PRESS RELEASE – June 22, 2012
Communities and Postal Workers United
Jamie Partridge 503-752-5112
Tom Dodge 410-236-2300
Seattle: David Yao 206-310-1183
San Francisco: David Welsh 510-847-8657
Chicago: Melissa Rakestraw 847-466-3786
New York: Johnnie Stevens 917-402-4755
Philadelphia: Joe Piette 610-931-2615
In support of POSTAL HUNGER STRIKE
Rep. Dennis Kucinich calls Press Conference:
Monday, June 25th , 10 am, House Triangle, Capitol East
Ten postal activists from across the nation will descend on Washington, D.C. Monday morning to begin a “Hunger Strike to Save the Postal Service.” Intent on shaming Congress into action to “repeal the pre-funding mandate” and “refund the pension surplus,” the hunger strikers will “engage in dramatic actions” on Capitol Hill and at postal headquarters.
Among their actions are a Monday, 10 am press conference at the Capitol with Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Tuesday, 9 am “Stop the Robbery” march from postal headquarters to the Capitol, and a Wednesday, 9 am “Tell the Truth” protest at the Washington Post. The hunger strike will climax with a mass rally at postal headquarters, L’Enfant Plaza, 4pm on Thursday, June 28th to include an attempt to “encounter the Postmaster General.”
Gathering to vigil every morning from 8-9 am and every afternoon from 5 – 6:30 pm outside the Rayburn House Office Building on Independence Avenue, the protesters will spend the bulk of their days demonstrating at Congressional offices, wearing their yellow “Hunger Strike Back” t-shirts with the message: Congress is starving the postal service.
“We could easily protect the Postal Service if Congress would address the agency’s overpayment into its Retiree Health Benefits program” said Kucinich.
The protesters claim that a 2006 Congressional mandate, which forces the US Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance, is responsible for the financial crisis facing the service. Without the mandate, postal revenues came close to matching expenses over the past six years. The USPS has also overpaid tens of billions into two pension funds, according to the Office of the Inspector General and the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The hunger strike begins the week before the U.S. Postal Service downgrades delivery standards for first class mail. Beginning July 1st, overnight single piece first class mail delivery will end.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has announced that he will then begin closure of half the mail sorting plants in the country and cut hours from 25 to 75% in half the nation’s post offices. Forty thousand jobs will be eliminated. “It’s not necessary. The postal service is not broke,” said Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier traveling from Portland, Oregon for the hunger strike. “It’s not the internet, not private competition, not the recession — Congress is starving the US Postal Service.”
The hunger strikers are calling on Donahoe to maintain delivery standards and suspend cuts and closures while allowing Congress to fix the finances by repealing the prefunding mandate and refunding the pension surplus.
“The Postmaster General is sending the service into a death spiral,” said Matt McAuliffe, a mailhandler and hunger striker from Denver. “By slowing the mail, one to two days, the postal service will drive away customers. Those most dependent on the mail, the elderly, the poor and rural communities will be hit the hardest.”
“Corporate interests, working through their friends in Congress, want to undermine the USPS, bust the unions then privatize it,” said Tom Dodge, a hunger striker and postal worker from Baltimore. “We will not stand by as our beloved postal service is destroyed”.
Sympathetic hunger strikes and other local protest actions are being organized in cities nationwide, including Seattle, Olympia, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Hundreds of individuals and groups have endorsed the hunger strike which has been organized by Communities and Postal Workers United, a national grassroots network.
National Call to Action – WashingtonD.C.
SAVE THE POST OFFICE
June 25 – 28th, WashingtonDC
America’s Postal Service is being starved to death, A 2006 Congressional mandate forces the
USPS to prefund retiree health benefits 75 years in advance. 10% of the postal budget, $5.5 billion
per year goes to prefund benefits for people who aren’t even born yet. Not only would the Postal
Service have been profitable without the mandate, the USPS has also over paid tens of billions into
two pension funds
Not the internet,
Not the recession,
Not private competition
Congress is killing the postal service !
The Postmaster General’s response is to speed the death spiral by pushing
forward massive cuts to service, closures of facilities and the decimation of living wage jobs.
Why ? Corporate Union Busting & Privatization !
We will not stand by as our beloved postal service dies from starvation. A group of postal
patrons and postal workers will declare a hunger strike on June 25th in Washington, DC.
We will shame Congress and denounce the Postmaster General.
We will engage in dramatic actions in the halls of Congress and at USPS Headquarters
to raise public awareness and turn up the heat on decision makers.
We invite all who care about our national treasure – enshrined in the
Constitution, serving over 150 million households and businesses six days
a week, providing universal mail services at reasonable, uniform rates –
to join, endorse and otherwise support our
Hunger Strike in Washington, DC or in their local area.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: WWW.CPWUNITED.COM