Would you let your pizza guy deliver your paycheck, or your ballot?

At the Beaverton Valley Times, USPS mail carrier Peter Shapiro has an op-ed - and alerts us to an alarming trend: contracting out of mail delivery service by the US Postal Service for new subdivisions and housing developments.

Across the U.S., the Postal Service is experimenting with hiring cut-rate private contractors to deliver your mail. Local postmasters who once had the authority to approve new addresses for delivery service must now get approval from higher-ups. Here in Washington County, mail service for 374 new addresses in the Arbor Park development near Bethany are slated to be contracted out. Additional addresses are being contracted out near Orenco Station.

Of course, as a mail carrier, Peter's got a vested interest. But here's why he thinks you should care too:

Those of us who deliver your mail are charged with maintaining its security and privacy as well as making sure it gets where it’s supposed to go. At a time when identity theft has become rampant, it provides a means of communicating – and conducting business – which has proved far safer than the Internet.

If you’re sending something valuable, we’ll provide extra protection. If you move, we’ll forward your mail. If you’re out of town, we’ll hold it until you return.

We’re there for you every day, no matter how bad the weather or how heavy the mail volume. But we do more than put letters in your mailbox. We bring medications to the ill and housebound. We build up personal relationships with our customers, watch their kids grow, send their care packages to loved ones overseas in the military.

If this USPS "experiment" of contracting mail delivery out to short-term hourly workers goes widespread, they'll be putting Social Security checks, paychecks, ballots, medications, and more in the hands of low-wage, untrained, uncommitted people - and well, all manner of bad things can happen.

Take action:

We’re having an informational picket line at the Beaverton post office beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15. You’re welcome to join us. If you’re driving by but can’t stop, honk your horn in support.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    Well outsourcing our military and Walter Reed healthcare operations to Halliburton has worked out rather well, so I'm very optimistic that this will work just perfectly.

    Bwwwaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

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    Thanks for the info.

    Here's a map to the Beaverton Post Office at 4550 SW Betts Ave. in Beaverton.

    See you there!

  • TG (unverified)
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    That's a teriffic idea! I wish they would start outsourcing the government as much as they have been doing in the private sector. Maybe something progressive might come out as a result!

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
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    "That's a teriffic idea! I wish they would start outsourcing the government as much as they have been doing in the private sector. Maybe something progressive might come out as a result!"

    Yeah, you can pick up your undelivered packages in Bangalore.

  • tg (unverified)
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    I didn't mean outsourcing to India! There are plenty of local companies that are probably more capable of doing the job than overpaid, money grubbing government workers.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    tg: Could you give us an example of the "money grubbing government workers?" I mean a specific example or two. I'm really curious given that Oregon is ranked 50th (that's last in case you were wondering) in compensation for bothh judges and many classes of University professors (both positions take advanced degrees).

    Personally I wouldn't take a job with the state because I couldn't afford the pay cut. In fact, I can't think of a single executive in the private sector who makes less than a similiar position with the State. So any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

  • tg (unverified)
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    Oh, so is that the justification why they only work half as hard, because they only get half the pay? Most of government could be streamlined significantly, leaving only the MOST qualified workers and weeding out the rest. Don't even get me started on their wonderful benefits, vacation and PERS packages. These more than make up for any supposed difference.

  • ID theft, anyone? (unverified)
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    Honestly, the thought of my ballot -- and close elections -- being in the hands of untrained contractors gives me the creepy crawlies. Is this the next career stop for initiative petition signature gatherers

  • TomCat (unverified)
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    I have no doubt thet the GOP would gladly contract to deliver ballots..... cheap. :-(

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    tg: "so is that the justification why they only work half as hard" is an opinion, not a fact. Again please provide an example.

    Strawman agruments really bore me and really offer nothing to further the discussion. And while were on the subject of benefits, are you suggesting that everyone should be grateful for a basic hourly wage, no overtime, no vacation, no healthcare, and no pension or retirement? I myself would like an economy that provided the basic protections just like the other 32 industrialized nations.

    I really hate being compared to Costa Rica and Gambia when it comes to health and child care.

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    I didn't mean outsourcing to India! There are plenty of local companies that are probably more capable of doing the job than overpaid, money grubbing government workers.

    Cuz the private sector has done such a bang up job managing health care. And private outsourced contractors like Halliburton would never screw up things like managing money in Iraq, taking care of food and equipment for the troops, cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina and the care of wounded vets at Walter Reed--right?

    Those damn government workers who are under the direct oversight and purview of the citizenry and are held to a higher standard couldn't possibly do better.

