UPS

Republicans Applaud the Slow Death of the US Postal Service–VIDEO

“The USPS announced that it will end mail delivery on Saturdays this year.  Republicans in Congress have been waiting for this moment.  Ed Schultz talks to Rep. Gerry Connelly, D-VA, and letter carrier Audrey Himes about what can be done to save the postal service.”
U.S. Postal Service Reports Yearly Loss Of 15.9 Billion Dollars

This is the description of a segment on The Ed Show tonight.  You can watch the video by clicking here.

But this is not quite the full underlying story of the USPS’s predicament that it claims to be, as readers of www.vltp.net know.  Ed stops short of noting that this goes beyond the Republican Party, this goes to their owners – corporations, and their legislative “arm” – ALEC.  I guess that ALEC and the Republican Party are already so intertwined as to be indistinguishable–and that is before the new Republican Study Group-ALEC-Heritage Foundation (now headed by Jim DeMint) formal alliance as reported on in The Center for Media and Democracy‘s PR Watch by Brendan Fischer, please click here for link).

And of course, Ed Schultz needs to comply with MSNBC’s apparent business decision not to talk about ALEC–except when they otherwise make the news.

But I am very surprised about Truthout’s reporting of this.  Truthout is an excellent source for a wide range of information, and their copyrighted reports on The Other ALECs (which we re-printed with their permission here and here) go further than anyone other than VLTP or CMD’s Sourcewatch at identifying the various members of The Cabal.

Why am I surprised?  Well, here is a link to Bob Sloan’s expose on ALEC, The Koch Brothers, and the USPS as published here some 10 months ago.  And here is a link to an infographic in our Photo Gallery showing the Koch network of right wing associates.

But here is what I just don’t get:  If you treat the symptoms rather than treating the disease, you do not arrive at the cure.  If we are to neutralize ALEC then we must talk about them.  As Bob Sloan’s article showed, yes, republicans carried the bill through Congress.  Republican Members of ALEC.

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video and description were posted at:

The Ed Show
Feb. 6, 2013
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45755822/ns/msnbc-the_ed_show/#50725523

(please note that this clip has been edited to remove the other stories being introduced in the show’s opening)

Postal Service to Cut Saturday Mail to Trim Costs

The ALEC-led death spiral for the USPS continues.  We wonder what will happen after UPS and FedEX get the USPS privatized and then decide that they are not going to deliver the mail to unprofitable routes.  Who will pick up the  slack?  Who else–WE THE TAXPAYERS!

Hey there USPS Management and Union Leaders:  get out there and fight for your survival!  Instead of death by a thousand cuts, go public with the information we have given you about the ALEC-Koch connections to the privatization efforts. http://www.vltp.net/aleckoch-cabal-pursuing-privatization-postal-service-ups-fedex/ Try out some righteous indignation on the public which is once again being manipulated to generate more profit for ALEC Corporate Members at the expense of the taxpayers – and your jobs.

WHERE ARE YOUR FELLOW MEMBERS OF ORGANIZED LABOR?  IF UNIONS DON’T STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER, ALEC-WRITTEN-LEGISLATION WILL SUCCEED AT ELIMINATING THE UNION MOVEMENT FOREVER.

HEY THERE–AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME, IBEW AND ALL THE REST OF YOU UNIONS!  SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW UNION MEMBERS AND SUPPORT THE TAXPAYERS OF AMERICA.  FIGHT FOR YOUR SURVIVAL!  WHO ELSE IS GOING TO REPRESENT THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS?

Fight to survive or become history.
—The editors of www.vltp.net

WASHINGTON (AP) — Apparently trying an end-run around an unaccommodating Congress, the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to disburse packages six days a week.

In an announcement scheduled for later Wednesday, the service is expected to say the Saturday mail cutback would begin in August and could save $2 billion annually.
postmaster General Tom DonahoeFILE – In this Sept. 6, 2011 file photo Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan aimed at saving about $2 billion, the financially struggling agency says. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)The move accentuates one of the agency’s strong points — package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet services.Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday, but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages — and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully appealed to Congress to approve the move. Though an independent agency, the service gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.

