Yesterday, the U.S. Postal Service and its Board of Governors announced that it would not be moving forward with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. The following is a statement released by Jeanette Dwyer, President of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association:
“Yesterday’s announcement is welcome news to rural letter carriers, U.S. Postal employees, and their millions of loyal customers nationwide. With the current fiscal crisis plaguing the U.S. Postal Service, lowering service levels is simply no way to generate revenue and bring the USPS back from the brink. For decades, the Postal Service has provided consistent quality service to each and every household nationwide. Any plan that lowers this level of service is simply misguided and unacceptable.
“Our Postal Service is in need of true reform, not just misguided attempts to slash service. By re-working the Postal Service’s funding of its retiree health benefits, an obligation which accounts for 80% of USPS losses over recent years, lawmakers will have taken the easiest and most-sensible step toward getting this venerable institution back on the right page. Allowing the Postal Service to innovate with same-day parcel delivery, as it has in some regions with companies like Amazon, will provide a great opportunity to generate needed revenue and allow the USPS to remain a competitive player in the shipping and delivery industry.
“The proposal to reopen already negotiated postal labor contracts is another misguided attempt to grow the Postal Service by cutting. In previous contract negotiations, including in the most recent contract signed just this past July, rural letter carriers across the country made difficult sacrifices to help keep the Postal Service afloat. From foregoing wage increases and cost-of-living adjustments to allowing the Postal Service to contribute less toward employee health benefits, rural letter carriers have shown their dedication to the Postal Service not just on their routes but also in their sacrifices at the bargaining table.
“While many say the Postal Service should be run like a business, it has been shackled by burdensome obligations and left to drown in red ink. Misguided legislation and a dysfunctional Congress have brought the Postal Service to this point, but these problems are easily solvable. The elimination of six-day mail delivery would only further worsen this crisis.
“Also, my sincere gratitude and appreciation goes out to the tens of thousands of rural letter carriers across the country. The response of these loyal and hardworking individuals was critical to the preservation of Saturday mail delivery. We will continue to stand alongside our members as the fight to protect and defend the U.S. Postal Service moves forward.”
The NRLCA is an independent union whose members include 104,718 full- and part-time rural letter carriers. Rural carriers deliver mail on 73,461 routes, serving over 40 million customers and driving almost 3.5 million miles each delivery day in all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The average route is more than 47 miles long and serves 552 boxes.
News Release 16-1: Postal Service to Save Six-Day Mail Delivery (President Statement)