Our Communities LoseWritten by Dennis Sun
Published: 19 September 2011
By now most everyone has heard of the crisis in our U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and the proposed management changes they wish to make to stop the terrible deficit they are having every year.
Congress held a hearing on Sept. 6 and of course right off the bat, the USPS said if something wasn’t done they would have to close their doors. Well, we all know that Congress isn’t going to let that happen. The post offices around the country are just too important to be closed. So far, there are three bills pending in Congress, and the USPS wants to cut their workforce by 220,000, eliminate Saturday delivery service and close some 3,600 local post offices, most of which are rural and 44 in Wyoming.
When we ask how they got into all of this financial trouble, they said it is the high number of employees, probably union involvement, high priced benefits and inability to terminate employees. Those are about the same issues that caused some of the major auto manufactures to go broke a couple of years ago, except as I understand it, the USPS has to have Congressional approval to make any changes. They don’t operate on our tax dollars but the money they generate.
Now they say, and rightly so, that the internet has cost them a 22 percent drop in mail with a revenue loss for the USPS of more than $10 billion over the last five years. The last two years they have had of deficit of $8 billion a year, which is big bucks. They are now getting to the end of their $15 billion line of credit with the U.S. Treasury and that could force default on a $5.5 billion payment into the health care fund for its retirees at the end of September.
I know in Casper there is a shortage of mail carriers and most are pulling double duty, but it looks like the wages and benefits are really good. We have always heard that if you wanted to be set for life, work for the post office. We are also hearing that 80 percent of the costs of the USPS are wages and benefits, and that it costs the USPS around one percent or less of its budget to fund rural post offices.
Numerous small communities and rural areas in the state and around the country have had their schools close and now are busing their children to larger schools in nearby towns and cities. This action gutted these rural communities, and now they want to do away with the last centers of these communities – the post offices. I hope it doesn’t happen.
Around Sept. 1, the Northern AG Network’s website had a link to a guide that can assist you in saving your local Post Office, it is called the “Red Book.”
Northern Ag Network says, “it has a description of the process, tips for what you need to do and sample petitions to get you started.”
You can access Red Book at napus.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Redbook.pdf
If your Roundup is late or lost this week, you know someone from the USPS read this column.