Pitney Bowes pays lawmakers to push privatizing Post Office

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Pitney Bowes seems to be promoting a reckless and astoundingly flawed plan to privatize every part of the Postal Service except mail delivery. This reckless plan was brought up years ago by the Libertarian Cato Institute but was quickly dismissed. Yet the idea has been reintroduced recently. Why would this plan be suddenly creating interest in DC at this time? It's simple: follow the money.

Under this plan, financed by Pitney Bowes, the entire Postal Service would become a series of private companies that would process and transport the mail to your US Postal Service Letter Carrier who would deliver it. The rational of this misguided plan is that they can eliminate hundreds of thousands of good union middle-class jobs and replace them with low wage and benefit challenged employees. Then disguise it by still having your trusted Letter Carrier bring it to your door.

This Postal Service is easily the most trusted Government Agency in America. So Pitney Bowes and its extremist colleagues in DC figure they can't privatize the entire Postal Service, as Mitt Romney wanted to do, instead they will keep the public face of our nations most trusted agency and have employees paid at the Walmart level process the mail. Corporate America daily underestimates the intelligence of the American people but this seems to be extreme even by their standards.

How can people feel secure placing their most important documents into a mail system run by a shadowy workforce? The Postal Service goes to extremes in keeping people's mail private, safe and secure. Undoubtedly this new private mail processing company would not do the same.

Pitney Bowes has contributed the maximum $17,500 campaign contribution to one congressional candidate in its history. To no surprise the recipient was Congressman Darryl Issa, R-Calif., in 2012. Also keep in mind Issa also received $17,500 from UPS.

Mr. Issa whose extremist views on dismantling the Postal Service are well known. His Government Oversight Committee has blocked any postal reform legislation other than his own HR 2309. Another major recipient of thousands of dollars from Pitney Bowes is Dennis Ross, R-Calif., who was the only co-sponsor of the union busting HR 2309. Interestingly, Ross' 2nd biggest campaign contributor is UPS with $15,000 in 2012. This picture seems clear that these people want the Postal Service eliminated for their own gain and anti-union agenda.

Advocates for this Pitney Bowes study stress that private companies "can fulfill other tasks in the postal network and do so at a lower cost and with greater efficiency and innovation and without political and regulatory interference."

Lets look at the facts: The Postal Service has the least expensive rates in the industrial world and their protection of the mail is unrivaled. The Postal Service has not been able to invest more in innovation because it is saddled with a 2006 congressional mandate that the Postal Service make annual $5.5 billion payments into a retirement benefits fund for future employees who are not even born yet. No agency or business, public or private is required to make such a payment.

Why not simply let the Postal Service survive without any " political and regulatory interference"? I am sure no replacement private company is going to fund retiree costs 75 years into the future like the USPS is required by Congress to do. Most likely this replacement company will offer no retiree benefits whatsoever.

So Pitney Bowes is funding this " study" that is the going to be officially released in full in a few months. Its release will coincide with the debt ceiling negotiations. What better time to attempt to sneak this ridiculous plan into law. Only in the world of extremist politics and right-wing think tanks would an idea like this seem credible. Pitney Bowes should save their money as their CEO who made $9,230,798 last year is retiring soon and will undoubtedly need a golden parachute on his way out the door.

Bill Brickley is a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, serving on the NH Letter Carrier Executive Board as CD1 Legislative Liaison.

This article is reposted from the NH Labor News.

 Photo: From "Life of a Letter Carrier," NALC Facebook page.

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Comments

  • America needs to wake up... Business and mostly Republicans are underminding the working class. No matter what religion or political party you're from.. You need to put our differences aside for our jobs and the future generation. United we stand or divided we fall?

    Posted by Alberto R. Fonseca, 07/23/2013 6:17am (12 months ago)

  • We need the post office.

    Posted by Carol Ahearn , 01/28/2013 6:04pm (1 year ago)

  • I love the post office. Pitney Bowes - not so much. Just think of the level of aggravation from your copier, compared to the pleasure of receiving letters from your letter carrier. Keep your ink stained hands off our public postal service Pitney Bowes!

    Posted by bobbie, 01/27/2013 12:21am (1 year ago)

  • I was a former worker for Pitney Bowes, resigning in disgust in Jan. 2011, but because of an unresolvable situation charcterized by a toxic work environment.

    After reading Brinkley's article, I'm now two times, three times, four times as glad that I'm out of there. While there, I sensed PB behaving like a typical monopoly corporation, i.e., the "need to be competitive," because of cheap labor, having changed the medical plan for workers where it was getting to a point of the latter spending more but getting less (but done in a kinder and gentler manner).

    Of course, PB doesn't want to get the jist of what's happening ideologically: Corporations decide to take jobs out of the U.S. (not workers), desiring the paying of lower wages, etc.

    There has been a concerted effort, of course, to lower U.S. wages through a kind of economic blackmail. ("If you don't take the position, we'll find someone else who will.") The U.S. Post Office DOES NOT need to be privatized, having been effective in dealing with mail for many years.

    PB's claims of being more effective at this task can be effectively challenged, especially regarding workers' wages, health care, and unions. PB's saying is "follow the mailstream." Their recent behavoir proves the obvious: follow the moneystream.

    Posted by revolution123, 01/25/2013 3:10pm (1 year ago)

  • No privatization of any government agency.

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 01/18/2013 2:23pm (1 year ago)

  • The campaign contribution numbers in this article don't match the data when you follow the links.

    Posted by Pete, 01/15/2013 3:53pm (1 year ago)

  • The plan may be even more cynical than you portray since its preference for keeping delivery as part of the public role of the Postal Service seems predicated on the current state of reform. Reading the white paper one is easily struck by the idea that it wouldn't be long until those advocating this plan and others like it came back and argued for privatization of the delivery system as well.
    The PMG and the BOG have undermined the mail processing and retail networks over the last couple of years. Their next target will be the delivery network. The consequences of all this are pretty frightening.

    http://www.savethepostoffice.com/what-price-profit-battle-soul-postal-service

    Posted by Mark Jamison, 01/15/2013 10:37am (1 year ago)

  • There is a minor error in the article. Dennis Ross is a representative from Florida, rather than california as stated in the article.

    Posted by Liam Skye, 01/15/2013 8:13am (1 year ago)

  • Thanks for the article.

    The Post Office is already a mostly privatized agency like PBS, and what remains is to remove its legislated monopoly status in certain areas of mails, not sell it off the Pitney Bowes--which was hardly the CATO plan either.The CATO plan of de-monopolized communications has been adopted by many countries, not promptly 'dismissed' as claimed.

    Pro-Libertarians are ending the coerced government monopolies, but that is not the same as selling the public trusts to corporate groups.

    For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org ....

    Posted by robert, 01/14/2013 7:10pm (1 year ago)

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