A Grand Alliance: Save The US Postal Service

by Sheryl Hamlin

Introductory remarks were made by Rob Weissman, Executive Director of Public Citizen, Josh Gray representing Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, APWU President, Mark Dimondstein and Actor, Director, Producer, Political Activist Danny Glover.

The three day webinar launched with diverse speakers: Judy Beard from APWU, Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies, Ian Kerr CEO of PostalHUB and Julia Kurnik from the World Wildlife Foundation.

Ms. Beard spoke of many issues confronting the USPS, but she indicated a positive step in the form of a “discussion document” produced by Representative Carolyn Maloney’s House Oversight Committee describing potential postal reform that was similar to one produced previously which included service standards and which addresses the mandate to prefund workers’ retirement benefits, among other topics. This article describes conflicts with Postmaster DeJoy including the new gasoline powered vehicles ordered by DeJoy.

Ms. Anderson spoke of financial innovation, clean energy, delivery monitoring, community care infrastructure, the digital divide, good jobs and community wellness centers, all of which envision the assets of the USPS in a visionary reform light. She also discussed the history of the USPS and said that innovations of the USPS such as parcel post were fought by Wells Fargo Bank who had its own delivery service The Pony Express and was initially formed to provide banking and delivery services.


Source: A Grand Alliance, Anderson presentation

Julia Kurnik from World Wildlife specializes in the “food for all” movement and proposed an environmentally friendly and financially feasible delivery of fresh food via the USPS. A food aggregator would be needed to match farmers with deliveries. She suggested Farmers Markets at USPS locations to publicize the service.

Questions

Questions from the webinar audience included how to combat pushback from high end grocery stores and farmers markets. It was pointed out from the audience that those countries which provided banking services have eliminated these services now. Covid provided a huge expansion of parcel deliveries, so how would the USPS capitalize on this volume? The suggestion was made about a Community Currency, a pre-loaded debit card which would be used locally, although this is similar to the method of unemployment benefit distribution, so would need differentiation. Questions about the new postal contract were raised and what success might ensue with “common good” proposals. The reality is that the USPS needs a capital infusion for new technology and equipment.

Breakout Groups

The Summit took advantage of the Breakout Group feature of Zoom where the participants were randomly divided into small groups. My group was “In the Public Interest” and covered innovations such as same day delivery, technology to mitigate an aging population where workers for strenuous postal work could be in short supply and how to interest young people in the importance and history of the United States Postal Service.

Summaries

Four breakout groups summarized their discussion for the whole attendance. All breakout groups will be summarized in the day’s report. A video is now available.

The Summit is three days. Register for the final two days and download material here.

A previous article on the USPS may be read here which describes the Mnunchin plan.

For information about the author click sherylhamlin dot com

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