Originally posted in the forums:
There is an issue pending regarding the budget for the USPS, which will have serious ramifications on those employed there -- which represent some of the last workers with benefits, and relatively strong unions in the entire country. Like many public services, it's been the whipping boy for conservatives looking to "cut back" on the same marginal group of real, working government-run systems, in favor of some nebulously "efficient" indeterminate private company, which is politico-code for "the guys who paid for my boat."
The fact is, like the air traffic controllers, the USPS was one of the first subjects of the Reaganomics experiment, has actually been self-funded (by postage) for thirty years (this also changed the atmosphere of the workplace, leading to the phenomenon of "going postal," because of pressure and latitude applied to supervisors, encouraged to get "efficiency" from workers by any abuse they wished). It's currently in peril now due to a "crisis" which somehow developed after Republicans forced it to budget for pensions (IIRC) into the next eighty years. As in they need pensions ready for retired employees that haven't been born yet.
The tragic comedy of this cynical manipulation is worse for the fact that the USPS really is more efficient than the private carriers, since it has the existing infrastructure to deliver to more places than private carriers can, and doesn't need to operate on the basis of raking in profits beyond sustaining its operations. Its economic soundness for the individual is born out in the reality that carriers like FedEx often simply outsource their packages to the USPS, because it's cheaper than doing it themselves.
As shocking as it would be to lose something so taken for granted in this country, it also bodes poorly for any further attempts to defend or establish unions, or any of the advantages associated with them. Consider the chilling effect introduced when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers; it's been downhill from there.
Already, Obama is soon to end Saturday deliveries, while plans to close tens of thousands of stations are on the horizon; and with those, massive layoffs.
This is all of personal concern to me, since my father has worked there for more than thirty years, and they're already not above firing workers, seniority be damned (they actually prefer keeping cheap, frightened temps when they can), and screwing them on pensions.
A response by "nobody":
1. The USPS has been attacked via a law passed in 2006 that forces USPS to pay more toward their pension fund than normal. This causes the budget to go into the red. This budget deficit is being used to reduce USPS service days, with the goal of privatizing more mail service.
2. This is happening RIGHT NOW. The USPS workers are 99%ers in need. If you don't support them today, why would they support Occupy tomorrow, or ever. By ignoring real situations like this, Occupy is losing opportunities to grow.
3. I went to the USPS picket, and talked about Occupy. Used social networks to connect the two. Found a few people online who would support Occupy in a heartbeat, and one offline who was interested.
If Occupy wants to be a single issue fight, it'll shrink. Especially if you overfocus on the Federal Reserve, because that's just of interest to libertarians and conspiracy theoriests.
The way to enlarge the fight is to find people in conflicts, and build coalitions.