It was not immediately clear how the service could eliminate Saturday mail without congressional approval.

But the agency clearly thinks it has a majority of the American public on its side regarding the change.

Material prepared for the Wednesday press conference by Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, says Postal Service market research and other research has indicated that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs.

“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” Donahoe said in a statement prepared for the announcement. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

But the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fredric Rolando, said the end of Saturday mail delivery is “a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers,” particularly businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication.

He said the maneuver by Donahoe to make the change “flouts the will of Congress, as expressed annually over the past 30 years in legislation that mandates six-day delivery.”

There was no immediate comment from lawmakers.

But others agreed the Postal Service had little choice but to try.

“If the Congress of the United States refuses to take action to save the U.S. Postal Service, then the Postal Service will have to take action on its own,” said corporate communications expert James S. O’Rourke, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame.

He said other action will be needed as well, such as shuttering smaller rural post offices and restructuring employee health care and pension costs.

“It’s unclear whether the USPS has the legislative authority to take such actions on its own, but the alternative is the status quo until it is completely cash starved,” O’Rourke said in a statement.

The Postal Service is making the announcement Wednesday, more than six months before the switch, to give residential and business customers time to plan and adjust, the statement said.

“The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation,” Donahoe said. “The Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the U.S. Mail.”

He said the change would mean a combination of employee reassignment and attrition and is expected to achieve cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually when fully implemented.

The agency in November reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion for the last budget year and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in retiree health benefit prepayments to avert bankruptcy.

The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand.

The agency’s biggest problem — and the majority of the red ink in 2012 — was not due to reduced mail flow but rather to mounting mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses. Without that and other related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion, lower than the previous year.

The health payments are a requirement imposed by Congress in 2006 that the post office set aside $55 billion in an account to cover future medical costs for retirees. The idea was to put $5.5 billion a year into the account for 10 years. That’s $5.5 billion the post office doesn’t have.

No other government agency is required to make such a payment for future medical benefits. Postal authorities wanted Congress to address the issue last year, but lawmakers finished their session without getting it done. So officials are moving ahead to accelerate their own plan for cost-cutting.

The Postal Service is in the midst of a major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, it has cut annual costs by about $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or by 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations, officials say.

They say that while the change in the delivery schedule announced Wednesday is one of the actions needed to restore the financial health of the service, they still urgently need lawmakers to act. Officials say they continue to press for legislation that will give them greater flexibility to control costs and make new revenues.

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This was written by PAULINE JELINEK  and posted at the Associated Press.  The original posting can be seen at http://bigstory.ap.org/article/postal-service-cut-saturday-mail-trim-costs

Massive Cuts to Postal Service a Step Towards Privatization?

editors note:  VLTP continues to follow the assault on the USPS…We wrote about this USPS privatization effort in April 2012: http://www.vltp.net/alec/senat… and released a full investigative report about such privatization efforts and how Congress was influenced to pass the The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act to begin the process of privatization: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/10What was not mentioned in this informative audio was membership in ALEC by UPS and FedEx and how ALEC lawmakers brought about the PAE Act in 2006.

Plan to restructure post office a big real estate play and boon to private courier companies

see the video at http://youtu.be/eOKY994hg5c

A proposal is currently being considered by the US Postal Service to sell its building in downtown Berkeley, CA and relocate its services. This is just one city that is feeling the impact of a crippling financial crisis currently affecting the Postal Service. In fiscal year 2012 it lost approximately 5.9 billion. And now thousands of buildings may be sold and thousands of workers laid off in what USPS says is an attempt to save itself, but critics argue is a step toward privatization.

It’s commonly understood that the internet and e-communication is causing the demise of USPS, but that’s not the full story. What seems to be the prime cause is actually a little-known law passed in 2006.

Susan Hammers, APWU: The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires prefunding of pensions 75 yrs into the future.

Augustine Ruiz, USPS: This is a huge burden on us and it’s unfair.