    I'm curious--how many times do we have to watch the private sector f-up these jobs before these anti-gubmint boneheads get it?

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    The troll is boring. Leave him alone. (FYI, "tg" troll is the same as "gt" troll.)

  • tg (unverified)
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    I don't think the private sector has done that bad at managing health care. When I was in France a few years ago I had to go to a government run clinic after I broke my leg. The service was abysmal. At least here you get quality care and are in and out of the doctor's office quickly. I wouldn't want the dumb government to make decisions related to my health! They can't even get a decent transportation system or education system functional.

    Anyway, back to the topic. If y'all are so freaked out why not do something "progressive" and have electronic, via the Internet voting or touch-tone for the Internet challenged. For the truly destitute who can't do this, then arrange to have ballots taken to them. There's a way to have some verification process for the person to know their ballot was received and counted. Be progressive, not 19th century, folks! Prove it instead of just whining and quibbling about everything under the sun and Bush is bad and all that asinine blather.

  • tg (unverified)
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    "The troll is boring. Leave him alone. (FYI, "tg" troll is the same as "gt" troll.)"

    Blah blah blah. Your drivel is boring and it never changes. I'm ready for a progressive idea to emerge not just this grovelling about everything under the sun.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    tg: Well, that's the great thing about America - choices.

    Seeing as you are so dissatisfied with government services (be it America or France) tell ya what - next time you have to mail a letter you can call FedEx and have them pick it up at your doorstep for $19.95

    In the meantime, I'll throw a $.39 stamp on my letter and stick it in the mailbox.

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    Posted by: tg | Mar 12, 2007 3:10:36 PM

    (scroll)

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    I don't think the private sector has done that bad at managing health care. When I was in France a few years ago I had to go to a government run clinic after I broke my leg. The service was abysmal. At least here you get quality care and are in and out of the doctor's office quickly. I wouldn't want the dumb government to make decisions related to my health! They can't even get a decent transportation system or education system functional.

    US residents pay vastly higher costs for healthcare than our European counterparts. And there are rafts of first hand accounts showing that the care in Europe is as good or better than what we get here in the US.

    The private sector has proved itself inept and incapable of managing much of what the government does..with the additional problem having no direct citizen oversight.

    Let's stop pretending that this is a good idea. Its been proven not to be over and again.

  • Anonymous (unverified)
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    Trolling aside...

    I am happy overall with the USPS just as it is. I think that overall they work pretty darn hard to do all that they do. I get better service from the USPS than I ever did with UPS or FedEx. Yes, a little competition might have spurned on a stronger committment to customer service in recent years, but privitizing any portion of the USPS is not a good thing.

    I am speaking to the choir, but there are certain things that should remain in the public sector and for the common good. That is one of the main things that divides progressives from conservatives. We believe that there are moral imparatives that can only be addressed when we pool our money and that we are only as strong as the weakest amoung us. That is a moral ethic and something that conservatives are sorely lacking.

  • tg (unverified)
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    "In the meantime, I'll throw a $.39 stamp on my letter and stick it in the mailbox."

    Well I'll save the .39 altogether and send mine via the Internet.

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    The USPS is a horrible mail bureaucracy--that is nonetheless the best mail system in the world. Any place that will carry a letter over 2,000 miles or more for less than .50 is doing something right.

  • tg (unverified)
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    FYI. Newsflash. In case you didn't know UPS, FedEx, Evergreen Aviation, Delta, etc. carry most of the USPS's letters already. Why is it such a "BIG DEAL" that now they want to also contract local carriers?

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    The fact that the United States Post Office is one of the very few, if not only bureaucratic entity mentioned and called for in the Constitution tells me how important the framers thought that government oversight and coordination is to such an irreplaceable institution. I agree with an earlier post. I have yet to see an instance where "outsourcing" to contractors has proven to be of any benefit to anyone other than the shareholders of said contractor. There is absolutely no way that anyone, least of all our government, could guarantee and then follow through with, our privacy and security with an outside contractor.

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    TJ -- I'm with you.

    I continue to be amazed that I can take a piece of paper, attach 39 cents to it, and someone will come to my home, pick it up, and deliver it to my friend's home 3000 miles away... and do it in three days. And get it right 99.99% of the time.

    It's a damn near freaking miracle.

  • Phil Jones (unverified)
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    I think I'll apply for one of those juicy contracts and hire a bunch of illegal aliens to deliver the mail. That's the American Way!

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    There are no doubt companies that would like to take over the USPS high volume routes and make a few bucks. Carrying truckloads of letters between Lake Oswego, Beaverton and the Pearl District might be fairly profitable for a private company. But I don't hear about any private companies asking for the privilege to carry a letter from Portland to French Glen for 39 cents.

