Dozens rally against privatizing US Postal Service notion on tax filing deadline day

Steve Tawa
April 15, 2019 - 5:06 pm
Dozens gathered at Philadelphia City Hall to protest the notion floating around Washington D.C. of privatizing the US Postal Service.

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- On tax filing deadline day, postal workers gathered in front of Philadelphia City Hall to put out a "Not For Sale" sign. They're opposed to a notion floated in Washington by Trump administration officials to privatize the US Postal Service.

The legislative director of the American Postal Workers Union Local 89 in Philadelphia, Cynthia Heyward says the Post Office dates back to the Founding Fathers, who established it in the US Constitution.

She calls it a public service which was never designed to make a profit.

“Zero tax dollars go toward supporting the Postal Service,” she said.

So, is there what, a misconception?

“Most of the public aren't aware that the Post Office makes its earnings off of postages stamps, and our products and services,” she explained.

Heyward says the postal service is part of the "fabric of America," pointing out Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general.

She says if it was in private hands, rather than existing for the public good, low-income people and rural areas would get hurt.

“We have the lowest rates in the world,” she said. “We're the most efficient in the world. This is a service to the people, and they're trying to privatize the post office.”

Heyward says the Postal Service is obliged to serve all Americans regardless of where they live - at 55-cents a letter.

“We have the highest approval rating of any other federal agency, 88 percent approval rate,” she explained.

Mike Gallagher, the eastern region coordinator for the union, says while the Postal Service is operating at a deficit, it's contrived, because of a law Congress imposed to "pre-fund" future retiree health care costs 75-years into the future.

“That automatically causes the Postal Service to operate at a deficit,” he said. “No corporation has that onerous responsibility and can afford that kind of monetary outlay.”

He says that mandate doesn’t apply to any other agency.

Gallagher also points out that privatizing postal services hasn't exactly worked out elsewhere.

“Privatizing in the UK has led to an 80 percent increase in costs,” he adds. “In Portugal, where they privatized, they shut down a third of their post offices.”

He says in other countries, privatizing resulted in wage cuts and job losses for postal workers, and increased prices and reduced mail delivery for customers. Critics say privatizing the US Postal Service would result in higher costs, reduced mail days, and the end of delivery to every address