With the Raging Grannies singing and union supporters marching, the rally against the impending closure of the Gateway mail processing center in Springfield, Oregon was a spirited, uplifting gathering of an estimated 40 people, during which seven people were arrested.
The protesters, including a peace activist and a retired letter carrier, were arrested for blocking the loading dock (a federal misdemeanor) with their sit-in, and refusing to leave when asked to do so.
The Register Guard reported the names of those arrested, “Among those arrested were Bart Bolger, a part-time rural letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service; Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier from Portland; and Peg Morton, a longtime Eugene peace activist.”
Watch here via Resist Privatization:
The protesters chanted, “Whose post office? Our post office!” demonstrating the public service of the post office, which is not taxpayer supported, by the way — unlike Walmart and Big Oil.
The Gateway mail processing center employs 169 people and is slotted to close sometime after February as a result of the Republican ALEC-led push to privatize the post office by bankrupting it. The closures of processing centers are part of the “cost-cutting” measures imposed upon the post office.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, “The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”
USA Today reported in July 2013 that the Postal Service “does not receive federal assistance, getting revenue from postage sales, delivery services and other products. But mail service has dropped nearly 25% from 215 billion pieces delivered in 2006 to a current volume of 160 billion.”
According to the Register Guard, over 100 processing centers have already been closed between 2012 and now, with more to come – eliminating 13,000 permanent jobs through attrition. Yes, that sounds about right for a Republican “plan” for success.
Republicans have been gunning for the post office for a long time, and recent postal woes can be traced back to President George W Bush signing the “POSTAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENHANCEMENT ACT in December 20, 2006, which forced the post office to pre-pay pensions – an ironic thing for Republicans to do, since their first love is cutting the pensions of workers while protecting the golden parachutes and cushy bonuses of executives.
Since it costs 5.5 billion dollars a year for the U.S. Post Office to do the GOP’s bidding and pre-fund pension packages for the next 75 years, they are between a rock and a hard place — or, exactly where Republicans/ALEC wanted them to be. As the Post Office struggles to survive under the crushing weight of GOP-imposed insanity, Republicans use that struggle to justify further killing the Post Office, in order to service their corporate buddies’ profits.
While it’s true that the postal service is facing fiscal challenges, these challenges would be best met if it were empowered to make its own decisions, just as any organization does. Congress has the power to do stop micromanaging the Post Office with GOP sure-fire failure laws, but of course Republicans are busy destroying the public’s faith in government by ensuring the 100% failure rate of Congress.
It’s ironic that the U.S. Post Office services rural areas that are unprofitable. One can imagine that the first thing to go if it’s privatized will be rural red state areas of great poverty, where we also find substantial use of food stamps and welfare. AKA, this is yet another example of the Republican base destroying itself.
h/t Ron Rabatsky @ExposingALEC