    Is it just me, or has the prevailing creed in our country changed from "United We Stand" to "I Got Mine, So Fu$k You"

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    There's an awful lot that private businesses does much better than government. But basic infrastructure stuff seems to work best when the government runs it. Shareholders don't like losing ventures, and running mail to French Glen is a losing venture.

    If I were a business owner who suddenly took over the USPS, I'd improve my bottom line by cutting out the unprofitable routes. That's good business. But it's bad public policy.

    The history of the BPA and rural electric coops in Central and Eastern Oregon is another excellent example. The full story is too long to post. The short version is, without government assistance and non-profit coops, Prineville wouldn't have any electricity because no one could make money on it.

  • Michael Wilson (unverified)
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    The post office has been contracting out rural route delivery for years in many out of the way places.

    And if I recall correctly a guy named Ben Franklin printed a paper in Philly an needed a way for copies to get from town to town and a post office provided him with a government agency to do the job and it was sold to his friends in exchange for what I would never know. Michael Wilson

  • tg (unverified)
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    You whisper "outsourcing" to government sympathizers and they freak out. Give it a chance, be open minded and see how well it works. If it doesn't reevlauate.

  • pedro (unverified)
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    i am not agreeing with the troll, but i don't think the author really made an effective case as to why this may be a security/privacy threat. it is, however, certainly a threat to unionized postal workers, and contracting out to min. wage workers is probably not going to do more than transfer the "savings" to increased government services for the workers and their families, and of course, private sector "profits".

  • Patriot (unverified)
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    I don't want anyone delivering my ballots because VBM is an assault on all our voting rights. I want Oregonians to get their head screwed on right and recognize where the real problems with this proposal lie. And is not whether the P.O. or a private contractor is going to do a better job of letting you sit on your lazy butt at home to vote.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    States have been outsourcing PRISONS for years. WTF, magic of the marketplace and all that, right? Where's the Great Prevaricator when really need him to sell this great idea?

  • BlueNote (unverified)
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    I think I am not alone in supporting the Post Office. But the issue of govt. employee unions is a more complicated question. As private sector folks are sucked into a downward vortex by their capitalist bosses and the world economy, I am not comfortable with govt. employees who demand to be insulated from what is going on in the private world.

    In a perfect world, everyone from govt. employees to the night janitor would get a living wage, 100% medical and a fair retirement. Unfortunately, that is not the real world. If the night janitor does not get salary, benefits and retirement equivalent to govt. workers, it seems to me that it is not fair to expect him/her to pay taxes to support salary, benefits and retirement for govt. workers who make more money and have better benefits.

    I am as left as anybody on this blog, but I think progressives need to support the night janitor's rights over the well paid govt union folks.

  • tg (unverified)
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    If the janitor wants to better himself then he should go to college and better himself. I am so tired of the whining communist drivel. Didn't communism fail in the USSR - why are you trying to emulate their failed disaster?

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
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    "I didn't mean outsourcing to India! There are plenty of local companies that are probably more capable of doing the job than overpaid, money grubbing government workers."

    Postal delivery workers in Portland and Washington County haven't received a COLA raise in several years. I'm assuming you have or perhaps you believe in foregoing raises in the spirit of keeping company costs low, and to keep people from accusing you of being money-grubbing.

    And, as far as I can determine, you won't have any say in who or where the outsourcing contract goes, it will be up to the politically appointed postmaster. Can anyone say "no-bid contracts"? Is there any incentive for a contractor to provide service at a lower price? Not necessarily. If recent history is a gauge, all they'll have to do is donate faithfully to the Republicans.

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    As private sector folks are sucked into a downward vortex by their capitalist bosses and the world economy, I am not comfortable with govt. employees who demand to be insulated from what is going on in the private world.

    You argue that because non-unionized private-sector employees are faced with bad employers that unionized public-sector employees should also?

    How about the reverse? Let's make it easier for private-sector folks to unionize and rebuild the Great American Middle Class.

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    You whisper "outsourcing" to government sympathizers and they freak out. Give it a chance, be open minded and see how well it works. If it doesn't reevlauate.

    Cuz giving it a chance in Iraq, Louisiana and Walter Reed isn't enough evidence to reevaluate how much it sucks.

    The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again--and expecting different results. It would seem commentor "tg" is bumping up against crazy when it comes to privatization and outsourcing.

