Rallies to highlight the proposed closings of individual post offices, distribution centers and resulting layoffs are being held today (4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. local time) in every Congressional district in the country. A list of events, along with a petition to save the post office, can be found here. (Thanks to reader Pat for calling my attention to today's rallies. I hope to post pics later).*
The union aims to rescind a federal requirement that the post office pay a whopping $5.5 billion annually into the employee pension fund, as well as fight back against a bill sponsored by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) that would restructure the post office by privatizing it -- and thus destroy the union by doing away with collective bargaining and lowering wages and benefits. The post office is the largest unionized employer in the country, and the second largest employer, period (after low-wage, anti-union Wal-Mart).
According to the union:
I have always had a soft spot for the post office. As a child, I was a stamp collector, and had "snail mail" pen pals all over the world. I have never in my life encountered a grumpy post office employee. Mailing a first class letter for only 44 cents is still the greatest bargain the world.Events will engage the public through speeches, handouts and gatherings to make our voices heard. They are not protests.It's anticipated that a wide variety of supporters will participate in "Save America's Postal Service" rallies, including small business owners who use the mail to advertise, businesses that consistently ship products using the Postal Service, and faith leaders and progressive allies who have concerns for the plight of working men and women.
I do have one suggestion on how the postal service can save money, though: we should do away with Congressional franking privileges (mailing at the taxpayers' expense) and make Issa first on the list. As the second richest political hack in Congress, he can afford to pay for his own propaganda. Besides, I thought misuse of the mails by thugs for fraudulent purposes was a crime.
*Update: Thanks to Deborah Klaus, aka "DreamsAmelia" for sending pics of the rally she attended in Virginia this afternoon. The man in the blue suit is Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA-08) who spoke in support of the beleaguered postal workers at a small gathering. The young ladies holding their handmade signs are Hannah (left) and Deborah's daughter, Amelia.
|Young Activists & Handmade Signs: Save Our Mailmen!|
|Scene Outside a Virginia Post Office Today|
|Blogger Deborah Klaus on Steps, center |
Our Rep., Jim Moran, when asked at the protest why he thinks Republicans want to severely cut back the Postal Service, said because right now the post office is too stiff a competition for UPS and FedEx -- the US Postal service's low rates cut into the profits FedX and UPS could be making--both by eliminating their competition and getting more business, and being able to charge higher prices, since there would be no, or less, public sector alternative.Well said, Deborah, and thanks again!
He said the pension requirement change was passed 5 years ago, and he has an amendment to eliminate it--doubtful it can pass this rabid Republican House, and even if it did, I asked him, what would we be looking at in 2012 if we have Republican sweeps of both chambers of Congress and the Presidency?
He smiled and said, "Well, in some cases, paranoia is realistic. I agree, I am very worried about the future of our country." I just adore him, and I grew up going to public school with his son, Jimmy, K through 12. The funny thing is, Jimmy was quite a fire brand, always getting in trouble and being sent to the principal's---but now I admire him for that, and think he has his Dad's admirable trait of not cowering before authority. He settled down to have a normal middle class life like the rest of us.
And it is our complacency that is the symptom of society's illness. We are suffering from a dearth of rabble rousers willing to stand up and speak out for the common good, to reject the purely selfish life.