This is part three of a three-part series on why mail is slow and what needs to done to correct it.
In the South Pasadena Post Office, built by the Roosevelt Administration during the Great Depression, today’s clerks work behind plexiglass shields to protect themselves from exposure to COVID-19.
By William J. Kelly
However, unlike similar plexiglass barriers in supermarkets, drug stores, and medical offices, which were installed by employers, the Post Office shields were assembled and paid for the local office manager. No help came from the U.S. Postal Service run by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy appointed the USPS Board of Governors, all the members of which were selected by the former President.
And therein lies the rub. That a federal employee would have to pay for shields to keep fellow workers safe speaks volumes about the systematic underinvestment that has plagued the U.S. Postal Service for at least 15 years.
But things may be about to change.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY 12th District), House Oversight and Reform Committee chair, is drafting legislation to reinvigorate the Postal Service.
“The Postal Service is one of our nation’s most vital and respected institutions,” said Maloney. “We need to pass meaningful reforms—and hopefully bipartisan reforms—to put the Postal Service on more sustainable financial footing for years to come.”
A committee staff memo outlines the potential components of Maloney’s forthcoming bill as including elimination of the requirement put in place in 2006 that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future. Eliminating this requirement would free up almost $6 billion a year for service improvements.
Likewise, the panel is considering requiring Postal Service employees to enroll in Medicare when they turn 65. Although they’re required to pay into Medicare, 25 percent of retirees never enroll. The Congressional Budget Office estimates requiring enrollment would save about $10 billion a year, freeing up money for much needed investments.
With more money in hand for investments and service improvements, Maloney and her committee colleagues envision requiring the Postal System to move the mail in a more timely way. The committee memo notes that even though the speed of mail deliveries has rebounded from its pre-Christmas low point when 40 percent of first class mail was late, today 20 percent continues to arrive late.
“This level of service is acceptable to no one at the Postal Service,” Postal Service Board of Governors Chair Ron Bloom admitted to the House Oversight and Reform Committee last month.
Sometimes to solve a problem the first step is to admit there is one. Only then can solutions become possible. That appears finally to be the case with the U.S. Postal Service, where the employees work tirelessly under difficult conditions to deliver your mail each day.
I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)