Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Letter Carriers leadership looks to the 1% to save the USPS

In a classic example of why our Unions are failing us, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) announced a plan to save the USPS.  The NALC leadership wants to raise stamp prices;  “tough” sacrifices from its members, and wants the USPS to be governed by a board much like a corporation with the members of that board to have “entrepreneurial experience”, writes the Wall Street Journal.

The USPS will only become profitable if it restructures itself like a business the Union’s report says. What a disaster.  It imposes sacrifices and hardships on the Union’s members and sacrifices all working people at the altar of profit.  With this plan, the leaders of the NALC are acting as the agents of the 1% inside our Unions.

The USPS is an incredibly efficient system.  No matter where you live in this huge continent, you can get mail delivered.  It is efficient because it is a public service: It doesn’t have to make profit.  Many offices they want to eliminate are in rural and poor areas. These rural post offices are more than a place to mail a letter.  For many people, the post office, as one postmaster opposed to the plan points out, “...often serves as a quasi-community center and information hub.”.  “Many of these small communities don’t have banks.  Many of them don’t even have cell phone service let alone the internet” he adds.
The 1% claims that the post office is losing $5 billion this fiscal year. They spend that in Afghanistan in the blink of an eye.  Individuals on Wall Street have earned $5 billion and more in a year. Congress passed a law in 2006 forcing the USPS to fund retiree benefits decades ahead.  Something it doesn’t do to the private sector. There is plenty of money in society; the issue is not that we’re short of funds.

The 1% wants to eliminate public institutions because they crowd out private capital and the opportunity to make profits.  We are taught to think only in these terms, that something cannot function without making profit.  We have to purge this thinking from our consciousness.  The heads of organized Labor refuse to do this and therefore cooperate with the 1% with tragic consequences for Union members and as society as a whole. 

The leaders of the NALC have hired Ron Bloom, Obama’s former auto Czar, banker and speculator who bailed out the auto bosses and helped them impose vicious austerity measures, job losses and wage reductions on workers.  The cooperation between the UAW leadership and the auto bosses has brought the wages and benefits of future workers in that industry in line with third world countries. 
Ron Bloom says that the problem is that the USPS is “asked to carry out a social mission, a universal service obligation….but on the other hand we want them to run like a business, break even and not consume taxpayer dollars.”

The “we” Bloom is talking about is the 1%.  The “we” he refers to has no problem wasting taxpayer dollars.  Spending another $10, $20, $30 billion on such a service is good social decision making.  The strategists of the NALC, and all organized Labor have no independent ideas of their own. Their world-view is simply a mirror image of the way the 1% sees the world-----everything is a commodity including water, health care, human bodies and minds. 

We call on the NALC members that pay the dues: You cannot allow your leadership in cooperation with the 1% to destroy your living standards, the lives of future workers and a great public service.  The austerity measures and war against workers must be confronted and for Unionized workers that means we must have an open struggle against these disastrous policies of our own leaders.  The unwritten rule of one Union not criticizing the policies of another must be trashed. it is only an agreement between officials.  We must organize fighting opposition caucuses in our Unions that reject this Teamwork with the boss and demand our officials change course.  Where we can we have to throw them out.

The first position of the NALC leadership should be no closures at all.  A postal service doesn’t have to make money it is a public service; its wealth and success is what it brings to the members of society as a service.

There should be an immediate campaign for a 30 hour five day workweek to increase leisure time and as well as employment. The NALC/AFL-CIO should also launch a major campaign to unionize all workers in the communications industry including those involved in Internet communications and call centers and it can use the money it is going to waste on Bloom as a start. 

Expand the USPS—no privatization of public services
Take FedEx and UPS under public ownership and integrate them in to the USPS
End the predatory wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
No war on Iran with our money
Make the rich pay
Build a mass workers political alternative to the Democrats

If you would like to receive this as a pdf for distribution at work or in your Union hall send us an e mail at: weknowwhatsup@yahoo.com

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