Outrage of day: Republicans vote to end door-to-door mail delivery

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Millions of Americans would no longer get mail delivered to their door but would have to go to communal or curbside boxes instead under a proposal advancing through Congress.

The Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on an 18-13 party-line vote, approved a bill Wednesday to direct the U.S. Postal Service to convert 15 million addresses over the next decade to the less costly, but also less convenient delivery method.

Democrats objected to the plan, and efforts in recent years to win its adoption have failed.

"I think it's a lousy idea," Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said. Other lawmakers said it wouldn't work in urban areas where there's no place on city streets to put banks of "cluster boxes" with separate compartments for each address. People with disabilities who have difficulty leaving their homes could get waivers, and people who still want delivery to their door could pay extra for it - something Lynch derided as "a delivery tax."

The measure falls far short of a comprehensive overhaul most officials agree is needed to solve the postal service's financial problems. The committee's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., acknowledged that at the outset but said it "provides an interim opportunity to achieve some significant cost savings."

Converting to communal or curbside delivery would save $2 billion annually, Issa said, quoting from estimates that door delivery costs $380 annually per address compared with $240 for curbside and $170 for centralized methods. He said less than 1 percent of all addresses nationwide would undergo a delivery change annually and that communal boxes offer a safe, locked location for packages, doing away with the need for carriers to leave packages on porches and subject to theft and bad weather.

According to the postal unions, the biggest fraud being perpetrated on the American public is the idea that the U.S. Postal Service is going broke. In fact, the Postal Service is making a $1 billion operating profit in the first six months of its fiscal year. The National Association of Letter Carriers pointed out that the Postal Service has been turning an operating profit since October of 2012.

(People's World hosted a Google Hangout with National Association of Letter Carriers activist John Dick, who recently won that union's Humanitarian Award, and American Postal Workers Union local President Roscoe Woods. We urge you to watch and share with your friends, co-workers and family. Story continues after video.)

Associate Press reports that postal officials have asked repeatedly for comprehensive legislation giving them more control over personnel and benefit costs and more flexibility in pricing and products. Though various legislative proposals have been advanced, Congress has not been able to agree on a bill with broad changes.

"Lawmakers should fix what they broke, not break what's working," National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said, referring to a 2006 law that requires the Postal Service to prefund its retiree health benefits. Meeting that requirement accounts for the bulk of the postal service's red ink. He said the Oversight Committee's bill is "irresponsible ... bad for the American public, bad for businesses, bad for the economy and bad for the U.S. Postal Service."

Photo: Letter carrier moving boxes of mail into his truck to begin delivery at a post office in Seattle. Elaine Thompson/AP

 

 

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  • Wow...as we recognize the potential of America becoming a Third World Nation...with class injustice, unemployment for millions, inadequate health services, wages disparity, violence in the streets and faltering schools....now this.....no more house toi house mail delivery.
    Guess what folks?
    I've lived in countries without a good and reliable postal service...it's the mark of failure to the citizenry!

    observer Jules

    Posted by jules, 05/28/2014 11:14pm (4 months ago)

  • Email has replaced snail mail. It is a fact.

    I have delivery to a community installation of boxes for a 150-unit townhome neighborhood ... with convenient trash cans to throw away 90%+ of what is delivered unread ... and in the case of enveloped mail, unopened.

    I find a letter I need to read every 2-3 weeks. At most.

    Snail mail is dead.

    The ONLY thing left to do is REQUIRE (by law) that any package service abide by "common carrier" rules and deliver to EVERY address in a state at the same rate as ANY address. There may need to be a regulation that, in essence, cost-shifts letter delivery costs onto package delivery. There might also be disabled, senior and other special low cost rates dictated by law as a condition --a tax, in essence-- for those wanting to have household delivery rights.

    But the idea of keeping the giant postal service apparatus afloat so forests of trees can get massacred so I can get dead-tree spam that forces me to clean out my mail box and drop all --or nearly all-- the individually delivered content into the garbage can is ABSOLUTELY brain dead.

    We can figure out how to fulfill the essential residual social function of snail mail without maintaining this cumbersome apparatus dedicated to delivering spam that is MUCH, MUCH worse for the environment --and more time-consuming for the user--- than even email spam.

    As to the objection to the requirement that retirement and other future benefits be "prefunded," I have no doubt of how ill-intentioned this was meant to be by the Republicans.

    But I think that Republican idea should be the seed for laws that would apply to ALL companies and government entities, and to make that idea stick:

    1) Claims by current employees for compensation (wages & benefits) as well as the requirements of retirement and other future benefits funds should preempt, by law, any and all other corporate obligations. This should be the "senior" debt that MUST be paid before anyone else gets a penny in bankruptcy and similar proceedings.

