U.S. Post Office employees rallied at the Mercer Island office of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert on Tuesday to encourage him to sign a bill in Congress that could save 120,000 jobs and preserve Saturday delivery.
Despite widespread public perceptions that the service’s financial problem stems from things like the rise of email, Rick Horner, a Bellevue letter carrier who has 33 years of post-office service, says that’s not true.
“We’ve been able to deal with the invention of the telephone and telegraph. We can deal with this,” said Horner, who’s also the legislative committee chairperson for Branch 79 of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Seattle.
Instead, Horner blames federal legislation passed in 2006 that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund future health-care benefits for 75 years, and do it within 10 years at a cost of about $5.5 billion a year.
No other private company, or public agency, faces such a financial burden, Horner said.
The intent of the rally, plus others held at congressional offices across the country, was to urge Reichert to sign House Bill 1351, and also to motivate the public to become involved in discussions about saving the Postal Service, Horner said.
If Congress approves H.B. 1351, the money sitting in the fund could be used to fix the USPS’s financial issues, without costing taxpayers a dime.
The Postal Service “binds together this vast land nation, offering inexpensive service to every resident no matter how remote, and it also unifies individual communities,” Horner said.