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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct 28, 2013
October 28, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 15 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com look a little better, by the way. But think about this: By law they have to fund it out 75 years. That means it's for people not even born yet. It's an absurdity from the get go. There's no agency or private company that has to project that far in advance. Prefunding is the major ingre- dient of this manufactured financial cri- sis, behind which all the other negative momentum is taking place---such as the threat to six-day delivery, such as dis- mantling postal delivery standards by closing many plants and changing from one- or two-day delivery to three to five days out, and so on. So rolling back pre- funding is extremely important---and it's the only fair thing to do. Who's behind defending prefunding, then, if it's so obviously wrong and is behind most of the Postal Service's red ink? Dimondstein: It's the privatizers--- whether from Wall Street or Congress or within Postal Service headquarters. It's a means for them to say, "Aha! See? The Postal Service is not viable, and so we had to do all these other things [to save money], and by the way these private contractors can do it better than [the Postal Service]." It's always worth pointing out that the Postal Service does not run on tax dollars. It runs by itself on money from those who use the system, paying for the system. So, you're saying you hope to regain lost ground---perhaps re-opening some sorting facilities and restoring delivery standards? Dimondstein: We campaigned that we have no magic wand here. Now, we think that with activism, the popu- lation united with the workers can accomplish great things. We're opti- mistic about being able to succeed at having a public, vibrant post office continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4 long into the future. But that won't come without a fight. It was the great Frederick Douglass who said, "Without a struggle, there can be no progress." We think progress will come with struggle. People of this country think very favorably of the Postal Service and the postal worker---and have for many, many years. And that is still the case. People want the post office, need the post office, and respect the post office. The foundation for this goes back to the Constitution. So, while the tasks ahead are daunting, if we can build this alliance and the activism that goes with it, then we can have a vibrant Postal Service long into the future. Critics say there have been billions more lost beyond the cost of prefund- ing. How would you close the remain- ing gap? Dimondstein: In general, we want to go in the opposite direction of the Post Office's ideas. These days, they say the only way ahead is to "cut, cut, cut." But you can't do that and end up with good service. So, what we're for is improving service as one way to improve revenue. There are many other ways to save or make money. Beyond dealing with pre- funding retiree health benefits, there is also the overfunding---in the billions--- of retirement benefits. This money can be recovered, though politically it will not be easy. There is also [money to be made in] the explosion of package delivery pushed by the Internet, which the Postal Service has not fully tapped into. There are also passport services, which are being reduced and turned over to the private providers. There is also the possibility of basic private banking services, which could be done at all 37,000 locations---and remember many of areas don't currently have banking services available nearby. There is also the possibility of provid- ing notary services. So, we think there are many things we can do, and the way to deal with the financial issues is not by cutting---but by expanding and improving services. Are there any other structural prob- lems that are hurting the Postal Service and your member employees? Dimondstein: Yes. There's this issue of corporate welfare here, which most people don't understand or know is going on. Most companies can go to a pre-sorter and get a big discount, while the average person has to get a 46-cent stamp to put on a birthday card to a loved one or bill to electric company, and meanwhile these corporations pay like 36 or even 26 cents, depending. That's corporate welfare. Another way to help [our bottom line] also is to bring that back into the Postal Service sys- tem---not allow it to be pre-sorted. With that mail brought back in, there would not be these losses, and there would not be the losses of union jobs with decent wages, and the gap in funding the Postal Service would no longer exist. The issue of corporate welfare is often very deeply imbedded in our tax structure and even in the postal rate structure. What is your take on your prospects for success? Dimondstein: None of these battles is going to be easy. But you have to enter the battlefield to be in a position to win at all. These are some of the new direc- tions we need to go in. It was a hotly contested election, and people have been passionate on both sides. Now, the
Oct 21, 2013
Nov 4, 2013