December 15, 2011

The Dec. 6 news story “Postal proposal would slow mail delivery” ignored key reasons for the financial crisis facing the Postal Service, as did George F. Will’s Nov. 27 op-ed column espousing privatization of the service. Here are some facts to consider:

●The Postal Service crisis is not primarily related to the mail. Fiscal 2007 to 2010 saw a $611 million net profit delivering the mail, despite the worst recession in 80 years.

●The $21 billion paid since 2007 to meet the congressional mandate that the Postal Service prefund retiree health benefits for 75 years out and do so within 10 years (a requirement no other agency faces) accounts for 84 percent of the red ink. The mandate didn’t correct a problem; future benefits already were well funded.

●Most House members — 227 of 435 — are co-sponsoring H.R. 1351 to fix this congressional fiasco, which also has distracted postal management from developing a plan to meet society’s evolving needs.

●The Postal Service provides the industrial world’s most affordable delivery service, linking the areas of our vast country while delivering 40 percent of the world’s mail. Six years running, Americans have named letter carriers the most trusted federal employees. Worker productivity has doubled in recent years; customer satisfaction and on-time deliveries are at record highs.

●Ending Saturday delivery wouldn’t save taxpayers money, because they pay nothing now. It would cost them, as small businesses and residents needing Saturday service hire private carriers. Delivering goods ordered online is a growing Postal Service profit-maker. The best day to deliver packages: Saturday, when people are home.

Fredric Rolando, Washington

The writer is president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.