  • Greg (unverified)
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    I've been a USPS contractor for 9 years.I deliver mail to over 500 addresses every day.I protect the mail,deliver medicine,forward mail when someone moves,watch peoples kids grow up.Only difference between me and the author is i do it for about $40,000.00 a year versus his 60,000.00 to 70,000.00 or more.Postal contractors are not low paid hourly workers as he would imply.I would urge everyone to check out the postal contractor system for themselves,then make up your mind.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Greg:

    Do you really think postal carriers earn $60,000 (or more) per year? I find that hard to believe. You're going to have to site a credible source if you want me to believe you.

  • D103158 (unverified)
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    with a 39 cent stamp you can mail a private letter only you and the other person can read and toss away -- with the internet, IT IS THERE FOREVER for anyone to tap into and read. ANYONE ANYTIME for ETERNITY !!!

  • Alex Davies (unverified)
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    I'd rather have UPS or FedEx deliver my paycheck than the U.S. Postal Service deliver my pizza.

  • Peggy (unverified)
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    Regarding the USPS Privatization Plans. This isn't a possibility is has already been going on for years. Please visit APWU for more information on this proposal by the USPS. apwu.org

    Here is one update I found on the site.

    More About USPS Consolidation Plans

    Postal Service managers in Washington are planning to consolidate a large number of mail processing and distribution centers across the county. If they succeed, parts of many of these facilities will be shut down and moved far from the communities they serve — in some cases more than 100 miles. The plan will hurt service and make mail less reliable for all of us — not just those in affected areas.

    What exactly will the plan mean for all those who rely on the Postal Service?

    Mail will be collected earlier and arrive later in the day — perhaps even in the evening. There will be long delays in sending and receiving our mail — in fact, there could be week-long delays. And what about the many areas around the country that are particularly affected by consolidation plans?

    Local jobs will be moved out of areas and small businesses will suffer because of the slower, less reliable mail service.

    Many local postmarks could be lost. Just think about what that means for America ’s mail service. Checks will arrive late, bills will not get paid on time and important medications that are delivered by mail could take longer to arrive.

    With so many negative effects on the horizon, why would Washington even consider implementing such a plan? They say the consolidation of postal facilities will lead to greater efficiencies. But they have no conclusive evidence to support this.

    The reality is that the plan was devised by lobbyists for big corporate advertising mailers. These corporations pre-sort their mail and this plan will make it easier and cheaper for them to operate. So big special interests get bigger profits while citizens get slower and less efficient mail service.

    It’s not too late to stop this. Please, take action now by calling 1-8-777-OUR MAIL!

    [back to top]

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
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    "Didn't communism fail in the USSR - why are you trying to emulate their failed disaster?"

    If you're such a proponent of free market mail delivery, why don't you start up a delivery service in competition? Sort of like the Thurn und Taxis system described in Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49"...

  • Ted (unverified)
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    "they'll be putting Social Security checks, paychecks, ballots, medications, and more in the hands of low-wage, untrained, uncommitted people.. "
    So because someone is "low-wage" and "untrained" they're therefore "uncommitted"? I think you should be committed, and I think you owe an apology to all the low-wage earners out there. You Suck.

  • Sadie (unverified)
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    The mail is often used to commit fraud. Not only that, larger crime investigations often involve our mail system. If this were a non-government run system, how often do you think anyone would look in to these crimes? How much more open would our mail be to National Security threats?

    Would Joe's Express Mail Delivery Service be a partner in catching criminals who steal your identity after taking mail out of your mailbox? Maybe after outsourcing our mail we could then set up a new private "mail insurance" company that would help protect us if money is stolen from our mailbox. And none of us should worry because having an ex-felon, or non-citizen of the United States deliver our mail could never happen, it will be in the private company’s best interest to see to that.

    I have a friend who is a PDX Postal Inspector. I am amazed by the level of work involved in keeping our mail system safe. Just to get a small idea of what they do, check out this website: http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/newsmenu.htm

    Does anyone truly believe there is profit in management teams at a private company cracking down on criminals? I don't think so, therefore it won't happen.

    You see, postal workers who are Federal Government Employees are a key partner in keeping our mail safe. They have background checks. They are compensated with both pay and benefits. These are incentives that encourage them to help protect your mail, rather than try to harm you. Every day they report back to their management team. If there are signs that any of our boxes have been tampered with, they file a report and our local postal inspectors get involved immediately. Will a non-Federal employee feel the same responsibility to do so? I don't trust that they will.

    If your number one goal is to make as much profit as possible, then your number one goal isn't to look out for me or my neighbors.

