HolyCoast: Postal Service Unions Refuse to be Part of the Solution

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Postal Service Unions Refuse to be Part of the Solution

They are, in fact, a big part of the problem:
After skirmishes in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, the next big union battle is brewing at your local post office.

The U.S. Postal Service’s two largest unions blasted the financially strapped agency’s proposal to cut as many as 120,000 jobs and pull its workers out of the retirement and health benefits plans covering federal workers for a new benefit systems.

The Postal Service, which is facing a second year of losses totaling $8 billion or more, would need congressional approval for its plan and cooperation from the postal unions, which have contracts that ban layoffs unless Congress intervenes.

But the American Postal Workers Union, APWU, and the National Association of Letter Carriers, NALC, made their opposition clear.

“The APWU will vehemently oppose any attempt to destroy the collective bargaining rights of postal employees or tamper with our recently negotiated contract,” APWU President Cliff Guffey said. “Crushing postal workers and slashing service will not solve the Postal Service’s financial crisis.”
And yet, it will. They simply can't afford the labor costs now imposed on them, and people aren't going to pay $1 to mail a letter. So something has got to give, and staffing is one area where the Postal Service can make big cuts.

I'm sure we're like a lot of people in that we rarely send anything via regular mail. Almost all of our bills are paid electronically, we use email or social networks to stay in touch with our friends and family, and when I need to send a package I usually use UPS. Most of the mail that shows up in my mailbox is junk mail and ends up right in the trash. If the Postal Service were to cut service to five days a week...or even four...it wouldn't bother me a bit.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I wonder if I'm in the minority these days, as a heavy, heavy user of the postal service. Although I'm very active online and pay a number of bills via the Internet, I still correspond regularly by "snail mail," send and receive cards and letters on a regular basis, subscribe to numerous magazines, and regularly use the flat rate Priority boxes and envelopes. My dad and I often ship flat rate boxes of movies back and forth, and I also exchange DVD-Rs with other friends via the USPS. When our son starts college in Northern Arizona later this month, I'm sure we'll be shipping things like boxes of brownies or cookies to his dorm on a regular basis. :)

Many of my Amazon deliveries come from the USPS, although they're also spread around UPS, Ontrac, and FedEx.

All in all, I'd really struggle with a cutback in delivery days...but do think the USPS needs to cut back in other areas, like cushy pension plans and cheap junk mail rates. I've never believed the volume of business they get from charging such low rates could be worth all the work of sorting and delivering that junk mail, meanwhile the rest of us subsidize it with higher prices.

That said, the USPS also needs to do something about the caliber of employees. While some of the folks at my local office are great, in my line of work I regularly read depositions and arbitrations regarding USPS employee issues, and it's amazing and more than a little disturbing what a bunch of crybaby children work for the USPS. Many of them don't seem to have gotten past high school type cliques and "He's picking on me!" emotions. A more professional and mature USPS workforce would probably run a more financially solvent ship.

Best wishes,
Laura