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Postal News Roundup

Postal Clerks Protest Extending Services to Staples Stores - Philly.com
Tuesday's rally precedes a marketing blitz by Staples, which plans events in Philadelphia Wednesday and Thursday to sell products for employees' break rooms. No one from Staples was available to comment on the postal workers' rally. In March, Staples said it would close 225 stores by the middle of 2015. Daiutolo said none of those stores have postal counters. At the rally, Cynthia Heyward, 47, a postal clerk at the Nicetown post office, said the public doesn't realize postal clerks have at least 80 hours of training to make sure packages are handled correctly. She is not surprised that customers might want to turn elsewhere after becoming frustrated by long lines at the post office. "They are not replacing [postal workers]. We don't have enough employees to do the job," she said, accusing management of deliberately understaffing to drive customers away. Management's aim is to shift work to low-wage retail workers and away from her colleagues, who earn a middle-class wage, said Heyward, of Somerdale, in Camden County. Daiutolo said keeping costs low is important, because the postal service is in "dire financial straits." Postal service unions argue that, operationally, the postal service is on stable footing financially. Daiutolo said foot traffic is down at post offices as customers seek one-stop shopping options or buy stamps and print out shipping labels from the postal service's website. "More than 42 percent of the Postal Service's total retail revenue is generated from alternative access channels," he wrote in an email.

Post Office Cuts Deemed ‘Mindless,’ ‘Nonsensical’ - Business North
Area businesses will pay more to receive a lower level of service if a Post Office cost-cutting plan is implemented, several speakers said at a Monday rally to save the regional U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Duluth. Gov. Mark Dayton chastised the Postal Service for considering a plan that he deemed “nonsensical.” “I don’t really understand this theory that if you’re having a competitive challenge, you improve your situation by making your services worse,” he said. “I don’t understand the economics of it, and I don’t think the people out in Washington understand the economics either or they wouldn’t be losing so much money.” The USPS plan calls for shuttering small distribution centers in Minnesota and consolidating them in St. Paul. The same strategy is being rolled out elsewhere in the country. It’s a “mindless business strategy,” said National Association of Letter Carriers Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Ryan. “The Postal Service has foolishly adopted a doom strategy in response to a crisis created by a few politicians in Congress who decided to cripple the Postal Service financially,” she said. They have done so by requiring $48 billion be set aside to pre-fund future retiree healthy benefits, thrusting the system into financial stress. Sending local mail on a 150-mile trip to be sorted in St. Paul, then transporting it back to Duluth for mailbox delivery makes no sense, several speakers said. If the change is put into effect, it will eliminate about 70 Duluth positions. “This is not fly-over country. We are not second-class citizens,” said Duluth Mayor Don Ness. “We want day-to-day delivery from Duluth,” added State Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown. U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan said the existing Duluth center is highly efficient. “As a business person, I can tell you how much we rely on getting bills out on time so that we can get paid on time,” he said. The USPS plan is aimed at “diminishing and cutting back services to the people of Duluth and Northwest Minnesota,” not saving money. “Rangers support having the Duluth office stay open because we want our mail sooner. Let’s keep a good thing going,” said State Rep. Jason Metsa, DFL-Virginia. Ryan said the USPS plan will drive more mail volume away from the Post Office. “We’re here to stop them,” she said.