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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
U.S. Postal Service workers gathered in front of Madison’s main post office to protest potential privatization suggested by the Trump administration.

U.S. Postal Service workers gathered in front of Madison’s main post office to protest potential privatization suggested by the Trump administration.

Madison’s postal workers hold ‘U.S. Mail Not For Sale’ rally against privatization

Madison postal workers gathered Monday in front of the city’s main post office on Milwaukee Street for the “U.S. Mail Not For Sale” rally protesting threats from the Trump administration to privatize the postal service.

The rally, happening simultaneously with others around the country, was organized by the four national postal worker unions. U.S. Representative Mark Pocan and state Senators Mark Miller and Janis Ringhand attended and were scheduled to speak, but they were drowned out by the noise of adjacent traffic.

“There have been efforts to privatize the postal service for many, many years,” said Keith Steffen, letter carrier congressional liaison to Rep. Pocan. “It’s important to keep informing people about these efforts.”

Steffen said the postal unions’ main concern is President Trump’s appointment of a presidential task force on postal reform in April. The task force’s findings, reported to the president in August, will not be released until after the midterm elections. The report will likely include an unpopular proposal to sell off the U.S. Postal Service to private companies, Steffen said.

He added if privatization becomes a reality, companies like Amazon, UPS or FedEx would attempt to take over their function and undermine service to low-volume areas.

Resolutions have been put forward in both houses of Congress expressing a desire for the U.S. Postal Service to remain “an independent establishment of the Federal Government ... not subject to privatization.”

The House Resolution is co-sponsored by more than half of the Representatives, but only 42 senators have signed on. Steffen said any attempt to push through privatization would be met with a lot of resistance, especially if the midterms bring a Democratic majority to either house.

In 2006, Congress passed a law requiring the post office to prepay 75 years of retiree benefits in advance. The deficit created by these payments were cited as reasons for privatization, Steffen said.

“We're trying to prepay retiree healthcare benefits for employees that haven't been born yet,” he said. “It's really an imposition of financial burden that was deliberately placed upon the postal service in order to create financial hardship.”

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