We know this is hard to believe, but it’s true. The USPS, facing a loss of $8 Billion for this fiscal year alone, has begun contract negotiations with the National Association of Letter Carriers and The National Postal Mail Handlers Union which combined represent 247,000 of the Postal Services 560,000 employees. The main thrust of the negotiations seeks the union’s “buy in” to these massive projected layoffs.
USPS says the current economic environment, along with the shift to digital communications resulted in mail volume plummeting 20% to 171 billion pieces last year. Over the last four years the postal service has actually reduced its size by 110,000 career positions and saved $12 billion in costs. But those measures are not enough to save the Postal Service now; they are a “band-aid” solution where major surgery is required.
According to the USPS’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President, Anthony Vegliante, “if the Postal Service was a private sector business it would have filed for bankruptcy and utilized the reorganization process to restructure its labor agreements to reflect the new financial reality.” Wow, what a thought! Should the Federal Government have allowed General Motors, Chrysler Corporation and many of the financial institutions they gave billions of taxpayer dollars to to take the same road that Mr. Vegliante suggests for private sector businesses? We wonder what the outcome would have been.
The Postal Service will have a very rough road ahead if it thinks the unions will just roll over and play dead; that has never been part of their playbook. Perhaps you’ll see your local postal carrier at the “Occupy Wall Street” rallies in the very near future. One other thought that perhaps the beauracrats have not thought about. How about hiring some folks from the private sector to inject some new blood into the Postal Service and create additional services that just might compete with UPS and FedEx; last we heard those company’s were making a profit- just a thought!