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The Real Story about the USPS's finance

Letter to the Editor of "The Hill" by President Dimondstein

Web News Article #: 
05-2016

01/10/2017 - Reprint of The Hill Letter to the Editor:

From Mark Dimondstein, President of the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Vice President of the AFL-CIO

The hatchet job on the public Postal Service from columnist Brian McNicoll (“Post Office Loses Another $5.1 Billion….” The Hill, Dec. 20, 2016) borders on fake news.

The claim that the USPS lost over $5 billion in the last fiscal year buries the truth. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (PAEA). PAEA mandated, to the tune of $5 billion a year for a decade, that future retiree health benefit liabilities be funded at 100 percent, 75 years into the future.  No other employer, public or private, is forced to meet this unfair standard.

If this unreasonable burden is excluded, the USPS, which operates without tax dollars, has operating profits totaling $3.2 billion since 2013. Package volume in 2016 grew an incredible 15.8 percent year to date. The explosion of e-commerce has made USPS even more of a national treasure.

Despite USPS’s obvious strengths in package delivery, McNicoll calls its deal with Amazon a loser. For real? The Postal Service delivers 40 percent of Amazon packages. Perhaps his view is skewed due to ties to the pro-postal privatization Heritage Foundation and their funding by UPS, which is vying for lucrative Amazon business.

A majority in Congress appears ready, on a bipartisan basis and with the support of postal management, unions and much of the mailing industry, to correct the pre-funding retiree healthcare mandate and address other issues that will put the USPS on a firmer foundation. Combine that with the growth in package delivery and the future for USPS looks bright. That’s the real story.

— Washington, D.C