  • Carrier (unverified)
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    It appears that there are several misunderstandings and alot of false statements being made about the contracting out issue. This is not new. USPS has been contracting out routes for years...and all of the transportation to the postoffices...and doing it successfully. Contractors do not work for a hourly wage. The contracts are awarded for 4 years by bid. The bid (should) include the time for hours to be worked, mileage, expenses, benefits, etc. No two bids are for the same amount of money..it is a bid. For instance, some people do not need health benefits as they are already covered by a spouse, etc. These people who bid are ex postal employees, ex military, retirees, people who need jobs and want to earn a decent and honest living. And a note, they go through more security checks, and more often than any postal employee. It seems to me that if postal employees want to fight this issue because of a sense of entitlement, then they should fight on that reason alone, etc. There is no need to condemn the vast majority of the American public who make less money that a postal employee. Remember, the soldiers that are risking their lives for you, generally make less than you as well as US Marshalls, police, firefighters, teachers, the list goes on and on. And these ARE special skilled people. For the comment on going to college..alot of the contractors are grads or in college...how many postal carriers do you know that actually went to college? Come on...maybe the unions ought to spend me time helping to get rid of the people who do not work or do their part and just sit around and complain and maybe things would be better. I am extremely disappointed in NALC's tactics. Its an embarrassment to stoop that low.

  • Carrier (unverified)
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    For Sadie: Are you stating that your integrity or the integrity and honesty of postal employees is only movitated by money? Since you have not done your research, I'll tell you..contract carriers work for the same supervisor as you do. They are followed and checked out just like you are. The postal inspectors do the same job whether you are a contract or regular employee. Not all people are totally movitated by money, some people are just plain honest and care about this country and the people in it...whether they work for the po or not. Certainly you can come up with something better than that...

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    Carrier, can you give examples of residential delivery routes that are not being run by USPS carriers?

  • Laura (unverified)
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    It's not suprising we're outsourcing the mail now. CNN broke the story about a couple of toll roads in the east being sold to foriegn companies. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is also up for sale. Maybe the Brooklyn Bridge is next?

    What really concerns me about private contractors handling the US mail is:

    It's only a mater of time before they start collecting/mining information from at the very least to outside of envelopes.

    Another concern, that probably a lot of people aren't aware of is the fact that a lot of evidence in criminal trials are sent through the US Mail. Our mail system is thought to be so secure that it's practically ezemted from the chain of custody required to be maintained for evidence.

    Bottom line is where does all the out sourcing stop? When will the IRS, elections, the courts, congress, and county clerks office all be outsourced?

    Folks need to wake up, smell the coffee! The coprporate community is taking over every aspect of our lives.

  • Carrier (unverified)
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    TorridJoe: There are rural routes all over the US being carried by contract carriers. These traditionally are routes that are small, very small. Most postal carriers would and do not want these routes. Some contract carriers will run more than one route per day because they are so small. Some routes could be 50 boxes, some 400, however there are also alot of smaller rural postoffices that a truck does not go to and the mail for that po will be dropped off at a hub po. The contract carrier will also be responsible for picking up that bulk of mail and transporting it to the approp. po before starting their routes and same goes in the afternoon to take the outgoing back to the hub. These people work under the supervision of the approp. postmasters in the po they work out of, and they must follow exactly the same rules as a employee. One of the reasons that some postmasters will say, and its generally true, that they have less problems with a contract employee is because they have no other agenda. There are no politics involved, no union to say 'Go Slow', no back stabbing, etc. that kind of thing. It doesn't matter what someone doing the same job makes becaue they bid their contract as they saw fit for themselves. There agenda is to come to work, do their job and do it well...period. They have nothing to gain by doing otherwise. Yes, they do it for less money but again, not everyone needs or is motivated by the almighty dollar. This does not make them "less than". It has worked well for the po. Is there ever a bad contractor? My answer is, is there ever a bad person anywhere, in any situation whether it be the local garden club or administration? There is always someone that causes problems anywhere you go. If someone goes into the postal service and decides that it is not for him, such as trcs and rcas which happen freq., they can leave..a contractor cannot without being sued for the balance of contract, etc. so he takes responsibility for it. And, another note...the gov. has always contracted out (Boing, Lockheed Martin, etc) and those people have security clearances that would make the po secuity look silly. Some of the contractors that I know have had secret and top secret clearances, so you cannot judge people the way the NALC is projecting. My problem with all of this is the way it is being handled, the amount of people complaining and making statements about everyone else without getting the knowledge of what they are talking about. The "people" that are being condemned here include the po employee's siblings, parents,children, other extended family and friends that make less than they do and that are not federal employees. Does that mean they are less creditable? If you believe in your opinion and you feel entitled, then stand up for that reason. It seems that there are an awful lot of employees just wanting to complain and bash everyone else just to have something to do and to try to get what they want at someone else's expense. Where is the integrity in that?

