Subject: [SocialistWorker.org] Fighting for six-day delivery
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======== FIGHTING FOR SIX-DAY DELIVERY =======================================
January 3, 2013
COMPLETING THE sixth day of their hunger strike to save six-day delivery,
five postal workers broke their fast and declared a "people's victory."
"Along with hundreds of thousands of postal workers and our community allies
who have been battling for years to save America's postal service, we were
able raise awareness and increase pressure on the decision-makers as they
attempted to wrangle back-room deals," said hunger striker Jamie Partridge, a
retired letter carrier from Portland, Ore.
The strikers established an "emergency" encampment on the National Mall on
December 17, demanding that Congress and the president halt closures and cuts
to the U.S. Postal Service.
"The lame duck is still threatening to cripple the postal eagle," declared
Partridge, acknowledging that Congress will reconvene after the Christmas
holiday. Six-day mail delivery is on the chopping block, according to Rep.
Darrell Issa, Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Tom Carper, who are engaged in
secret postal reform negotiations. One of the hunger strikers, John Dennie, a
retired mail handler from New York, was arrested in Issa's office December 20
for refusing to leave until the congressman pledged to save six-day mail
Friday afternoon, the postal hunger strikers paraded with a horse and
carriage from the Postal Museum, up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House to
celebrate the 237-year history of the postal service and 150 years of
Saturday delivery (city free delivery was established 1863).
They attempted to deliver a giant postcard calling on Obama to use his veto
power to save six-day mail delivery. President Obama has twice allowed for
cutting to five-day delivery in budget proposals. "We helped elect Obama and
he owes us," said Ken Lerch, a local letter carriers' union president.
Cutting mail delivery to five days will eliminate 80,000 postal jobs,
according to postal unions. The hunger strikers claim the cuts would gut
service and send the postal service into a death spiral. "We will not stand
by as our beloved postal service is destroyed," said Tom Dodge, hunger
striker, postal worker from Baltimore, and a coordinator of Communities and
Postal Workers United (CPWU).
Last June, 10 CPWU activists staged a hunger strike declaring that Congress
was starving the postal service. The activists claim that a 2006
Congressional mandate, which forces the USPS to prefund retiree health
benefits 75 years in advance, is bankrupting the service. Not only would the
postal service have been profitable without the mandate, say the strikers,
the USPS has also overpaid tens of billions f dollars into two pension funds.
"Not the Internet, not private competition, not labor costs, not the
recession--Congress is responsible for the postal mess" said Kevin Cole, a
return hunger striker and postal maintenance worker from California.
"Corporate interests, working through their friends in Congress and the
presidency, want to undermine the USPS, bust the unions then privatize it."
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced in mid-May that he would close
half the mail-sorting plants in the country and cut hours from 25-75 percent
in half the nation's post offices over a two year period. Thirteen thousand
jobs have already been eliminated and delivery standards relaxed. "Extensive
disruption has resulted from these plant closures," said Dennie.
The hunger strikers delivered evidence Friday morning to the Postal Board of
Governors documenting the postmaster general's criminal delay and obstruction
of the mail, and calling for his prosecution. The strikers are calling on
postal management to suspend cuts and closures and allow Congress to fix the
finances by repealing the prefunding mandate and refunding the pension
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