Union Challenges Existence of Postal Service Financial Crisis
(Press Release) Washington, DC, September 7 — Underscoring the recklessness of the massive rate increase proposed by the United States Postal Service on July 6, American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus made clear on Friday that his Union does not believe the Service is currently in an unprecedented financial position. He made it clear that the Union will not back away from its contract demands during the current round of negotiations with the Postal Service, despite its supposed financial crisis. This furthers the case against the Postal Service request for a rate hike 10 times the rate of inflation.
"Mail volume is depressed and revenue is down, but we have faced similar circumstances before," President Burrus said. "The history of the Postal Service is replete with forecasts of doom and gloom." Click here to read or view President Burrus' full statement.
A law passed in 2006 limits postal rate increases to the rate of inflation except when "extraordinary or exceptional" circumstances make a larger increase necessary for the Postal Service to continue operating "despite best practices of honest, efficient and economical management." The Consumer Price Index has gone up less than 1 percent in the past year, the USPS is proposing rate increases of 10 times that rate. The Postal Service claims that its losses result from the "exigent circumstances" of the long-forecast recession and the long-term loss of mail volume to the Internet.
Also opposing the rate increase proposal is the Affordable Mail Alliance, an unprecedented coalition of more than 1,000 postal customers and trade associations representing the majority of the mail sent in the United States, who have joined together to strike down the rate hike. The Postal Service's projected shortfalls are not the sole result of the recession or the increased use of the Internet, but the Service's long-standing failure to control its costs. These chronic problems do not qualify as "exigent" circumstances under the law. Until the Postal Service deals with these long-term problems, any demands for above-inflation rate increases - in effect, a new tax on customers - is unwarranted and unproductive, and will likely drive away customers while exacerbating the Postal Service's problems.
That is the central case put forward in multiple filings by the Affordable Mail Alliance with the Postal Regulatory Commission, the independent body that will decide early next month whether to allow the proposed rate hikes to take effect.
"President Burrus' statements confirm that the Postal Service's current condition is not the product of a sudden crisis," said Jerry Cerasale, Affordable Mail Alliance spokesperson and Senior Vice President, Government Affairs of the Direct Marketing Association. "This is yet more evidence that a rate hike 10 times the rate of inflation is unnecessary and unproductive—for postal customers and the Postal Service itself. Such a rate increase would delay the cost controls and other reforms that are long overdue."
He added that the Postal Service needs to do what most American businesses have been forced to do in the past few years: to make better and tougher decisions, offer services customers need, address workforce problems, and cut back on needlessly high spending.
More on the Affordable Mail Alliance
The Affordable Mail Alliance is an unprecedented coalition of more than 1,000 postal customers and trade associations-representing the majority of the mail sent in the United States--who have joined together to oppose the postal rate hike proposal. Our coalition includes small charities, consumer groups, small and large businesses-including national retailers, utilities, banks, insurance companies, other Fortune 500 companies-and the customers who use the Postal Service every day. Our members represent many of the Postal Service's biggest customers-and many of its smallest-and use every major class of mail. It is this cross-section of America that will suffer if USPS raises rates. For further information, please visit www.affordablemailalliance.org or contact Jessica McCreight; email@example.com; 202-464-6900.