APWU, Federal, Civil Rights Groups Oppose Nominees to USPS Board of Governors

September 30, 2015 APWU, Federal Unions and Civil Rights groups sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid expressing opposition to USPS Board of Governors nominees —particularly James Miller III and Mickey Barnett.

  •  Stephen Crawford (D) was nominated by President Barack Obama  in June 2012 for a term expiring December 8, 2015
  • James Miller, III (R)   was nominated by President Barack Obama in March 2012 for a term expiring December 8, 2017 . Miller was on the Board from 2003-2012.
  • David Michael Bennett (D) was nominated by President Barack Obama on April 23, 2013 for a term expiring December 8, 2018
  • David S. Shapira was nominated by President Barack Obama on October 8, 2014 for a term expiring December 8, 2019

 

APWU, Federal, Civil Rights Groups Oppose Nominees to USPS Board of Governors

In every Senate hearing  regarding the nomination of  James Miller III (R) to the USPS Board of Governors –his views on privatizing USPS has taken center stage? Does Miller still hold the view that USPS should be privatized? Yes and No. During his confirmation hearing Sen. Susan Collins asked Miller if he still holds the view that USPS should be privatized, this is what he said :

jmillerbog

Miller also would like to explore the idea of hiring college students (similar to FedEx) during high peak seasons. And finally, Miller along with Carper would like for USPS to look into expanding the ‘Staples concept’ (this idea was discussed before all of the Staples protests). The plan would pay postmasters of these revamped offices $15 per hour instead of a $50,000 -$60,000 annual salary.

Here is the letter:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to express our opposition to the confirmation of the current slate of nominees to the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

It is our understanding that the Senate will consider as a package the four nominees approved by the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on May 6, 2015. Our organizations are in agreement that it would be preferable to continue with a stripped-down Board of Governors than to fill those vacancies with a slate that includes nominees whose policy stances would be harmful to the USPS and ultimately to the public it serves.

Given the harmful effects of payday lending on the communities we represent, and given the value of and need for a vibrant, public Postal Service that provides affordable, universal mail service to all – including rich and poor, rural and urban, without regard to age, nationality, race, or gender – we are especially troubled by the nominations of Mickey D. Barnett, who has previously worked as a lobbyist for the payday lending industry, and of James C. Miller, III, who dating back at least to his tenure as director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 1985-88, has strongly supported privatizing the Postal Service.

Our opposition to Mr. Barnett’s nomination is based on his work on behalf of the New Mexico Independent Financial Services Association, where Mr. Barnett lobbied policymakers to oppose regulation of the state’s payday loan industry.[i] His efforts included opposing a modest reform bill in New Mexico in 2007 that still allowed 400 percent annual rates on payday loans. He said that at that rate, “I guarantee you they can’t make money.”[ii] Several years later, Mr. Barnett represented the World Finance Corporation of New Mexico, a short-term lender, arguing that a customer was required to seek arbitration of any disputes – in this case, over the company’s misleading and abusive debt collection practices – but that the company itself was not. The Supreme Court of New Mexico unanimously rejected Mr. Barnett’s and his client’s position as unconscionable.[iii]

We are especially concerned about Mr. Barnett’s ties with this industry, in the context of his reappointment, because of the close relationship between the USPS and the communities of color that have been disproportionately affected by payday lending and other predatory forms of credit. Because the USPS is located nationwide in both urban and rural areas, it serves as an important employer in these communities and a potential lifeline to other essential services. It is no surprise that a Gallup poll released in November 2014 shows that Americans deliver high marks to USPS, rated highest out of 13 major federal agencies. [iv] This suggests the public’s willingness to consider the USPS as a potential venue for an array of important financial services. We would be deeply troubled if anyone confirmed to a leadership position within the USPS used that position to promote the sorts of practices we have seen in the payday lending industry, or to block the advancement of alternatives.

Mr. Miller, on the other hand, has been clear about his own troubling preferences for the future of the U.S. Postal Service. As OMB Director in 1988, Miller stated, “There is no good reason why [the Postal Service] should remain part of the U.S. government and no good reason why it should enjoy a monopoly over the delivery of letter mail.”[v]Speaking at his 2012 Senate confirmation hearing on his second nomination to the board, Mr. Miller stated that “I think it would be best for the world, for the economy, and for the American people if the Postal Service was de-monopolized and privatized.”[vi]Our organizations believe that a public Postal Service is vital to our democracy and to commerce. While proponents of privatization point to cost savings and efficiency, recent examples such as the privatization of parking meters in Chicago cast serious doubt on these assertions.[vii]Furthermore, recent studies show that outsourcing government functions lead to a weakened infrastructure, insufficient oversight, crumbling tax bases, and a decline in wages and benefits.[viii]Privatization of our public Postal Service also undermines a fundamental tenet of democracy: a network that allows universal and affordable civic and political discourse, binding together each and every household in the country.

