09.16.11

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Latest USPS Cost-Cutting Initiatives

I am concerned about the rash nature of the Postal Service’s latest cost-cutting initiative.  In Vermont, USPS is considering closing or consolidating 14 post offices, as well as Vermont’s only two mail processing facilities — in Essex Junction and White River Junction — which together employ nearly 300 Vermonters.  

Closing or consolidating our two mail facilities would put these jobs at risk at a time when sustaining and creating jobs is more important than ever.  Shuttering these facilities could also cause serious delays in mail service that Vermonters and Vermont businesses rely on. The Postal Service should not be balancing its budget on the backs of rural post offices. In states like ours, post offices are more than post offices – they are vital to the wellbeing of our small towns.

The Postal Service already has significantly cut its mail processing infrastructure in recent years. I am concerned that the USPS leadership has moved beyond necessary surgery, and is beginning to harm the patient. These further cuts could damage the future competitiveness of the Postal Service, not help it. To survive and thrive, the USPS must find new markets, including the market for package delivery. It is hard to envision the Postal Service slashing its way to greatness.

Although the USPS faces financial challenges, rectifying the health benefits pre-fund requirement and restoring the excess funds the Postal Service overpaid into the Civil Service Retirement System may go nearly the entire way toward balancing the Postal Service’s budget in the immediate future. 

Many concerned Vermonters have contacted me about these possible closures or consolidations of post offices and mail processing facilities. Senator Sanders, Congressman Welch, and I will do all we can to protect these Vermont jobs and post offices. We will continue to stand for Ben Franklin’s vision of a postal service that ensures all Vermonters have access to high quality mail service. 

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