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Rally speakers blast USPS privatization idea

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 08. 2018 11:11PM
Protesters join in a national day of action in opposition to privatization of United States Postal Service at a rally at City Hall Plaza in Manchester on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service would reduce service to rural customers and cost jobs, speakers said at a rally Monday.

“Inevitably, privatization will lead to dramatically higher postal rates and sharply diminished services for the customers in rural communities” and in low-income urban areas, state AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett told about 100 people at a rally organized by postal unions outside City Hall.

The Trump administration’s government reorganization plan, introduced June 21, proposed restructuring USPS to prepare it for a transition to a privately held corporation. Some in Congress are fighting that idea.

“Corporate greed has no boundaries,” said Don Trementozzi, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1400 in Portsmouth. “This is a corporate scam. This is nothing more than the Trump administration trying to give his friends a fire sale (of assets) at the post office.”

USPS spokesman Maureen Marion, in an email, said “the consistent position of the postal service has been that our flawed business model is the root cause of our financial instability because it imposes significant costs on us without giving us adequate business flexibility to enable us to pay for them.”

Marion said, “Ultimately, it will be for Congress to decide whether the best path to financial sustainability is to preserve the Postal Service status as a government institution focused on our mission of public service, while giving us more authority to meet our responsibilities, or whether a profit-maximizing corporate model is preferable.”

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, urged those attending to get others to vote for pro-postal service candidates for the next decade.

“That’s how long it’s going to take to straighten out the mess that this President and his people have brought,” she said.

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, who’s running for Congress, said the push for privatization is “about putting Main Street ahead of Wall Street,” adding, “If it ain’t broke, don’t privatize it.”

John Dirzius, Northeast region coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union, said discussions over privatization date back at least three decades.

Today, the postal service often delivers packages for the “last mile” for the United Parcel Service, FedEd and Amazon, he said.

Post offices were closed Monday, and there was no mail delivery because of the Columbus Day holiday.

“The Postal Service certainly respects the right of our employees to participate in off-the-clock informational picketing on issues of concern to their membership,” Marion said.

Weare resident Mark Lavalliere, a maintenance mechanic working for the postal service in Manchester, said privatization talk has been going on for years.

“I think the current administration doesn’t have the public’s best interest in mind,” said Lavalliere, who’s worked 32 years for the postal service.


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