Letter Carrier President Warns Contracting Out Mail Delivery Could Weaken Nation's Terrorism Defense

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Letter Carriers union president William H. Young warned the U.S. Postal Service against out-sourcing to private contractors the delivery of mail to American homes and businesses, saying such a move would weaken the nation's defense against terrorist attacks.

Mr. Young issued his warning during a keynote address to some 9,300 delegates on the opening day of a week-long 65th biennial convention of the 300,00-member National Association of Letter Carriers at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"The threat to the quality and security of the mail posed by low-wage contract workers cannot be overstated," Mr. Young said. "In the midst of a global war on terror, now is not the time to open a hole in the nation's defenses by giving unscreened, contingent workers access to the mail stream."

Mr. Young said the possibility of such an action by the USPS is not far-fetched, citing the agency's recent announcement that it is considering contracting out work at postal Air Mail Centers. He said that could tempt postal management into contracting out letter carrier work.

Mr. Young recalled the anthrax attacks on the United States in 2001 and the trust that both mailers and the American people had in highly skilled letter carriers during that critical period. He said contracting out letter carrier work now would backfire on the USPS and on the American public.

In his keynote address, Mr. Young also discussed the upcoming contract negotiations with the postal service for a new national agreement. He said efforts to get final congressional approval to House- and Senate-passed postal reform legislation, and the union's role in helping pro-labor candidates in this fall's congressional elections.

Regarding upcoming contract negotiations that will begin Aug. 28 in Washington, Mr. Young said the union will seek pay increases that reward carriers for their contributions to the success of USPS and also to work toward resolving workplace issues, including establishing a better system of adjusting postal routes.

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