Today, Postal Service management issued a 10-year plan they are calling Delivering for America. The plan lays out a number of steps management hopes to take to bridge the projected $160 billion financial shortfall projected over the next ten years. There are elements of this plan the APWU will support and there elements of the plan we will oppose.
For generations, postal workers and the United States Postal Service have fulfilled the postal mission of “binding the Nation together” by providing the “prompt, reliable and efficient” services the law requires. Postal workers are justifiably proud of our commitment to service and our role in connecting every home, business and civic institution in the country.
Our experience of the past year amidst the pandemic has only underscored the essential role the Postal Service plays in every community across the country. However, the Postal Service is at a critical juncture and the future of the Service itself, hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining postal jobs and a critical national institution, lay in the balance. The Postal Service’s finances, squeezed by more than a decade of a congressionally-manufactured crisis and a lack of much-needed investment in people, processes and equipment, are in a dire state. On-time mail delivery is at unprecedented and unacceptable low levels.
It is no exaggeration that the future of our national treasure, the public Postal Service, will be determined by the actions of Congress, the Postal Service, postal workers and the mailing public in the months to come.
Some elements of the plan are welcome proposals which reflect the enormous dedication of postal workers and the Postal Service’s unrivaled network and its unmatched presence in communities across the country. We share management’s optimism in the Postal Service’s potential to grow new lines of business, capitalize on the booming package market, connect everyone more closely with all levels of government, and to increase and improve services offered to business and household mailers alike.
The APWU will continue to work to ensure the Postal Service succeeds in expanding and enhancing service to the public. We welcome those proposals in the plan and will also continue to advocate for other enhanced services, like expanding postal financial services.
There are parts of the plan that raise deep concerns to the APWU and our members. At a time that the public is demanding faster delivery of mail and packages, proposals that would slow the mail and reduce retail services – such as changing service standards, plant consolidations and reducing operating hours at post offices – will only have a negative effect on postal workers and the public. We will proactively engage with management, the PRC, Congress and the public to address areas of concern and defend the jobs and living standards of APWU members. As always, the APWU is united with the people of the country in our demand for prompt, reliable and universal postal services.
The APWU considers management’s introduction of the plan an opportunity to debate and discuss the future of the United States Postal Service and the jobs and livelihoods of the postal workers who make it the most trusted agency in America. We have a vision for the future of the Postal Service that shares some of the proposals in this plan, and departs from it in other areas.
Above all else, the plan underscores the urgent need for Congress to act swiftly and boldly to provide the Postal Service with critically-needed relief from the financial constraints of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, funding to make the Postal Service whole from COVID-related losses and funding to allow the Postal Service to invest in the people and infrastructure needed to improve and expand postal services for generations to come. The last year has emphasized the vital role of reliable, speedy and universal postal services for all communities. Congress has an important role to ensure the Postal Service and postal workers have the resources needed to deliver on our promise to the public.
The American Postal Workers Union will continue to advocate for postal workers and the people of the country who rely on the essential service we proudly provide each and every day.