From the December 2008 Idaho Observer:


Opposition to postal privatization growing

Postal Service going forward with incremental privatization program regardless

American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and National Postal Mail Handlers Union members rallied in northern New Jersey on Oct. 27, 2008, to protest plans by the U.S. Postal Service to privatize operations at the nationís 21 Bulk Mail Centers, which employ over 11,000 employees, 2,400 in Jersey City alone.

This is the second rally, following a rally at the Philadelphia Bulk Mailing Center on September 12. Supportive Congressmen include Rep Patrick Murphy (D-PA), and Reps. Donald Payne and Albio Sires, both Democrats from New Jersey.

Commenting on the rally, APWU President William Burrus said that the USPS has launched a program of "incremental" privatization. "The Postal Serviceís drive to outsource and subcontract is undermining productivity and service to the public. We must do everything we can to protect the service we provide to the American people and to preserve the Postal Service as a public institution," Burrus said.

If the USPS outsources its parcel services, it will lose the capacity to process the parcel volume it currently handles. It will become reliant on its subcontractors, allowing them to control USPS costs, which will undermine the competition that currently benefits the American consumers. In addition, USPS employees are encouraged by well-paying jobs with worthwhile union benefits, to provide honest, quality services to the American public. If these jobs are outsourced, the new employers could hire low-quality employees at minimum wage who have no allegiance to their employer. Such employees present a security risk as they are much more likely to steal from the mail or destroy third class mailings, both of which are grounds for firing for postal employees.

In this past election, labor leaders spent nearly $450 million campaigning for Obama and other Democratic candidates, hopeful that the new political winds of an Obama presidency will blow in their favor.

The Mail Network Protection Act of 2007 (HR 4236) was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) Nov. 15, 2007. The bill, which has 144 co-sponsors (143 of which are Democrats) would require the Postal Service to bargain with the Union before implementing significant subcontracting.

Bulk mailing Centers are located in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Greensboro, Jacksonville, Kansas City, KS, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, Springfield, MA, and Washington, D.C.