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Ovadia writes: "Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Monday helped kick off a hunger strike of postal workers protesting what they say is an effort to privatize and dismantle the cash-strapped United States Postal Service."

Congressman Dennis Kucinich. (photo: Kucinich.gov)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich. (photo: Kucinich.gov)



Kucinich Lends Moral Support to Postal Hunger Strike

By Tomer Ovadia, Politico

26 June 12

 

ep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Monday helped kick off a hunger strike of postal workers protesting what they say is an effort to privatize and dismantle the cash-strapped United States Postal Service.

The strike - which includes 10 postal workers, union activists and supporters, but not Kucinich himself - is the latest in a long saga of efforts to reform the postal service as it faces a dim financial future.

While lawmakers generally agree that postal reform is necessary, they disagree on the specifics.

"Make no mistake about it, this is an effort to try to privatize even more postal services," Kucinich said in reference to GOP efforts.

The strikers focused on a requirement they say mandates that the postal service pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance, drawing scarce revenues the postal service needs to evolve.

"The postal service has adapted to the change in the volume of mail," said Jamie Partridge, a national coordinator of Communities and Postal Workers United. "That's not what's killing the postal service. Not the Internet. Not private competition. Not even the recession. It's this prefunded mandate."

Kucinich argued that Republicans, by seeking to dismantle the postal service, compromise its effectiveness. That in turn allows conservative critics to point to it as an example of government waste and ineffectiveness, Kucinich said.

Republicans say the postal service is inefficient and slow to adapt to changing modes of communication. The postal service's mail volume decreased to 169 billion pieces of mail in 2011, a 17 percent drop from the 202.8 billion pieces delivered in 2002.

"Ever since [the postal service's] creation, Congress has layered on new rules and unfunded mandates," said Ali Ahmad, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Collective bargaining agreements that have prohibited them from making changes bring us to our current situation, where mail volume is declining. And mail volume is declining for reasons that are very good for the economy. People don't use as much paper anymore."

The Senate passed a postal reform bill in April that would make it more difficult for post offices to close and allow the postmaster general to offer buyouts and incentives to shrink the size of its workforce, including $11 billion in early retirement incentives.

The House has yet to pass a matching bill, although two dueling bills have been working their way through the process.

Issa has promoted the Issa-Ross Postal Reform Act, which passed his committee in October and will come before the full House in July or August, according to Ahmad.

"[Issa's bill] goes in the direction that helps support privatization," Kucinich said. "So I am not going to support that in any way, shape or form."

Democrats have instead rallied around H.R. 1351, which they say Issa isn't allowing to come to a vote before the committee. Ahmad said the legislation failed as an amendment to Issa's bill after a Congressional Budget Office report refuted its core assumptions.

The protesters plan to hold rallies on Capitol Hill, USPS headquarters and the office of the Washington Post (which has endorsed Issa's bill) before breaking their fast Thursday evening.

Asked if he intends to join the hunger strike himself, Kucinich said, "I'm a vegan, so I'm kind of hungry all the time. I'm here in moral support of their efforts."

 

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+30 # ronnewmexico 2012-06-26 18:33
Ironically the postal service is identified as one of the key components that helps our democracy function.

Urban areas.... certainly all would be served by private corporations. Rural areas....there is not enough population and consequently profit to make private corporations cover such areas.

Curiously these are typically also republican areas by vast majority.
Republicans with their ideology of no big government and anti union want very strongly to eliminate it.

Consequently rural areas.....no mail. AS private corporations will not provide cell phone towers 4G, high speed internet or any of that in rural areas.....there being no motivation to do so. Such it would be with mail...why should they?

Some things just do not favor privatization.. ..unfortunately we cannot tell that to strict ideologs, considering things in a ideological framework only.

Postal service, jails, education to name but a few...they want it all to fit their ideology.....Ch arles Dickens england is the end result....a quite horrible place for the most part.
 
 
+25 # bluepilgrim 2012-06-26 19:51
Section 8 of the constitution explicitly gives congress the power to
"To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;"

So what happened to all the original constitution arguments and 'respect for the founding fathers'? They will argue it doesn't count any more -- now that they want to do differently and make money on it. But they don't want congress to have to declare any more either. The constitution for them is sacred when they like it and toilet paper when they don't.
 
 
+3 # debraslone 2012-06-26 23:57
indeed
 
 
+3 # Alexis Fecteau 2012-06-27 00:56
What happened is simple - Republitards are traitors and hate America.
 
 
0 # bluepilgrim 2012-06-27 10:10
Should have been 'declare war any more'
 
 
+1 # Bodiotoo 2012-06-26 23:38
I love th ePost Office and the service it provides...but I also recognize that when created people did not expect daily delivery. I would suggest that it remains a function of the US Government and keep community Post Offices...even if that means a counter/corner in a local store...and reduce home delivery to twice a week...and ban those useless fliers that we can pick up when we get to the market.
The Postal Service binds us as a nation...mail can go out every day, but do we really sit waiting for delivery any longer?
End th ePostal Service and all the private delivery rates will go through the roof, and service will not improve...
 
 
+4 # debraslone 2012-06-26 23:56
Doesn't the constitution require Congress to provide a Postal System?
 
 
+2 # Alexis Fecteau 2012-06-27 00:55
I say eliminate hundreds of thousands of post offices...from those who desire them least, all the rural redneck counties who thrive on voting against their own best interests.

USPS would remain in populated, educated areas, hire robust staffs, and thrive and all get raises.

Leave the rural rednecks to pay $30 for every letter utility bill delivered in BFE Mississipi, Alabama, Texas...
 
 
+5 # conniejo 2012-06-27 08:25
Right on, Alexis! If the Republicans are able to pass a bill that guts the postal service, Obama had better veto it. If he does not, the postal service should respond by cutting rural post offices in the states represented by those who voted for the bill. Reap what you sow!!
 
 
+3 # ronnewmexico 2012-06-27 10:39
Locally in Albuquerque a fire chief years ago did exactly that type of thing. A city council was calling for pay cuts and reducing the fire service capability despite a growing population.
The fire chief was mandated by the city council to submit a budge showing reductions stipulated...

So he did..... all the stations proposed cut were in areas of the city councilors who supported the cuts. Needless to say the issue...dropped dead in the water. A normal budget then was called for and approved. People like fire stations where they live.

So the postal service could approach this...but they will not. Collective intelligence of mid and upper level bureaucrats.... .I would not rank that very high. .

Cut service in those rural areas where undoubtably the traffic makes it unprofitable... ...and the opposition congressionally comes from......

Don't cut days of delivery, hours of use....none of that.
Cut services where it is unprofitable... ..rural areas with largely republican constituency.

Let them have their cake of no big government and eat it as well...no mail service. You can have your mail...drive 50 miles to your nearest city where you may rent a postal box.....

It is all about profit isn't it....so why rural delivery...that is the most unprofitable thing postal service wise.

But that would require innovative thinking and what they call cajones...never happen that bureaucratic response.
 
 
+3 # Dumbledorf 2012-06-27 17:05
I wish people would just take a minute to think! This is another part of WAR CRIMINAL, George W. Bush's legacy. Bush is the one who wanted legislation passed to reform the post office back in 2006. The reforms were not needed. The post office had been running huge profits for years and Bush, to fund his illegal wars, did in fact, raid the post office's finances. On may 15, 2012, George W. Bush was FOUND GUILTY of WAR CRIMES ans cannot leave the U.S. without fear of arrest. "The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan."
 

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