November 28, 2012

When Postmasters Attack

We have previously covered efforts to keep the Post Office and postal facilities from being closed down and/or privatized. Here is an excellent update on the struggle by Angela Bradbury writing on ZNET.

Two years ago, there were 574,000 postal workers, not counting temps. Last year, 546,000. This year only 533,000 are braving snow, rain, and gloom of night.

The number will be fewer next year, and every year from now on, until the beloved institution shrinks beyond recognition, if the Postmaster General and other privatization advocates get their way.

“This was a great job, one of the best jobs in America,” said recently retired Oregon letter carrier Jamie Partridge. “It pisses me off that it’s being dismantled.”

With customers and workers up in arms at his original plan to close nearly 4,000 post offices and half the nation’s mail sorting plants (see more here), Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has responded to pressure by postponing some closings and spreading the pain.

Donahoe’s latest revised list of 13,000—about 40 percent of the post offices in the nation—will either see hours slashed or close altogether. In mid-November the cuts took effect at the first wave of 500 post offices, reducing their open hours to six, four, or even two hours a day. The sorting plants are now slated to close in phases as well, leaving for last the areas where communities are resisting.

Predictably, the planned cutbacks target low-income and rural areas, which may bring in less revenue but also rely on postal service the most.

Workers say some of the harshest blows would hit seniors and veterans who receive prescriptions through the mail and people in rural communities, where post offices can double as hubs of community activity.

Read the rest of the article here.

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