Prepare for the Mailman Revolt
pic credit: toothpaste for dinner
Here comes the Postal Service "bailout" we've been waiting for!
The Fiscal Times:
Facing a projected $6.4 billion loss this year, on top of a record shortfall in fiscal 2010, the Postal Service is expected to slam into the $15 billion statutory debt limit established by Congress by the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30. At that point, it could be faced with the choice of running out of cash or defaulting on its sizable pension obligations, including a required $5.5 billion annual payment to fund future retiree health costs. This has intensified efforts on Capitol Hill to scrutinize Postal Service management practices, as well as to find ways to provide potential short- and long-term relief to the beleaguered agency.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-CA, convened a hearing today to take aim at the Postal Service’s recent deal with the American Postal Workers Union, representing more than one-third of the agency’s 572,000 person work force. The deal, which still requires ratification by the union’s membership, calls for a two-year pay freeze followed by a 3.5 percent wage increase over three years. "Eighty percent of the Postal Service's operating expenses are workforce-related. Costs must be reduced to align them with falling mail volume and declining revenue projections,” Issa declared.
But others suggest the major culprit is not current Postal Service management – which has reduced the size of the agency by 100,000 employees in the past two years – but rather Congress itself. While demanding that the Postal Service find ways to achieve economic self-sufficiency, members of Congress often have hamstrung the Postal Service with a series of restrictions aimed at averting blowback from their political constituencies.
Here's the good news: if the government shuts down on Friday, the bizarre structure of the Postal Service means mailmen will still be delivering (and, presumably, supervisors will still be taking PTO or sitting around doing nothing).
USPS may be looking at closing 3000 post offices around the country and wants the authority to do so more quickly, just like any other private business would be able to do if it had too many locations and not enough operating cash to run them. Might I suggest one post office in particular for starters?