peoplesworld.org: The latest steps by Trump-named Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to cut Postal Service costs by cutting service have drawn bipartisan flak from Capitol Hill and prior protests from USPS workers from Medford, Ore., to Newburgh, N.Y.
And from the Postal Rate Commission, too. DeJoy told the regulators last month his cuts are—in so many words—none of their business and to sit down and shut up. The panel, whose usual work is to consider and vote on postal rate hikes, refused. They plan to review his “reorganization.”
But then, such behavior is to be expected from DeJoy, a Republican big giver and denizen of the corporate class. Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a banker known for wrongful foreclosures during the pandemic, forced DeJoy on USPS as part of the price for sidelining right-wing attempts to privatize the U.S. mail. DeJoy’s sneered at congressional and other oversight ever since.
The latest saga has its origins in DeJoy’s ten-year plan to put the USPS on a sound financial footing. Past parts of the plan include slowing mail deliveries, closing smaller sorting centers in favor of mega-facilities, forcing workers to move or quit, and incessantly raising prices.
And, in one area where DeJoy and the nation’s postal unions agreed, both lobbied successfully for the section of a postal reform law which ended the $6 billion yearly pre-payment a prior GOP-run Congress and GOP President George W. Bush imposed on the Postal Service, to prepay future retirees’ health care costs.
Under DeJoy’s plan, the USPS was to break even this year, on paper, for the first time in at least 15 years. But DeJoy reported a $1.7 billion loss from April-June and forecast a $5.2 billion loss for fiscal 2023, which ends Sept. 30.
His latest cost-cutting move, launched last year in a test run in Georgia, closes “back office” functions in hundreds of post offices and forces Letter Carriers to drive dozens, if not hundreds, of round-trip miles to regional “Sort and Delivery Centers,” to pick up the mail they now sort in post office back rooms before heading out to deliver it.
Most individual post offices would stay open, but only to sell stamps and provide similar services. But not all: A post office in the rural Baltimore County, Md., town of Fort Howard, whose residents are mostly elderly and without cars, is scheduled to close by Sept. 30. Their postmaster told them about it. Now, residents walk to the post office—Fort Howard’s that small—to get their mail.