On behalf of rural letter carriers

To the Editor:

On Aug. 1, 2012, the U.S. Postal Service will face its first-ever default on a congressionally-mandated $5.5 billion payment to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The payment is part of a 10-year plan to fund the next 75 years of postal retiree health care benefits, a requirement no other government agency or private corporation in America must meet.

National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA) President Jeanette P. Dwyer said of the payments, "This unfair burden has drained postal resources and forced the Postal Service to propose unprecedented service cuts to all Americans. Congress should fix these payment issues so we can get back to the business of modernizing our network and offering competitive services to customers six days a week."

Payments began after Congress passed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The Postal Service has said it also cannot afford an upcoming $5.6 billion payment due Sept. 30, 2012. It is doubtful the Postal Service will be able to make future payments as well.

The NRLCA is an independent union whose members include 104,718 full- and part-time rural letter carriers. Rural carriers deliver mail on 73,461 routes, serving over 40 million customers and driving almost 3.5 million miles each delivery day in all 50 states, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The average route is more than 47 miles long and serves 552 boxes.

Deborah A. Corey

President Vermont Rural Letter Carriers Association

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