Delegates passed a special order of business Saturday at the closing session of the 41st annual NYSUT Representative Assembly calling on the union to work with its national affiliates to press Congress to ease mandates on the U.S. Post Office so it has the opportunity to re-organize and remain viable, and continues to provide services well into the future.
Under a 2006 Congressional mandate, the Post Office was ordered to pre-fund future health care benefits, saddling the service with a deep financial burden that will hang over the agency for decades.
Delegate Loretta Donlon, RC 7, introduced the order, calling the mandate a "blatant example of privatization" and noting the problems faced by the Post Office are "not of its own making, but caused by an act of Congress."
"Sound familiar?" she asked rhetorically.
Exacerbating the Post Office's financial difficulties is the fact that it has not received taxpayer dollars directly since the early 1980s.
In an effort to offset its financial constraints, the Post Office earlier this year announced it would eliminate Saturday delivery. However, that decision was reversed after protests by the public and postal workers' union.
As part of Saturday's special order of business, delegates directed NYSUT to "strenuously" oppose any proposal that would diminish the postal service and adversely impact the agency's financial stability.
An amendment added to the special order of business also called on the U.S. government to be required to provide its own business to the Post Office.
The financial problems affecting the Post Office threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of workers, Donlon noted.
"This is a crisis for many in this public-sector union," she said.