Unionized postal workers across America were supposed to take Monday off, as it is ordinarily a federal holiday in observance of Columbus Day. But at more than 140 locations across the U.S., workers were instead protesting a proposal suggested by the administration of President Donald Trump to privatize the Post Office.
Postal workers in Viera, Florida, for instance, engaged passers-by with chants of “U.S. mail is not for sale,” according to reporting from Florida Today. They also urged citizens that walked by to support a resolution in the House of Representatives that would promote the idea that the Post Office remain a federal government entity.
That House Resolution reads as follows:
“It is the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should take all appropriate measures to ensure that the United States Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the federal government and not subject to privatization.”
The possibility of privatization took a huge step forward in the spring, when Trump signed an executive order mandating a look into the Post Office’s operations and budgets. Trump is suggesting privatization as a way to lower expenditures in the constitutionally mandated organization.
“It’s an absolutely crazy idea to privatize the Postal Service,” Mike Monopoli, a member of a Florida branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said.
US Postal Service employees protested in Macon Monday as part of a nationwide Post Office protest against the possibility of the government privatizing the Postal Service. https://t.co/aeNmtsZHb1
— WGXA (@WGXAnews) October 8, 2018
His sentiments were echoed several states north of him, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where another protest was taking place. Walter Sanko, who is part of the same union, explained that costs may be reduced for the government, but they wouldn’t be for millions of Americans if privatization went through.
“The constitution established the postal service for universal mandate of delivery at the same cost no matter where you live in the country. That’s what we’re trying to keep,” Sanko said.
Much of the financial problems of the U.S. Postal Service, however, allegedly comes from a federally mandated law passed in 2006, which required the service to pre-fund its retirement obligations for workers, according to reporting from CNBC in 2011.
Another study in 2013, during the administration of former President Barack Obama, suggested the possibility of partial privatization of the USPS, according to prior reporting from the Inquisitr. By allowing some privatization to occur, “the market will drive efficiencies in the postal network,” that study suggested. The study also proposed keeping federal postal workers employed “for [at least] the last delivery mile [to] ensure that the trusted letter carrier would remain the face of the US Postal Service.”
No action was taken at that time by Congress or the Obama administration.