Postal Unions Deliver a Strong Message as Contract Talks Ensue

Some 60 labor unions and social activist groups have combined on a public relations campaign to promote the Postal Service as a “national treasure” and make a case against consolidation and job attrition. Called A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, the effort’s public face is actor Danny Glover, who stars in a video spot stating the group’s case and is making public appearances on its behalf.

“Now, more than ever, we need the Postal Service to thrive and innovate for the future,” says Glover in the video (below). “The Postal Service belongs to all of us. It reaches everyone everywhere, delivering medicine, packages, letters, newspapers, and catalogs without a dime of taxpayers’ money. It never stops, but some people want to bury the Postal Service, shut offices, reduce hours, limit delivery, outsource it, divide it, and privatize it.”

The Grand Alliance’s mission statement hails the Postal Service as a “democratic right,” and says it is taking a stand against “unprecedented assaults on our national treasure from those who would like to dismantle and privatize it.” Members of the Alliance include the AFL-CIO, the Center for Rural Affairs, the Jewish Labor Committee, the International Association of Fire Fighters, Farm Aid, Greenpeace USA, the National Council of Churches, and the National Education Association.

The Grand Alliance is the brainchild of Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. In announcing the formation of the group last month, Dimondstein alleged that the pre-funding of retiree health benefits—something from which USPS senior management seeks Congressional relief—is at the heart of a government plan to bring down the Postal Service.

“A congressional mandate that forces the agency to pre-fund retiree healthcare benefits 75 years into the future is being used as a pre-text to destroy a national treasure,” Dimondstein said. “Management has shortened hours at neighborhood post offices, closed mail processing centers, lowered delivery standards, and slowed mail delivery.”

New Postmaster General Megan Brennan is currently involved in contract negotiations with postal worker unions, which are seeking expanded operating hours for Post Offices, as well as expansion into additional services such as private banking.

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