  • Sadie (unverified)
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    Carrier, I would argue that our soldiers, teachers, firefighters, and police officers don't make enough money, not that our postal workers make too much. I think everyone in our community benefits by having an abundance of family wage jobs.

    I agree with you, the size of your paycheck does not determine how moral you are. That said, the inability to provide for your family can lead people to make desperate choices.

    With so many uninsured and hungry Oregon families, I don't think we should give away a single opportunity for a family wage job in our community just because somebody is willing to do it for less. I'm not a believer in killing the middle class and this whole race to the bottom many in our country seem to be so excited to partake in.

    I believe that somebody shouldn't have to be college educated to be able to afford to house, feed, and protect their families. I also believe that everyone who wants a college education should have an opportunity to get one.

    Privatizing the mail carrier positions is not about giving opportunities to anyone, it is all about taking them away. This assault on the middle class of "contracting" employees is just an excuse to cut benefits and cut the budget for any and all government agencies that aren't part of the war machine.

    Job satisfaction is greatly related to how well compensated somebody is for the work they do. And job satisfaction is also linked to job performance. How many people go to their private sector jobs and say, "Hey please pay me less to do the same job as Jane over there, and I promise to work just as hard as she does, actually even harder. I know I won't be getting a raise for my efforts, I can make due without benefits, too. Maybe in four years I'll get the privilege of staying on a little longer for even less money, that would be great."

    And what on Earth would ever motivate somebody to leave the post office to go back as a contracted employee for no benefits and less money? That doesn't make any sense! Are they retired and able to collect their retirement benefits at the same time? Or is this a way to get them to retire early for fewer benefits and then hire them back on at a lower wage?

  • Carrier (unverified)
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    TorridJoe: First of all you are making the assumption that the contract carriers working for very little pay. That is not true. If you take the average postal carrier's pay, plus the cost of all of the benefits (which is generally equal to about 1/3rd of your pay) plus other expenses like management of your benefits, sick pay, vacation time. There are alot of admin costs involved in employees that are not there for contractors. Its alot more than your rate of pay. The point is, most contractors will bid for less than is feesible or less than they are willing to do the job for and less than what they need. You cannot make the assumption that because someone makes less than you they cannot provide for their family. Sometimes you have someone that either just wants or needs just a parttime job and doesn't want to work at McDonalds..and can make decent good money doing this. Not everyone that works is "providing" for the family, in a sense. People do jobs for lots of different reasons depending on their own personal circumstances. To say that someone is less honest, or has less job satisfaction because they make less money is absurd. If people like what they do then they have much more job satisifaction than just having the $$..ie: the carrier that loves to be outside doing their thing vs being in an office all day playing postmaster and pushing paper or someone in an office crunching numbers all day. That same number cruncher may be miserable out on a route. If a contractor is a good employee, he can renew his contract with some negoiating or he can open the route for bid at the end of the term. Its not like he is going to make less money. If it isn't working for him, just like any postal employee,he is free to leave at the end of that contract. I don't know where this idea of contract employees working for min. wage or something like has come from. There have been trcs and rcas that have left to go to contract because they do not have the time left in their lives to invest in only working limited hours until a route comes avail. This way they have a full income, working 6 days a week. There have been some retired people from all different walks of life that do not want to sit and 'retire' and so they work a small route and take very much pride in their work. I am not disputing that carriers earn their money. I like you wish that everyone was well paid. I am just saying that you cannot judge someone and their integrity or even their ability to survive just because they do not make the money you do. There are alot of people in this that make a great deal of money who do not earn it and some of those still do not support their families. The private sector is a completely different animal. You are generally not promoted because of politics or because you are next in line or have seniorty or have the union to ensure that you get that job. Yes, you must perform. Your future is in your hands. You know as well as I do that is not always the case in the po or any other large organization esp. that has unions. Unfortuntely, in the effort to protect the good, the union protects the bad as well...and that does cost money. It doesn't matter whether it is a labor union or human rights or some other rights org. It is just what happens. And I certainly do not have the answer to that one. You know I have had at least two postmasters say to me at one time or another that carriers are less than. This is not true. But the people making that statement for whatever reason have decided that if a carrier does not want the same thing in life as that postmaster, such as being a postmaster, then they are just stupid. That is an absurd thought and statement. And there are some people who would rather have a title than money. That personally makes no sense to me, but I am me and they are who they are. I have seen postal people take cuts in pay to be the postmaster of a extremely small boring post office simply because they want to be postmaster. Nevermind that what they really are is the only clerk, janitor, etc. and make less money. But they have much more job satisfaction because they are happy with their title. So again, you cannot judge people by what you personally think is important in life. You know the saying, don't judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Contractors are NOT trying to take your jobs. Contractors are simply taking work that is offered to them. They are NOT going to USPS and solicating this work. You problem is not with the contractors..it is with the po and the union. Why discredit these people? Again, where is the integrity of the union or employees when they discredit an inocent person?