At a time when the future of the USPS is unclear, largely because of Congress’s inability to pass a comprehensive reform bill, it is especially important that the Board of Governors be composed of individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the public service role of this great institution, and who have shown an openness to exploring all reasonable, public service-oriented options which might contribute to the vitality and sustainability of the USPS. Unfortunately, on this basis, we must urge you to reject the current slate of nominees.

Thank you for your consideration of our views. If you have any questions, please contact Rob Randhava, Senior Counsel at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at (202) 466-3311.

Sincerely,

Wade Henderson
President & CEO
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Lee Saunders
President
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Richard Trumka
President
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Mark Dimondstein
President
American Postal Workers’ Union (APWU)

Lisa Donner
Executive Director
Americans for Financial Reform

Hilary Shelton
NAACP Washington Bureau Director &
Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy

Janet Murgía
President & CEO
National Council of La Raza

Mary Kay Henry
President
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Mike Calhoun
President
Center for Responsible Lending

Melanie Campbell
President & CEO
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Marc Morial
President
National Urban League

Source: Oppose the Nominee Slate for the USPS Board of Governors

Archives:

Congress Could Soon Deliver the Postal Service Its Biggest Blow Yet

Postal Governor Miller peddles nonsense at House hearing

10 thoughts on “APWU, Federal, Civil Rights Groups Oppose Nominees to USPS Board of Governors

  1. should be noted that burrASS and Guffy used to play golf with Miller……….if they worked at our plant they would be eating chinese and pizza with him too! nothing ever changes at the bureaucratic post office……stalin would be jealous with this socialist business model.

  2. Terrible selection. The struggle continues despite the efforts of all postal workers. Repeat after me . 5 billion dollars prefunded. 5 billion dollars prefunded. 5 billion dollars prefunded.

  3. this far left wing nut loser barry santoro has done nothing for postal workers……..we are currently working without a contract under this affirmative action token………while this creep fails in the middle east. does it really surprise you that he is extending miller’s tour of duty. sheeple wake up……will be more of the same under hilderbeast.
    Donald Trump 2016! Hillary for Prision 2016!

  4. Have the USPS go private , you have to be kidding. When that happens that’s when the 2-5 million dollars bonus start to happen and the workers pay and benefits start to go down. Take a look as the unions have decreased so has the dollar, people now have about $5,000 less in buying power now , no pensions and less health care.

  5. Here we go again,with old issues. Ronald Reagan and USPS privatization. President Reagan left office in January 1989. As 4 the hiring of college students,I certainly remember many such employees from the early 1990s. They often were NOT the best workers. But,why not? There r currently many college kids and recent college graduates,who simply need any job. And they need it,now. Aren’t there more pressing issues 4 Dimondstein and our national APWU leadership 2 campaign for?

  6. You can’t blame the interested organizations for trying, but they have no chance of succeeding with this Congress. The phrase that jumps out is the authors’ concern about “a decline in wages and benefits.” To Joe Six-Pack, who hears this, government employees are better off than he is, and it is hard for him to muster sympathy for “a decline” when he is working night shift at a 7-11 from minimum wage, on the wrong side of town.

    I despise Pay Day lending because it preys on the ignorant and desperate (and young) among us. But in a free society, the morons should have the right to mortgage their souls and the money changers are not entirely to blame for the loans. As an alternative, you need to convince the ignorant that pay day loans are bad, and while you are at it, convince the 18 year olds that pre-marital sex is bad and should be avoided at all costs. Good luck with that.

  7. President Obama should have ,at least appointed two people that understand what it is to be a hard working employee! Instead he picks James Miller. He is not only against the Postal Service, he thinks of the employees as slaves. He is a pal of Ronald the evil union breaker. And as for MR Barnet, he is but another anti labor Ratpublican. How hard would it have been for the President to choose someone that thinks of the people that do the labor? Just pick people that will destroy the Postal Service so that businessmen can make lots and lots of money!

  8. The Board of Governors should be those 535 folks sitting in Congress ! Get off it and run the USPS as it was intended to serve the American People ! !

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