Aug. 7, 2011
Editorial offered wrong solution
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The Journal Sentinel editorial about pending United States Postal Service reforms stated the USPS faces a multibillion-dollar budget deficit ("Time for reforms," July 29).
Each delivery day, the USPS serves 150 million homes and businesses - a service having the constitutional obligation to serve every citizen equally. Its universal delivery infrastructure is such a great value that FedEx and UPS use it for "last mile" urban and rural deliveries.
Facing a declining mail volume economy, USPS employees have used the collective bargaining process to trim 110,000 positions and increase productivity through automation and route adjustments while maintaining service.
The USPS budget shortfall is a legislative issue. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act obligated the USPS to prefund 75 years of future retiree health benefits with 10 annual $5.5 billion payments covering current and future employees. The $42 billion already in this fund covers 20 years. No other federal agencies have this obligation and private sector companies don't choose to make prefunding their highest corporate priority, but the USPS must.
The editorial recommended the pending Ross-Issa Postal Reform Act of 2010. This single legislation doesn't address the prefunding problem while Rep. Stephen Lynch's (D-Mass.) HR 1351, with 181 co-sponsors, offers bipartisan solutions redirecting $55 billion to $75 billion in USPS civil service retirement overpayments.
These are not taxpayer dollars. Allow the USPS to regain its footing using its own money and integrity to provide Americans the best service possible.
Scott A. Van Derven
President, Wisconsin State Association of Letter Carriers