Mail carriers protest push to privatize US Postal Service

Local News

Mail carriers across the country, including here in Hawaii, gathered to protest plans by the White House to privatize the U.S. Postal Service.

They carried signs that read “U.S. Mail not for sale.”

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump established a task force to study why the Postal Service is losing money. His executive order said the USPS is on “an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.”

Recommendations are expected this week.

“The groups of people that will be hurt directly from privatization are those people in depressed areas, in the rural areas where it’s going to cost too much money. It won’t be profitable. Then they won’t be receiving service,” said Michelle Hee, president of the Hawaii State Association of Letter Carriers. “We will not be known as the service-oriented organization that we are today. It’ll be switched over to a profit-making business.”

The U.S. Postal Service has been in existence since Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General in 1775.

It has annual revenue of nearly $69 billion, more than half a million employees, and delivers 47 percent of the world’s mail.

However, expenses in 2017 were $72.2 billion.  

Boosted by e-commerce, the postal service has enjoyed double-digit revenue increases from delivering packages, though it hasn’t been enough to offset pension and health care costs as well as declines in first-class letters and marketing mail, which together make up more than two-thirds of postal revenue.

No final decisions have been made.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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