    Remember, people have their own personal circumstances. Not everyone that works needs the benefits, not everyone needs a full day's work, some people do not even need to work. You have people that have gone back to school and need an income of some kind while they do that, you have retired people who just want to do something, you have the married person who needs just a bit of work, You have people who are not all that young anymore and cannot and do not have the time to get in with the po. There are all kinds of reasons people do the jobs they do. And if they love the job..great.

    Anyway, thats my view, for what it is worth.

  • GET OVER IT (unverified)
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    Why should government workers be treated any differently than private sector employees? Outsourcing and contracting has been going on for years and your ilk aren't crying foul over that!

    Look what Intel's got up it's sleeve now. Do you think THEY are going to remain in this business unfriendly state much longer and be subjected to more and more taxation all the time?

    Intel Gets Approval To Build $2.5 Billion China Factory Intel Corp has won approval to build a $2.5 billion, 12-inch wafer plant in northern China for CPU chip sets, according to a statement issued Tuesday from China's National Development and Reform Commission. http://update.informationweek.com/cgi-bin4/DM/y/e5Uj0GVl4r0P2d0E7XW0EZ

  • Carrier (unverified)
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    TorridJoe: I did a typo: The point is, most contractors will bid for less than is feesible or less than they are willing to do the job for and less than what they need.

    What I was saying is that most contractors will NOT bid for less than is feesible or less than they are willing to do the job for and less than what they need.

    Sorry.

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    that's great, Carrier--but I didn't post that response you're responding to. :)

    Thanks for describing what kinds of routes are being contracted. The description here is different--new, suburban, presumably busy routes--but on principle, I'll believe you when you say contractors are already delivering mail.

    But there's a difference between using contractors and "privatizing" the mail. I don't have anywhere near as much of an issue with contractors who work under a government postmaster, as I would with entirely private organizations taking over the entire apparatus unsupervised. That's not necessarily what's being proposed, just saying.

  • Carrier (unverified)
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    TorridJoe & Sadie..sorry. lol. Guess it has been a long day. I just noticed that post was from Sadie.

    I agree with you on the privatizing of the mail. I do not believe that the world is ready for that one. lol. That, I believe would be mass confusion everywhere.

  • KC Card (unverified)
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    Mr Carrier, The reason why you can make your income is because union clerks and carriers help build a national system unlike any other in the world. The real push for postal privatization is being made by James C. Miller, the Bush-appointed chairman of the Postal Board of Governors who was director of the OMB for Ronald Reagan. In the 80's he wrote a paper for the Cato Institute about ending the postal monopoly. If the postal monopoly ends, so will your exclusive "right" to those 500 deliveries. If anyone has access to the mailbox, every postal carrier will be out of work, both union and contract. You're a lucky leach Mr Carrier,sucking the blood of a universal delivery system built on the backs of a lot of hard labor. In 1970 when letter carriers went out on strike for collective bargaining rights they qualified for food stamps. They earn the money they make.

  • smarter than contractors (unverified)
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    Looks like most contractors would not have a problem living in or working for China as well as working in sweet shops with no benefits. But then again some people cant choose. In the contractors regard, your just stupid working for $40,000 and pay for your car, and pay for gas, and pay for health insurance, and pay for a bond, and pay for replacement when you want a day off, and pay for.... Is your stupid ass getting the idea... You probably think minimum is too high..OMG...

  • MC (unverified)
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    Here is the scary thing about these "contractors" The only requirements are they are 21 years old and reside in the community they deliver in. So, the guy down the street from you who served time for identity theft can now deliver your mail and all your neighbors and have access to all of that information!!!!!!!! We always worried about CONGRESS privatizing our jobs, we never thought the Postal Service would do it themselves!!!!!!UNBELIEVABLE

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    Look what Intel's got up it's sleeve now. Do you think THEY are going to remain in this business unfriendly state much longer and be subjected to more and more taxation all the time?

    Repeating the same old lie won't make it true. Oregon is one of the least taxed states for businesses in the country -- especially when you're as big of a business as Intel. Many small businesses pay more in taxes than the billion dollar companies. Intel even received huge tax breaks for going into Beaverton, on top of the already low taxes in Oregon.

