Postal union pushes back on "red ink" story


Last week, the U.S. Postal Service management reported—as has become routine for years now—a hefty loss versus revenue over the past year. 

But in-the-know postal workers and the organizations that represent them are telling the American public that these and other “red ink” stories don’t add up. They don't even begin to paint an accurate financial picture of USPS. 

Bottom line? Much of the so-called “loss” continues to be caused by unfair burdens and accounting conventions imposed on the nation’s only 100 percent, “last mile” delivery service.

“The Postal Service reported out its Fiscal Year 2021 financial and operational results at the public meeting of the Board of Governors on November 10, 2021,” the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the largest postal employee organization, said in a release rebutting management’s numbers. “Despite an increase of revenue of $3.9 billion, the Postal Service posted a net loss of $4.9 billion for 2021.” 

“While the losses continue to create headlines, two things have been made abundantly clear from the latest results,” APWU stated:

“First is that the public continues to rely on the universal network of the Postal Service to meet their needs to conduct business, send correspondence, vote and shop. The pandemic has underscored the vital role of postal workers in our communities and we continue to step up for the public.”

“Second,” the statement continued, “is the urgent need for Congress and the Biden Administration to address longstanding issues effecting the Postal Service’s balance sheet. Passing the bi-partisan supported Postal Service Reform Act (as currently written), combined with Administrative action correcting faulty pension accounting, would eliminate nearly all of the Postal Service’s losses.” 

“Together, [accomplishing these changes] would alleviate the tremendous pressure placed on service, on postal workers and on the public and move the Postal Service closer to financial health,” the APWU concluded. “[L]awmakers and the Administration must act to ensure the long-term viability of our great national treasure."

Another major postal worker labor union, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), also spoke up, for reform and against the accuracy of the official accounting—specifying a big part of the calcultion problem.

The figures released by USPS last week, the union said, "drives home the need for postal reform to address the artificial red ink caused by the 2006 congressional mandate that the USPS—alone among all U.S. companies and agencies—pre-fund future retiree benefits."

2021 Digital Almanac

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