Laborers offer is to let the USPS enter new lines of business – like postal banking – and to eliminate the pre-payment mandate.

“Sisters and brothers, privatization threats are not new,” Dimondstein said “But we have never faced outright plans to sell the entire Post Office, destroying the democratic right of the people to universal service, reasonable rates, and aimed at annihilating our union and decent postal jobs. Postal privatization is about the profits of a few at the expense of the many – period!”

Dimondstein laid most of the blame at the feet of “billionaire-backed think tanks like the right-wing Heritage Foundation, with extensive influence in this White House,” and congressional Republicans, who imposed the health care pre-funding mandate on USPS in 2006.

But he didn’t let the Democrats off the hook, criticizing influential “party functionary” Robert Shapiro and 2016 Democratic convention heavyweight Elaine Kamarck, a Hillary Clinton delegate, by name for pushing privatization, too.

“Since the people need and trust the public Postal Service and postal workers, the path for the privatizers is through what I call the ‘Four Ds,’” Dimondstein said.

• Defunding, refers to the health care pre-funding mandate,

• Degrading services by cutting delivery frequencies and shuttering post offices,

• Demonizing the workers and then, after all that,

• Dismantling USPS with privatization.

Then the APWU president added a fifth positive “D” of his own.

“The fat cats always underestimate the power of the 99 percent,” he said. “Their attacks present a great opportunity to educate and unite with the people, defend this wonderful national treasure and DEFEAT our enemies,” he declared.

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