NALC’s Rolando: Postal Service turned a profit on operations in the last six months

Once again, the U.S. Postal Service turned a profit, on its operations alone, in the last six months, Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando says – even if the agency’s “official” report shows it running in the red.

And, once again, Rolando adds, the difference is because a decade ago, a GOP-run Congress imposed a $5.5 billion yearly pre-payment of future retirees’ health care costs on the Postal Service.

The Postal Service reported a profit on operations of $533 million in the first six months of its fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. That includes $12 million in the first three months of calendar 2017, when package volume kept soaring but first-class mail – the service’s profit driver – declined.

But when USPS factored in the $1.45 billion it was obligated to pre-pay from January through March for future retirees’ health care, it ran in the red, again.

USPS earned $3.7 billion in profits since Oct. 1, 2013, said Rolando, whose union has 200,000-plus city letter carrier members. And USPS profits for the last year or more would have been even better had not Congress dropped the ball and prevented a 2-cent cut in first-class mail rates, the first since 1919, he repeated. That lost $500 million, he added on May 11.

The report “shows the underlying business strength of the U.S. Postal Service while also indicating the need to address external matters beyond USPS’ control,” Rolando said.

“That’s impressive for a government entity that earns its revenue and gets no taxpayer money while enjoying strong public and political support. It shows the importance of strengthening the unparalleled postal network – the centerpiece of a $1.3 trillion national mailing industry that provides seven million private-sector American jobs.”

Rolando used his statement to argue once again for both eliminating the pre-funding of future retirees’ health care and to give the USPS control over its stamp prices. Cutting stamp prices “makes little sense because USPS already has the industrial world’s lowest rates.” The 2-cent cut “reduces postal revenue by $2 billion per year,” he noted.

The Letter Carriers and other postal unions – the Postal Workers, the Rural Letter Carriers and the Mail Handlers/Laborers – are working with lawmakers on legislation to both end the pre-funding and to restore USPS control over postage stamp rates.

“Addressing the external financial burdens posed by the price rollback and by pre-funding would allow USPS to continue to provide Americans and their businesses with the industrial world’s most-affordable delivery network,” Rolando said.

Source: PAI