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Rural residents, union members, tout benefits of Postal Service Reform Act of 2022

post office vehicle
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

Union leaders and people who live in rural areas of Michigan held a press conference to express relief about the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022.

President Joe Biden signed the Act into law on Wednesday. Supporters hope the law is able to stabilize USPS finances, making the debate over privatizing the federal agency moot.

Elsbeth Inglis lives in a rural area of Barry County. She said private companies can make their own rules, and decide their own territories — and are unreliable where she lives.

"We have a long driveway off a dirt road, and some of those packages (delivered by private companies) were left in the snow and rain before I knew they were there," said Inglis. "Our postal delivery people always bring things to the door."

Roscoe Woods is Legislative Director of the Michigan Postal Workers Union. He said he hopes the Act will end talk about the Postal Service being privatized.

Woods said the pandemic highlighted the importance of a federal service that serves all Americans.

"My own father was pretty much stuck in the house," he said. "But he got all his medications, they came right to his mailbox, right on time, all the time."

The Act requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days a week, and requires the agency to report on delivery times and other metrics to the public.

It also allows the Service to find new sources of revenue such as selling hunting and fishing licenses, and other services that local governments could do in post office buildings.

The Act also removes the requirement for USPS to put money aside for future retiree health benefits, and will require retired postal service employees to enroll in Medicare.

Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters, who played a key role in shepherding the Postal Service Reform Act to the President's desk, said those two changes alone will save the USPS $49 billion over the next ten years.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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