The people who process and deliver the mail are pushing back against a possible White House plan to sell off the United States Postal Service. In an advertising campaign launched today, the ad “Keep it. It’s Yours,” sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), paints a grim picture of less service at higher cost for postal customers if the USPS is sold to private interests. The ad ends with the message to postal customers: “The U.S. Postal Service. Keep it. It’s yours.”
In June, the White House Office of Management and Budget in its report, Delivering Government Solutions in the 21stCentury, stated that the White House was considering “solutions, possibly including private ownership” for the USPS.
In addition, the White House is expected to release a task force report in the next month that may call for an end to the universal service requirement wherein all domestic mail is delivered for the same price regardless of where one lives. The task force was established by Executive Order 13829, signed by President Trump in February.
“Selling of the postal service would be a gift to Wall Street and a setback to everyone in this country who receives mail,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said. “This is the people’s post office, older than the nation itself, enshrined in the Constitution, with the highest favorability rating of any federal agency. We need to send a clear message to the White House that the U.S. mail is not for sale.”
The Postal Service delivers more than 40 percent of the world’s mail without receiving a dime in taxpayer dollars.
According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted earlier this year, the Post Office has the highest ratings of any major government agency, with 88 percent of Americans expressing approval.
The White House, in its Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, claims – with no evidence – that the USPS “can no longer support” the current universal service requirement which requires daily mail delivery, six days a week, to all 157 million U.S. addresses.
Left unsaid is the year after year growth in package delivery due to ecommerce and the fact that any selloff would lead to both higher prices and service cutbacks for customers. Because the United Kingdom privatized postal services, for example, rates rose 76.4 percent over a decade, and many post office branches were closed.
“Rural communities are having a hard time competing due to high transportation costs and a lack of broadband services,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “Eliminating the universal service requirement would be the kiss of death for many businesses and individuals in these areas.”
Along with a media buy on public affairs programs such as Meet the Press and Face the Nation and advertisements on Facebook, organizations including the AFL-CIO, Our Revolution and A Grand Alliance to Save Our Postal Service are distributing the advertisement via email and social media to their millions of members. A Grand Alliance includes 175 organizations pledged to supporting a public postal service, including the National Council of Churches and Farm Aid.
Opposition is mounting in Congress to selling off a public service that has strong public support across party lines. A majority of the House of Representatives, 244 members from both sides of the aisle, is co-sponsoring a resolution calling for the USPS to remain “an independent establishment of the Federal Government… not subject to privatization.”
Rolando said, “We’re about to enter the holiday season when families will be mailing cards and gifts and ordering packages for home delivery on Cyber Monday and every other day. It’s a great time of year. Will future holiday seasons feel the same if the cost of sending a package through a privatized postal service rises and the options for delivery decrease along with the number of post offices? The U.S. Postal Service: Keep it – it’s yours.”