Gray Brechin, UC Berkeley faculty/activist: It seems as though it was designed to destroy the postal service. More →

Visit Delivering for America TODAY

here is something I received today that merits everyone’s attention:

A bad idea that could dismantle the U.S. Postal Service is gaining traction in Congress, and we need your help to stop it.

Working behind closed doors, holdover members of the House and Senate are trying to ram through harmful changes to the Postal Service before the end of the year — without consulting the American public.

The Postal Service needs reform, but this is not the way to do it. Any changes to this vital American institution should be made carefully, and must be based on a business model that ensures the Postal Service’s future success.

Unfortunately, the deal that is now being cobbled together takes a slash-and-burn approach. It would eliminate or drastically reduce Saturday and door service, and would slow delivery of mail and packages.

Visit Delivering for America TODAY to tell your members of Congress that you believe the Postal Service needs a workable business model that builds on the strength of its network, not tears it apart. Ask your member of Congress to wait until next year before they take up Postal Service reform.

Working behind closed doors?  If that sounds like ALEC--it is!  Furthering the aims of their corporate members who want to privatize the USPS and have been working on this plan for a long time.  If you have not read it already, please click here to read Bob Sloan’s excellent article – ALEC/Koch Cabal Pursuing Privatization of the US Postal Service for UPS and FedEx… exposing this grand theft of one of America’s most venerable resources.  More than 11 thousand people have read his report, and if you have not, you owe it to yourself to understand this situation which will affect everyone in America.

Does the USPS have Ties to ALEC?

Here at vltp.net we pay attention to the searches made by those who visit our site to see what interests our readers.

Last night the top search was  does the usps have ties to alec? which, in different iterations, is a common question.

The USPS is under attack by ALEC, which has been working for almost 10 years to have it privatized and essentially sold to ALEC members FedEX and UPS.  Please read Bob Sloan’s groudbreaking report on ALEC/Koch Cabal Pursuing Privatization of the US Postal Service for UPS and FedEx, which you can find at http://www.vltp.net/alec/aleckoch-cabal-pursuing-privatization-postal-service-ups-fedex

Merck Pharmaceutical and Wells Fargo Dump ALEC, While Duke Energy Holds Out

From PRWatch by Rebekah Wilce

Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, have joined 38 other major firms and cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a controversial “bill mill” that brings together right-wing legislators and corporations to draft controversial model bills behind closed doors. The exit of the two firms brings the total to 40 major American firms that have departed ALEC in recent months. Meanwhile, Duke Energy, the largest regulated utility company in the United States, has not responded to recent intensified consumer pressure to dump ALEC. Beyond their membership in ALEC, all three firms have been criticized for dodging taxes from 2008-2010.”

Read the full article at PRWatch here

Mail Handlers Union to Protest at DNC on Labor Day

We generally do not post articles about up-and-coming events, but our support for all USPS workers does not waver.  Please see the event details in our EVENTS section.  And please, support the USPS against privatization as laid out and executed by ALEC and their corporate members UPS and FedEx.

Privatize the Postal Service? That’s Just Going to Make a Small Number of People Rich

From AlterNet by David Morris –

VLTP has been fighting against privatization of the USPS by ALEC and others.  This taking over of the Postal Service by corporate interests has been ongoing for more than a decade now and recently the former Director of the OMB, Peter Orszag has written articles in support of privatizing the USPS.  Orszag is currently vice chairman of corporate and investment banking at Citigroup.
Much of Today’s problems with the USPS are a direct result of actions taken by Congress back in 2006, that forced the USPS to prefund retirement benefits of workers.   Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 the USPS was forced to prefund future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in ten years, something no other government agency or private corporation is required to do.  Congressional members with ties to ALEC were responsible for pushing this “Act” upon the USPS and getting it passed.  This legislation turned what should have been considerable profits into significant losses.  Indeed, 90 percent or more of the current deficit is a result of these artificially created debts.
When the 2006 Act was passed there were immediate increases in the price of stocks for both FedEx and UPS – both members of ALEC – and as we’ve written before, both seek access to the first class mail and parcel post contracts held by the USPS.
Read the full AlterNet article here

Compiled Thursday Coverage of the ALEC Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah…

Click on the article titles below for links to the articles or videos:
 “I know you’re being attacked by a lot of these leftist groups in your states. I know you are,” Ron Scheberle, ALEC’s executive director told lawmakers during lunch Wednesday before turning to the group’s corporate sponsors. “Thank you. Thank you for standing with us. I know you’ve been attacked a lot — extortion threats and letters. But those who are here today are standing strong.”

