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Monday, June 25, 2012

US Postal Workers Hunger-Strike to Protest Budget Cuts

Posted by on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Good lord. From

"Rallies and marches just aren't working anymore," said Tom Dodge, 58, a postal truck driver from the Baltimore area who has participated in several marches and rallies to save post offices. "It's time to take a stand on this. The post office is a part of our Constitution."

The hunger strikers want the Postal Service to shelve its July plans to start closing or consolidating 48 mail processing plants. By the end of 2014, when the plan to shrink the postal network is completed, 229 plants will be consolidated or closed and 28,000 jobs will be gone.

They also want Congress to eliminate a mandate that has been a major financial drag on the service — annual $5.5 billion payments to prefund health care benefits for future retirees. The strikers say say eliminating the mandate would solve the Postal Service's financial problems.

It's a three-day strike, staring today and ending Thursday. It's not a Gandhi/Bobby Sands-level hunger strike, but when US federal employees are hunger-striking at all, you know the system is troubled. The postal service was short $5.1 billion last year and would technically be in the black if not for the mandated payments.

Locally, three postal workers will also hunger-strike in solidarity. The schedule for their rallies (in Seattle, Olympia, Vancouver, Pasco, and Wenatchee) is below the jump.

OLYMPIA — Monday, June 25, 1-2 p.m. at the Main Post Office, 900 Jefferson St. SE.

VANCOUVER — Monday, June 25, 4-5 p.m. at the Main Post Office, 2700 Caples Ave.

PASCO — Tuesday, June 26, 4-5 p.m. at the Post Office, 3500 West Court St.

WENATCHEE — Wednesday, June 27, 4-5 p.m. at the Post Office, 301 Yakima St.

SEATTLE — Thursday, June 28, 5-6 p.m. at the Federal Building, 915 2nd Ave.


Comments (15) RSS

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What would Newman do?
Posted by DOUG. on June 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Gern Blanston 2
If only workers in the typewriter manufacturing industry had staged a hunger strike, I'm sure it would still be thriving.
Posted by Gern Blanston on June 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
sepiolida 3
@2. Agreed. Deadtree mail is on the way out. It's terrible that people are losing their jobs, but this is progress overall.
Posted by sepiolida on June 25, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
ScienceNerd 4
The postal workers should just force people to watch The Postman. Although, they probably don't want to resort to torture.
Posted by ScienceNerd on June 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
LaborGoon 5
If the Postal Service runs in the black, which it does without the future employees' benefits pre-funding requirement Congress imposed, it remains a viable enterprise. The point is not to hunger strike over a dying industry, it is to call attention to a deliberate attempt by Congress to put the USPS in the red, in order to speed privatization. Congress's actions are directly responsible for the closing of many mail processing centers in Washington and across the country, and potentially ending Saturday delivery and door-to-door delivery.

Making the USPS slower and less consumer-friendly will also hasten its demise. Then we'll all be at the mercy of UPS, FedEx and the like, and whatever they want to charge us.
Posted by LaborGoon on June 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 6
@2,3: @5.
Posted by Max Solomon on June 25, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 7
"Then we'll all be at the mercy of UPS, FedEx and the like, and whatever they want to charge us."

And that's just the way Jesus and the Free Market like it!! Just look at the bang up job they did with the banks and health insurance. What could possibly go wrong by privatizing the USPS?!?!?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on June 25, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
Don't UPS, FedEx and the like rely quite heavily themselves on USPS to make pick-ups and deliveries in rural areas where distance and low-volume make it unprofitable for them to serve?
Posted by COMTE on June 25, 2012 at 1:26 PM · Report this
If the USPS goes under we will regret it in ways the limited imaginations of many SLOG readers simply cannot comprehend. But. Hey. Yeah. Progress and shit. Right?
Posted by tkc on June 25, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 10
@2 and 3,

The USPS does plenty of package deliveries; Amazon's free shipping is usually USPS, not UPS or FedEx. Do you think Internet shopping is on its way out?
Posted by keshmeshi on June 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 11
@8, yes. The rural hicks and 'baggers all point to the USPS as an example of 'Wasteful Big Gub'mint Programs', while utterly failing to realize what will really happen if the USPS is fully privatized. They will have screwed their own selves.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on June 25, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this

Well, that pretty much sounds like SOP for tea-baggers: screwing themselves over in an attempt to screw everybody else over in the process.
Posted by COMTE on June 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM · Report this
2&3: you must be living under a rock. yes, letter sending is greatly declined, but the amount of packages being shipped through USPS is massive. ever heard of ebay? amazon? etc
Posted by avocado on June 25, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
That absurd "pre-funding" requires the USPS to put money aside to cover retiree healthcare as much as 75 years into the future. In other words, Congress is forcing the USPS to insure retirees who haven't been born yet.
Posted by N in Seattle on June 25, 2012 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 15
I wonder how much UPS or Fedex will charge to deliver a piece of junk mail? I bet it's not practically free, like it is for presorted bulk mail.

That's one thing I won't miss when USPS goes under.
Posted by Free Lunch on June 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM · Report this

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