On behalf of the undersigned affiliated unions of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), we write to express our strong opposition to eliminating Saturday mail delivery service as a condition of fixing the impending shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. This careless and ideologically driven attack on the employees at the United States Postal Service (USPS) should be a non-starter as it fails to offer a bipartisan plan to fund America’s immediate and longer-term surface transportation needs.
As unions that represent workers in every mode of transportation, we understand the need to secure new revenues to upgrade and expand our system and infrastructure. We also agree that allowing default of the Highway Trust Fund would devastate critically needed highway and transit projects across the county, idle thousands of construction and transit workers, and impose self-inflicted damage to our still fragile economy. But seeking to eliminate Saturday delivery would only serve to delay and distract policy makers from considering legitimate proposals that are necessary to avoid a summer default. In fact, this misguided plan has already been condemned by key Senate and House leaders of both parties that are otherwise committed to funding our surface transportation needs.
The Postal Service would be earning profits if not for a congressionally imposed mandate from 2006 that forces the agency to prefund decades of future retiree health costs in advance. In absence of this ridiculous mandate, which no other company or agency faces, there would be no talk of a future “bailout” of the Postal Service. We should not have to choose between transit systems and decent highways and six-day delivery from the Postal Service. Slowing mail delivery and weakening the Postal Service will not solve our infrastructure crisis. However, eliminating Saturday delivery does come with one guarantee: it will kill jobs and stunt economic growth. The U.S. mailing industry supports 8 million jobs and represents 7 percent of GDP. Moving to five-day delivery will eliminate 80,000 good-paying jobs.
The fact remains that the USPS achieved an operating profit of $600 million for 2013 and is hiring and entering into successful partnerships with businesses like Amazon.com. Eliminating Saturday delivery would needlessly undercut these efforts and has no place in a debate over the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
We urge you to oppose any effort to fund the Highway Trust Fund through cutting Saturday mail delivery and instead pursue a bipartisan solution to avoid default. We stand ready to work with you towards this goal and on efforts to responsibly meet our nation’s transportation needs.
Air Line Pilots Association
Amalgamated Transit Union
American Federation of Government Employees
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Federation of Teachers
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
American Train Dispatchers Association
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
Communications Workers of America
International Association of Fire Fighters
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Longshoremen’s Association
International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, ILA
Laborers’ International Union of North America
Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association
National Association of Letter Carriers
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists
Sailors’ Union of the Pacific
Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers
Transportation Communications Union/IAM
Transport Workers Union of America