NALC members’ lobbying yields support for pro-employee, pro-Postal Service bills

WASHINGTON—Letter Carriers lobbying during their legislative conference this spring yielded increasing congressional support for three pro-postal employee, pro-consumer and pro-service bills, the union’s members told The Postal Record.

The catch is the measures, House Resolutions 15, 28 and 31, are non-binding expressions of support that show solons’ views, but don’t have the force of law.

The three measures all support high delivery standards: Continuation of six-day delivery (HRes15), continuing door-to-door delivery for new clients (HRes28) and a return to first-class overnight delivery standards that existed five years ago (HRes31).

All three measures fly in the face of schemes by former Postmaster General Patrick Donahue to cut the USPS “deficit” – caused by a decade of GOP-mandated $5.5 billion yearly prepayments of future retirees’ health care costs – by cutting services and firing workers.

Elimination of six-day delivery and door-to-door delivery have also been features of postal “reform” schemes Congress’ ruling Republicans have floated in the last several years. House committees sometimes approved those measures, but they then stalled due to Letter Carrier and postal customer opposition, along with protests from other postal unions.

The Letter Carriers reported picking up support for the three measures from Reps. Darren Soto, D-Fla., a freshman, John Yarmuth, D-Kent., who represents Louisville and the entire 12-person New Jersey House delegation, Democrats and Republicans.

The six-day delivery measure, introduced by Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., already has a majority of U.S. representatives (224) as co-sponsors. The door-to-door resolution, by Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., has 237, while the overnight delivery measure, by Rep. David McKinley, R-W. Va., has 187.

The bipartisan support is important. “Hopefully, we’ve learned not to put all our eggs in the Democratic Party basket, one controlled by Wall Street,” wrote Richard Koritz of Branch 630 in Greensboro, N.C. “Republican Rep. Walter Jones, for example, has voted with us on many issues, most recently in opposing Trump’s replacement of the Affordable Care Act.”

Donahue, however, was able to administratively slow down the first-class delivery service, by changing standards and closing postal distribution centers nationwide. Now, often, letters going across major cities from one address to another take more than a day for delivery.

It’s not just letters, either. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, told Ray Bricker of Toledo Branch 100 he’s investigating “the slow, unreliable and failed delivery of absentee voter ballots in the 2016 election” from the new consolidated distribution center for Toledo – located in Pontiac, Mich. – to the nearby Fulton County elections board. “To be clear, more than 1,000 ballots sent out for the election were lost or took weeks to arrive. All were processed at Metroplex,” Bricker said. When USPS had a Toledo distribution center, the ballots arrived overnight.

Source: PAI