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posted: 1/9/2017 1:00 AM

Appropriate reforms can keep Postal Service strong

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Your readers were well-served by Burt Constable's column on the U.S. Postal Service (Jan 4). That doesn't necessarily mean we agreed with all of it, but rather that it was highly informative, nuanced and thorough -- and conveyed in an engaging narrative full of history and context.

Here's a little more about what USPS and letter carriers do beyond delivering the mail. The Postal Service is the centerpiece of the $1.3 trillion national mailing industry, which employs 7 million Americans in the private sector, including 380,439 Illinoisans. It's the nation's largest civilian employer of military veterans, with nearly one-quarter of letter carriers wearing their second uniform.

Every May, letter carriers conduct the largest single-day food drive to help replenish food banks, pantries and shelters from coast to coast; the recent 24th annual drive collected a record 80 million pounds of food. Every day as they deliver mail on their routes in suburban Chicago, letter carriers help save the elderly or other residents who have fallen or experienced medical problems, put out fires, locate missing children, rescue people from burning cars after accidents or help stop crimes in progress.

These are among the reasons the Postal Service is consistently rated the public's most-trusted federal agency, and why it enjoys enthusiastic support from lawmakers across the political spectrum.

If Illinois' elected representatives in Washington act on practical, targeted postal reform that addresses the unfair pre-funding payment discussed in the column, while preserving and strengthening the invaluable and profitable postal network, the Postal Service can continue to provide residents and businesses in the Chicago suburbs and across the United States with the industrial world's most affordable delivery services.

Fredric Rolando, President

National Association of Letter Carriers

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