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Department & Division News

Are We Going to Let the Big Corporations Privatize Us?

Including the Service We Give to Our Country?

(This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Vice President Debby Szeredy

Let’s talk about the facts. Here I am, a union postal worker. What will happen if I don’t step up and help mobilize my co-workers and my community to stop privatization?

The free market plan is to privatize any and all areas that are vital to the American public. We have seen how privatization affects us. Examples of privatization include: our health care system, water and sewer services, bus and transit systems, parking meters, tolls, roads and bridges, prison systems, mortgage and pay day loans, student loans, deregulation of fossil fuels that pollute our planet, and the money in politics (dark money) that helps to fund candidates who will work hard to privatize public services.

What would a privatized Postal Service look like? The Collective Bargaining Agreement would end. A postal worker would have no rights to existing wages, benefits and safe working conditions and you will have to re-apply for a job. There will be no pension, no seniority, and no place to go to have grievances heard. Your cities’ unemployment rates will jump, and your community will have fewer living wage jobs for veterans and people of color. You may have to move to find work elsewhere. There would be no work guarantees and no voice on the job.

The cost of mailing packages to friends and family will spiral because there are no caps for corporations. There would be no service standards and no workers protecting customer rights. Prompt delivery of medications would end.

Rural areas would be denied a primary tie to the rest of the country, and mailing to family members in areas outside of cities will cost an arm and a leg. Guaranteed delivery will be costly. The Postal Service is obligated to serve all Americans regardless of where they live, but that obligation disappears with privatization. Shipping to family in other countries will be near impossible to afford. Prices will go up and quality service will go down.

The USPS delivers over 42 percent of the world’s mail; what happens to their services after privatization? Where other countries have privatized mail service, it resulted in severe job losses, wage cuts and increased prices with reduced mail delivery access to customers. Protection of your mail, including the sanctity and security, will be gone, and America’s one and only network during war, disasters, and bio-warfare would end. The watchdog for your neighborhood disappears when corporations own your mail box.

The Postal Service will no longer be for the people, to bind the nation. We would lose protection of secure vote by mail election ballots and absentee ballots – systems that have proven to increase voter participation – part of a just and fair election process. USPS mailers and business customers would be hit hard and would be at the whim of private corporations.

We can safeguard the People’s Postal Service and continue to enrich the lives of our families, friends, and communities, not just the wealthy. We need to show each other our love and action.

It is time to step up now. You have a choice to make: sit back and watch, or step up and participate. Step up and recruit more co-workers and community members to become actively involved in fighting privatization and making a better America for postal workers, our communities, and our country. Postal services should be for the public good, not for private gain. It is not a union issue, it’s a people’s issue.