Letter: Closing small post offices is the wrong approach

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It is no secret that the U.S. Postal Service is experiencing a time of financial instability, partially due to the decline in mail volume. However the root cause of the Postal Service’s struggles are largely due to the way Congress extracts Postal profits.

The Postal Service does not utilize tax revenue to support its operations. It is self funded through the sale of postage. For years Congress has used the Postal Service as a cash cow, requiring billions in over-payments to the retirement system as well as about $4 billion each year to pre-fund retiree health benefits. No other agency is required to pay these fees and this is nothing less than Congressional extortion of Postal Service employees. The Postal Service is not a private business; it is a public service that is provided to all citizens of this country. This includes the neighbors and friends of the Station-A Post Office on Congress Street in Portland, which is being considered for closure.

Requiring customers to travel to other offices shows a troubling disregard and the Postal Service should recognize that customer service should be their first priority. Eliminating the point of sale in response to reduced revenues invokes a devastating spiral of death for any business. Former Congressman Berkley Bedell stated: “Show me a company that ignores revenue and focuses on cutting costs, and I will show you a firm that is headed for failure.”

Closing small post offices is the wrong approach to put us back on track and postal workers will be ensuring that the public is aware of the current plans. Together with our customers we will fight to keep small post offices open for business.

Tim Doughty

President, Local 458

American Postal Workers Union