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I’m a Postal Worker. If You Get Mail in a Small Town or Suburb, Listen Up!

I’m a Postal Worker. If You Get Mail in a Small Town or Suburb, Listen Up!

Kathy Toler

I’ve been a postal clerk for 23 years, serving my customers in a public post office in Gresham, Oregon.

As you might imagine, with the holidays fast approaching, it’s a busy time of year for us. Every day, I help my customers mail letters, cards, and packages across town and across the county. Even when we’re busy, it’s a joy to share a small part in spreading holiday cheer.


Literally, Bob just rolled by in his USPS truck. Yes, I know him by name and wave to him regularly when he drives by while I am walking my dog. He is good people, as I am wont to say. Retired military. Salt of the earth. He would be perfect if only he could refrain from delivering those bills…


It’s really complicated. It’s an institution. We like our postal workers. The system loses money. They have to prefund their retirement. They really do an amazing job, to me and do it consistently over time…despite Newman! But their business model needs updating, no doubt. I would be so afraid of privatizing.


Its “really complicated” only because the US Congress has been making it more complicated ever since they eliminated postal banking in 1967, and cut off general funds and renamed it USPS (from US Post Office) in 1971, concurrent with increasing Congressional meddling.

“Prefunding retirement” that started during the Dubya regime to levels no organization private or public has ever been required to comply with put USPS into its current downward spiral.


Republicans, who claim to revere the intent of the Founding Fathers, want nothing more than to get rid of the one and only federal agency that those founders thought important enough to mention in the Constitution - the Post Office. An agency they thought was an important bedrock part of our democracy and essential for a free people to remain free.

The Republicans not only don’t believe in the government doing anything that can be privatized, they don’t believe in the public good, nor do they really believe in democracy at any level if they can’t control it (see the power grabs in Michigan, Wisconsin, etc.). The Postal Service “crisis” only exists because of the idiot requirement that they fund pensions for employees who haven’t even been born yet!. The USPS could be an invaluable part of the social safety net if Congress would free it up to provide services for lower income Americans - postal banking for instance. But of course anything that can be monetized by the private sector must be according to the greedy oligarchs, so no doing anything for the public good.


How much do you want to bet that most of the “half of all zip codes” negatively impacted by these rate cuts are zip codes that love Trump and regularly vote GOP ?

Trump and the GOP know that most of these Republican voters will not defect no matter how bad Trump and the GOP screw them.


In Canada and the USA it was determined a long time ago that all Citizens should have equal access to such critical things like the Mail and by mandate peoples in smaller and more remote communities would pay the same rates for mail as those in Cities.

This is how a Democracy should function.

Nor was this limited to the mail. When electricity first generated Corporations had no interest in building infrastructure to deliver power to farms or remote smaller Communities. There was no profit in it. The Governments passed laws that MANDATED this and or in many places here in Canada developed Publicly owned utilities to ensure every citizen had access to electricity at the same rates being paid in the Cities.

Capitalism was and is a complete failure when it comes to treating Citizens equitably which of course means it fundamentally un-democratic.


That’s a good observation.

Having been brought up years ago with the usual mythologies, it took me a long time to recognize that democracies had derived from horticultural or agricultural federations.

The native form that has arisen from a national capitalism is fascism, poignantly enough. And there appears to something else assembling itself over the past 70 years or so, a sort of neoliberal rule-by-mafia of puppet states and a particularly dark eminence gris overclass.


This is not just a Repub power grab for capitalist enrichment. Dems are just as bad, if not worse with their neoliberal, privatize everything riff. A peoples’ post office run for their mutual benefit is anathema to both capitalist parties.

It’s funny listening to the committee meetings in the senate. Just like the only good military installation is the one in my state, the same goes for mail delivery. They push for privatizing out of one side of their mouth and out of the other praise the mail carrier that they have known for years. Hypocrites

You will have to identify the democrat senators that espouse privatizing the Postal Service. I know of none.


Like everything else, the Dems don’t have to “espouse” anything to let it happen. The Dems are on the privatization bandwagon, just as much as the Repubs are. They just aren’t as blatant and let the Repugs be the “leaders” in certain areas to keep the voters on board. Two wings - same capitalist bird…


Another question about the privatization of the USPS - where does all that mandated money go that is going to fund future generations of postal workers retirement if the USPS is privatized?


We can only imagine who will snatch that brass ring if it becomes available through privatization. Corporate? Perhaps. Republican senators gathering gifts from said delivery companies? Almost guaranteed. It’s a lot of pension money. You would think that it stays with the pension fund.

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No doubt in my mind, it’s probably already a done deal that Amazon gets to add to Bezo’s unimaginably obscene ‘wealth’.

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The cookies are already baked and bagged for our regular guy, who is always friendly, courteous, helpful and reliable. They’ll be waiting in the mailbox, along with the holiday cards going out today.


You mention Christmas giving to mail carriers. My experience is that the richer high end neighborhoods don’t reflect that in giving. The ones you might least expect are sometimes the most generous.


Those who are most appreciative are always the first to give what little they can spare. Humility in spades. They are the ones who will put you back on your feet when Mother Nature wreaks havoc with your house. They don’t always agree with my politics, but dogammit, they rock the humanity curve!


Wise words.


I’ve been a postal clerk for 30 years. I’ve made a good living and provided for my family during this time. I’m not responding here to disparage the postal service. So said, the postal service doesn’t have an opinion on anything because they are a government agency that ultimately answers to Congress. The employees however may have opinions of one kind or another. The original intention of US mail service was to provide fair rates to all US citizens even as they moved West back in the day. Along these lines, then, First Class service for letters, large envelopes, and small parcels is uniform throughout the US, its territories and commonwealths (in the Pacific, Caribbean, and elsewhere), and even for mail that is technically not domestic, such as APO, FPO, and DPO addresses in other countries where our military are stationed. Anyone interested in the way our non-profit agency operates should research the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 passed unanimously in both chambers of Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. In any case, flat rate mail is often the best bargain in shipping. But everything can change very quickly, so I would suggest everyone become informed. Eventually the question is: Do you want less government or better service? The choice is yours as reflected by your vote.