A Grand Alliance
A Bold Vision for the U.S. Postal Service
(This article first appeared in the July-August 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)
What if, instead of reducing hours, closing post offices, slowing delivery standards, and cutting staff, the nation’s largest retail network offered a wide array of services to our communities? What if the nation’s most trusted federal agency delivered ballots for national, state, and local elections? What if the U.S. Postal Service used its vast infrastructure to support a green economy?
The future of the U.S. Postal Service is the subject of hot debate. President Trump issued an Executive Order in April to form a task force to review the financial position of the U.S. Postal Service. This debate is an opportunity to continue to make our voices heard on the value of a strong, public Postal Service. It is also an opportunity to advocate for expanded services and an expanded role for the USPS – goals laid out in the 2016 field hearings held around the country by A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service (AGA).
AGA is working with our allies to create a vision for an expanded Postal Service that uses its vast network and infrastructure to provide affordable financial services, improve and enhance civic life, expand retail and delivery services, and fight climate change. “We look forward to working with our allies to imagine the multitude of new and innovative ways our public postal service can continue to serve the common good for generations to come,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
With more than 30,000 retail offices – more than McDonalds, Starbucks, and Walmart combined – the U.S. Postal Service could offer a full spectrum of retail services including Wi-Fi access, notary public and 3-D printing. Post offices could also offer a non-profit, affordable array of financial services like paycheck cashing, ATMs, money transfer, and bill payment. USPS is already a leader in one financial service: the sale of money orders. An average of 286,137 money orders are sold daily.
The USPS could also play an important role in the civic life of our communities with robust Vote by Mail elections at all levels of government. Letter carriers could check in on senior citizens and other isolated or vulnerable populations.
With one of the largest civilian fleets in the world – more than 230,000 vehicles – the Postal Service could lead the way in promoting renewable-powered vehicles. Expansion to locations all over the county of solar power generation systems like the one at its Los Angeles mail processing facility and green roofs like the one on top of the New York Morgan Processing and Distribution Center could make a significant contribution to fueling a green economy.
Our brothers and sisters at the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and their community allies have been busy thinking about the vital role of a public postal service. For inspiration, check out their proposal, Delivering Community Power (www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca), on how Canada Post can be the hub of their Next Economy.
New National Signatory
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is the latest national signatory to A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service. We thank them for their support and look forward to working with them to defend our public Postal Service! In signing on, the CBC wrote: “It would be a dishonor to the American public to not fight for [the USPS’] continued existence.” Welcome aboard!
A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service is a broad coalition of national, state and local organizations including the NAACP, Vote Vets, Jobs with Justice, National Council of Churches and Rainbow PUSH. These groups have come together to take a stand against the unprecedented assaults on the Postal Service including efforts to dismantle and privatize it. To join A Grand Alliance, visit www.AGrandAlliance.org.