“Alec is a conglomeration of the world’s richest multinational corporations,” Jesse Fruhwirth said. “They’re a lobbying organization that relies on a pay to play, where if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can buy legislation.”

 “This corporate?funded 501(c)(3) organization…has unprecedented access to lawmakers and to the composition of the bills they pass into law. Out of Florida’s 160 state legislators, 60 have had ties with ALEC since 2010 through dues records or records of its task forces where corporate lobbyists vote as equals with legislators on “model” bills behind closed doors.”

Anti-ALEC Protest And Rally For Public Education Thursday

“The American Legislative Exchange Council has descended upon Salt Lake City for its annual meeting, and the nonprofit that secretly feeds lawmakers biz-friendly bills is being harried by local activists at every stop. Thursday activists are picketing ALEC for efforts to dismantle public education.”

Color Of Change Applauds Walgreens’ and General Motors’ Decisions to End their Membership in ALEC

“30 Companies Have Left the American Legislative Exchange Council, Announcement Comes During Group’s Annual Meeting in Utah; Civil Rights Organization Now Calls on Online Retailer eBay to Drop ALEC.”

Report claims Florida lawmakers do bidding of corporate-funded ALEC

“Some of the most controversial bills introduced recently in the Florida Legislature were thought up by out-of-state corporate interests with financial motives, according to a report released Thursday by a two national watchdog groups and Progress Florida. The report says the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a shadowy force exerting an uncanny amount of power over Florida’s lawmaking process.”

Pre-fab bills

 “Paying membership dues (often out of campaign contributions) in order to access “model” legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council is the legislative equivalent of purchasing term papers online (“ALEC bringing its clout, agenda and convention to Utah,” Tribune, July 15).”Any lawmaker who cannot draft his or her own legislation based on the needs of constituents has no business serving in the Utah Legislature.

“I elect local people to serve in our Legislature, and I expect them to focus on listening to Utah citizens to creatively solve local issues.

“Certainly, this is harder than simply downloading “model” legislation, but if you aren’t willing to do the work, don’t run for office.

“Buying pre-fab legislation from a secretive organization two time zones away is beneath the dignity of the office of an elected representative. This remains true, whether the organization is conservative or liberal.

Ingrid Griffee – Salt Lake City

“ALEC represents a pay-to-play system at its worst, a system where the most powerful corporations buy their way in,” Common Cause President and CEO Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, said.

ALEC under fire (Video)

“(Lisa) Graves points to the organization’s by-laws, made public through the IRS that say state chairmen “shallpropose model legislation in their states. State chairmen are sitting lawmakers, including Utah State Senators Curt Bramble and Wayne Neiderhauser and state representative Chris Herrod.”

Walgreens’ and General Motors Become 29th and 30th Corp. to Drop Membership in ALEC

From Color of Change –

“General Motors Company, the world’s largest automaker, has ended its relationship with the American Legislative Council (ALEC). Walgreens, the country’s largest drug retailing chain, has also parted ways with the right-wing policy group….

Walgreens Logo

“Walgreens will not be renewing its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”) where we have participated on ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. Walgreens will continue to be an active presence on critical health care and pharmacy issues facing the country and looks forward to continuing to work across the political spectrum in the public policy arena.

“On Monday, Bryan Roosa, General Motors’ regional director of state government relations, told a ColorOfChange staffer via email that, “GM has communicated to ALEC that we will no longer fund nor participate going forward.”

Read the entire article here