Saturday service, door delivery and finances are just a few of the topics a Nebraska mail carrier union is discussing in Hastings this weekend.
Members of the Nebraska State Letter Carriers Association, a city mail carrier union, say they’re anxiously watching elections this year as legislation that could change mail service is discussed.
They’re also trying to set the record straight when it comes to looking at just how profitable the post office is. NSALC Congressional District 1 Liaison Brian Greunke says too many people believe the US Postal Service does not make money by doing its job.
“Everybody hears that we’re losing money, we’re losing billions, millions – last quarter, this last quarter that we just finished up, we made $1.4 billion delivering the mail,” says Greunke.
Greunke says package delivery, their main source of revenue, is doing well. He says it’s a congressional mandate pulling $5 billion out of their profits every year and funneling it toward 75 years of future health care benefits that puts their numbers in the negative.
“It’s contributing to almost all of the red ink that they’re bleeding out, so we’d like to get something fixed there so we don’t look as bad as what they’re portraying us to look,” says Jeremy Liebsack, NSALC Vice President.
The issue has these Nebraska carriers calling their congressmen and talking to candidates running for those offices in 2014.
“I just wish that Congress could see that we’re doing well and we don’t need to be handcuffed anymore with this prefunding mandate,” says Greunke.
The group is also pushing to keep six day delivery, saying that stopping Saturday service could eliminate as many as 100,000 jobs.
“It’s not necessary, we’ve proved that we can make money with what we have and we’re doing it six days now, so why would you cut service when you’re making money?” says Greunke.
“Besides the jobs, you’re also hindering smaller businesses, rural communities; people depend on that six days,” says Liebsack.
Another issue the NSALC is keeping an eye on: legislation that would stop door delivery. The carriers say it would be bad for elderly customers and businesses, and undermines their efforts to be active in their communities.