    Businesses leaving Oregon has nothing to do with high taxes (which we don't have). It has to do with our poor education system, poor infrastructure, poor public safety, etc. Businesses want good schools -- not only to get their employees from, but also to tempt good employee candidates into moving into the area. They want good roads, bridges, etc. They want good public safety -- not only to protect their business, but this also goes back to creating an atmosphere that potential job applicants would want to move into.

  • Sandyite (unverified)
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    They've been contracting out the delivery routes up here for as long as I've lived here... eight years.

  • richard t. (unverified)
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    I've scanned the all of the above e-mails. No-one seems to understand that 1. The real issue is union-busting. 2. Even experienced management employees, including upper echelon officials in Washington D.C. are against contracting out. 3. The (Neo-Con) Bush Administration's is dedicated to privatizing the Postal Service. These are the same guys who bankrupted the United States, made our government hated around the world and continue to rob US citizens of their civil rights. 4. Of course low paid workers can perform credible work, but also low paid workers without benefits tend to be much more transitional. 5. I'll bet that the e-mailers who think privatizing is a good thing, will be the first to complain that their mail is late or that they have to travel from their homes to receive a package.

  • GT (unverified)
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    "Repeating the same old lie won't make it true. Oregon is one of the least taxed states for businesses in the country -- especially when you're as big of a business as Intel. Many small businesses pay more in taxes than the billion dollar companies. Intel even received huge tax breaks for going into Beaverton, on top of the already low taxes in Oregon."

    Oh, so you want the government to steal even MORE of our money so they can piss it away in the wind? The schools get enough - they just need to demand more accountability. Back in the 60's they didn't steal this much money and yet the education system was better. This government seemed to have enough to waste on the mass transient and tram systems. So then why do you and your liberal cabal continuously blather on that Oregon doesn't get enough of our money in taxes? Sure, the Europeans are taxed a lot more than we are and yet their government services reek to high heaven. Their kids are dumb and their hospitals are dirty and dingy and totally inefficient. Lets face it, the government is utterly incompetant. They cannot do anything right. And you want to force the rest of us to give these idiots even more of our money? Well if you're such the philonthrapic giver, then why don't YOU get a drive together and get all your liberal friends to give YOUR money graciously to the government? Keep your hands off mine. Thank You.

  • paul (unverified)
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    GT,

    If your spelling is any indication, American schools ain't doing so well, either. Save your brainless rants for the conservative blogs.

  • sandra tsaras (unverified)
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    richard t you got it union busting is at the top of the list contracting mail out costs the public more than having the postal worker do the job they were hired for the USPS does not care about the public it is the postal worker who cares and takes pride in getting the mail out to the customer contracters use illegal immigrants in the mailing houses at very low wages with no benefits many not even speaking english while the 1st class customer subsidizes them contarcting mail delivery out is just another attack by the republican party on the middle class and working poor and i implore every citizen and postal customer to contact their US Representitive (congressmen and senator)and tell them to end this attack on the workers of america

  • GT (unverified)
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    "If your spelling is any indication, American schools ain't doing so well, either."

    I was trying to speak to you at your level so that's why I was using poor spelling and grammar - so you would understand!

  • Peter Shapiro (unverified)
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    My Beaverton Valley Times piece didn't go into this, but it's true the post office has been contracting out some deliveries for a long time. However, these are mainly isolated rural addresses that could not be served any other way. Contracting out deliveries in densely populated urban and suburban areas like ArborParc is something new, and there is no logistical or practical justification for it. It's simply an attempt by the post office to get out its obligations under the law and the union contract. No overtime pay, no sick leave, no workers comp or unemployment or social security.

    If someone truly wants to work under conditions like this, I guess that's their prerogative, but working people have fought too long and hard against them for all of us to be dragged down to that level. My union would gladly come to the aid of anybody working under such conditions who wants to change them. We've done it before.

    As for customer service--I'm sure many would-be contract carriers are decent, conscientious people. But eveen if every one of them was a pillar oif virtue, the post office could not exercise the same kind of oversight of their work that it does with its regular career work force. If it tried to, somebody might conclude that they weren't independent contractors at all, just de facto postal employees being cheated out of what's rightfully theirs. (This has already happened at FedEx Ground, whose contract drvivers were recently declared by the courts to be FedEx employees with the rights that entails --including the right to organize). And if the post office doesn't exercise the same oversight, then it's maintaining different service standards for different sections of the population, and the principle of universal mail service goes right out the window.

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