    2) All employers MUST buy insurance that guarantees 100% fulfillment of current and future employee compensation, including retirement funding.

    3) Failure to do so will be a criminal offense not just by the corporation. ALL members of the board of directors, CEO's, CFO's, CTO's and similar would automatically face criminal and civil liability in the case of a shortfall. . The criminal liability would be for a failure to make sure that such insurance was not just in place but adequate; in other words, it would be a crime for anyone to serve in these positions UNLESS they made sure such catastrophe-proof insurance was in place.

    4) ALL members of the boards of directors, top executive officers, etc., would have their full faith and credit, i.e., their entire wealth or patrimony, liable for seizure should the insurance fail to provide absolutely 100% of the promised benefits.

    5) And there should be automatic clawbacks to dividend, interest and executive compensation above the salary of the President of the United States for as far back as necessary to make good those obligations to workers.

    * * *

    Saying that "pre-funding" is unnecessary is idiotic.

    Contracts that provide for multi-millionaire retirement pensions are a scam by the labor officialdom and the bosses against working people.

    Using conservative actuarial assumptions, the FULL amount of funds necessary to pay future benefits that people under the current contract will be entitled to if they quit the day after the contract ends MUST be guaranteed paid into the fund that finances future benefits by that date.

    PUBLIC EMPLOYEES ESPECIALLY have been persuaded to vote for inferior and even "cutback" contracts on the basis that the workers would get pie in the sky when they die.

    That's a lie.

    Full compensation (including deferred compensation, like pensions) MUST be funded in the term of the current contract under the most conservative generally accepted actuarial calculations.

    If there is a shortfall, those must be fully covered by insurance.

    And if there is a shortfall in that insurance, then every last penny comes out of the hides of directors and executives, shareholders and lenders, past and present. NO CORPORATE "VEIL" should protect capitalists who screw workers out of their promised compensation from jail.

    Posted by Jose G Perez, 05/27/2014 8:05pm (4 months ago)

  • It is not true that those locked communal boxes on the corners are safe from tampering. The one in Gilbert AZ down the street from my parents' house was broken into, and the only copy of the videotape of the wedding of the boxholders was stolen out of it, as well as the rest of the mail.

    Posted by Sue Ann, 05/25/2014 3:24am (4 months ago)

  • We should have known Issa was involved ! He has no shame and could care less about "the people!"

    The post office needs one thing the removal of the 75 year pre-funding of pension strangle hold !

    This is all about the systematic destruction of anything that is not for a profit corporation.

    But they very people that are hurt by the Issa types keep voting the man in !

    Posted by Kenneth Keith, 05/24/2014 9:19am (4 months ago)

  • Eliminate circulars, coupons, credit card offers, and the like and the USPS will save millions.

    Posted by Johnny Roadrash, 05/24/2014 1:42am (4 months ago)

  • I do not agree with this concept. It only gives thieves and meth heads an area for "one stop shopping" when they steal your identity.

    Posted by Vicki Flemetis, 05/24/2014 12:18am (4 months ago)

  • This is really uncalled for! When will you start laying off postal workers? IF ONE PACKAGE GETS TAKEN BY SOMEONE ELSE HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TRACK IT? Tell me REPUBLICANS, don't want their packages delivered to their home, or will this be another service only for the rich! It's time for people to uprise against their elected officials, If only we had organizers who could strike back! Keep it up and there will be a true revolution. Is this what you want?

    Posted by Paulette M Brown, 05/23/2014 7:07pm (4 months ago)

  • When you were a kid stamps were 2cents because the post office was taxpayer subsidies. Since 1970, the USPS receives no tax money. So why does congress insist in passing silly laws to break our backs? Because they want our money! We have been overcharged in our pension fund by $75 billion dollars and they want to fund retiree health care for the next 75 years in 10 years by charging us 6 billion a year. If congress would leave us alone we make money. In the first 6 months of this fiscal year we had a 1 billion dollars in profit. Think about that.

    Posted by mailman mike, 05/23/2014 6:16pm (4 months ago)

  • when I was a child we had 2 times daily mail delivery and it was for 2 cents a letter and 1 cent for a postcard, if you didn't seal the envelope on things like Christmas card they were a penny. and now look at it, we didn't have all that machinery to do the work, it was all done by hand, I have heard every excuse in the books for why it keeps going up and not one thing holds water

    Posted by Beverly Davies, 05/23/2014 9:13am (4 months ago)

  • What has happen to America? They have robbed the money made by the Postal Service and set outrages rules no allowing them to run like any other business. It's time we say no to these idiot ideas and vote against anyone who stands up for them Democrat or Republican.

    Posted by jeff lawson, 05/22/2014 9:04pm (4 months ago)

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