5 Fun Ways to Help Save the Post Office

I’m a little hesitant to weigh in on any government issues – we maintain the right to our opinion, but try to keep it within the scope of happiness.  Seldom do these kinds of protest events yield happiness in my experience! However, the three smiling women at the crossroads of 17k and Rt 300 in Newburgh, on a hot August afternoon definitely warranted a conversation. Turns out, they're on a mission—fighting for their jobs, and for that we commend them! Fair warning : this post contains many fact based statistics and information pertaining to the issue. Skip to the bottom to see the fun-5-list! I was met by Debby Szeredy, President of the Mid-Hudson Area Local for the Postal Service. She along with Beth Soto and Harina Zielinski (below) were camped out on the plaza hill with other friends and postal workers from 6am to 2pm trying to get their message out.

From Left to Right - Beth Soto, Dabby Szeredsky and Harina Zielinski

From the Literature:

Postal workers take pride in providing prompt, dependable mail service to the Hudson Valley, which is why we are so concerned about the plan to consolidate. Sending our mail to Westchester will result in slower, less reliable mail service for residents. Bulk mailings will have to be sent out from Westchester which will be an added cost and hassle for business owners.

Proposed consolidation will potentially hurt businesses, delay service and cause significant job loss. In Newburgh there are over 350 employees at the plant with another 200 employees throughout the Hudson Valley. All of them are facing possible displacement due to a 20% decline in USPS patronization due to electronic mail, dwindling use of the first-class services as well as economic conditions.

revive the dying art of handwritten letters!

According to reports the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act of 2006 which requires the post office to prefund healthcare benefits – a mandate unique to the postal system – has created an overflow of stored monies which USPS would now like back to subsidize expenses in the coming years. This would call for restructure of the benefits system. According to the website http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2011/pr11_lstatement.htm there’s a lot at stake here. If you read through the two proposals – you’ll see one calls for major layoffs and downsizing and the other wishes to restructure health care and retirement benefits to suit a changing economy with minimal cuts. Interesting to both proposals : a 5 day work week - which means no more Saturday delivery. Interesting stats from the website:

 The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations….If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 29th in the 2010 Fortune 500.

the mail system in 1909

The threat of job loss is significant. Many people know that New Windsor, NY Post Office is threatened with closure, which according to Sredsky, could come at any time. The first of many steps that will impact this long-standing American agency that survived the telegraph and the telephone! And, that's nothing compared to what they have in store long-term according to the official government website:

 Currently, the Postal Service has over 500 facilities where mail is processed. We anticipate reducing transportation miles and costs and reducing the number of processing facilities to below 200.

Unless legislature is pushed in the direction of refunding the agency their prepayment health care money to supplement and offset costs in the coming years, closure will be a surety.  The legislature in question is known as Bill HR 1351. A push for a refund on some of that alleged overpayment. Today (September 6th) there will be a hearing to discuss the matter to include members of The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at 2PM. Stream it : http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=a193192b-ca97-46ee-8f22-bc3db87df1f9

names have been changed to protect the innocent

So, now the question : How can I help? And the half-serious answer:

  1. Attend public meetings regarding this issue (more info845- 567-1866)
  2. Invest in some stationary and send some hand-written letters to your Congressional Members. Power to the People!
  3. Put Major Publishing Companies to work by Always sending back magazine mailers – Notice the postage paid by addressee subtext (See above). Make it your sister's address - she secretly adores Oprah Magazine, we both know it!
  4. When prompted, opt out of paperless delivery with your bank and other providers. Seriously, hear us out - forget the environmental standpoint for a moment. Why are we expected to print our own statements? Ink is expensive!  (We won’t push the online bill pay issue, we quite enjoy the convenience).
  5. Follow Debby, Beth and Harina by staging a protest to help spread the word! It's always good when we can put a face to the affected!

Article by: Lolita Sage