As a letter carrier here in Findlay, I felt the need to respond to the Jan. 28 Courier View titled “Beyond the post office.” While the main topic seemed to be the Postal Service’s partnership with Staples, the overall editorial failed to paint a clear picture of USPS’s financial challenges and the reasons behind them.
In the third paragraph, and later on in the piece, it mentions that the post office suffered operating losses of $5 billion in 2013. In fact, the agency had a $623 million operating profit last year and is projecting an operating profit of $1.1 billion in 2014. The Courier failed to mention the real reason for the $5 billion deficit: the congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits.
In 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was passed, which requires the USPS to pre-fund 75 years of future retiree health benefits in a 10-year window. No private company or public agency in America is required to pre-fund at all, and only about a third of Fortune 1000 companies do so voluntarily.
To date, the Postal Service has already put aside nearly $50 billion for future retiree health benefits, which is enough to pay premiums for decades to come. This pre-funding mandate accounts for 80 percent of the Postal Service’s losses since the payments began in 2007.
In the sixth paragraph, the editorial gives credit to the Postal Service for finding innovative ways to compete against FedEx and UPS. What The Courier doesn’t say is the USPS is currently delivering around a quarter to a third of our competitors’ parcels through its “last mile” network. If your package has “SmartPost” or “SurePost” on the label, chances are your city or rural letter carrier delivered that.
Those of us who work for the USPS understand the challenges our employer faces. We recognize the need for reform and have put forth ideas that will strengthen the Postal Service without diminishing the service that everyone has come to expect from this constitutionally mandated institution.
Jeffery M. Kranz
congressional district liaison OH-05
National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 143

Everyone sees the weather daily and the National Weather Service puts out forecasts. But how many people pay attention?
The weather service put out the cold weather forecast for January months ago.
Just because we haven’t had a winter like this one in years doesn’t mean we can’t be ready for it. But that wasn’t the case for some propane companies and now we have to pay the price for their mistakes. I say we shouldn’t have to.
Why should we pay for the propane companies that made this mistake?
Why didn’t they listen to the forecasts? I’ll tell you why, because they saw it as a way of making a lot of money off of us. I say we shouldn’t let this happen.
The government should force them to give us a rebate on this fuel that we are using to heat our homes. They can’t blame the National Weather Service for their mistake.
Most people know when it gets cold out to put on coats and when it rains to use rain gear. Why didn’t these big companies do the same?
Be prepared!
Philip A. Higley