6 Days Yes, 5 Days No… or something

On Sunday March 23 the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) held a rally on the New Haven green in Connecticut in an effort to raise awareness of what they believe will be the ramifications of reducing the current Monday through Saturday delivery of US mail to just five days.  Postal employees from all over the state were urged to show their support, and I decided to attend and photograph the event.

Rally

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Union thugs

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

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Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3)

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Sen. Blumenthal led several cheers of “6 days yes, 5 days no!”

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Max Goldman, aide to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) who had better things to do.

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President of the CT NALC, Charles Page

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CT AFL-CIO President, John Olsen

The rally lasted about an hour with approximately 400-600 in attendance.  At one point Sen. Blumenthal said that “UPS needs to back off!”  I’m not sure what to make of a US Senator telling a private company to “back off” from competition with a government company — which is what the USPS is, a company.  He also made it clear that the Congress has not approved the reduction in the delivery week to five days, and if the Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe makes the reduction without Congressional approval, “he will find himself behind bars.”

The highlight of Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s (who is known for her umm.. lovely taste in wardrobe) appearance was that she arrived in leather pants.

Personally I don’t support the reduction for two reasons.  The first is selfish.  It would directly impact my work environment if Saturday delivery ceased in multiple ways.  But more importantly, it won’t solve the problem.  The fiscal woes of the Post Office are deeply rooted in internal policies.  The amount of money wasted is absolutely mind boggling.  I have always said that if the managers and supervisors worked in the private sector making the same decisions they do now, they’d be fired immediately.

When management operates in violation of the agreed upon union contract it results in a grievance.  Eventually multiple employees receive monetary awards in the resolution.  Essentially, workers get paid as a penalty for management breaking the contract.  For example, so far this year, I have received almost the equivalent of two weeks pay in grievance awards, and many others have reaped much more.  Why do they make such poor financial decisions repeatedly?  Because the money doesn’t come out of a “Mr. Postal’s” pocket; there is no one directly feeling the impact of giving money away in grievance resolutions.  It doesn’t cut into anyone’s bottom line.

Until the internal protocols are reevaluated, five day delivery is merely a band-aid stuck shabbily onto a gaping wound.

Comments

  1. I have wondered what the reason for cutting service is, and know there is much fat that can be cut first, but this letter in yesterday’s paper was quite interesting:

    http://thegazette.com/2013/03/23/congress-crippled-postal-service/

    Congress crippled Postal Service

    The latest announcement by the postmaster general (plan for five-day delivery) requires a little background.

    Before 2006, Congress had unfairly forced the Postal Service to pay for pensions earned by employees for their service in the military. This money should have been paid by the Treasury. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 fixed that.

    But because Congress decided that the bill must be budget neutral, it concocted a scheme requiring the Postal Service to fork over $5.5 billion every year to prefund 75 years’ worth of future retiree health benefits within 10 years, a burden no other company or agency is required to do.

    Because the Postal Service has been an independent agency of the government since 1971, it makes its money from postage sales and services and pays its own bills. At the time the bill was passed, the USPS could afford it, so it wasn’t a problem until the economy sank into recession. The USPS has defaulted for the past two years on the prefunding requirement. That account already has $45 billion in it, enough to take care of retiree health benefits for decades but the Postal Service isn’t allowed to use it until 2016. Nice for Congress, right?

    The USPS’s money crisis has very little to do with being able to operate effectively and almost everything to do with this crippling and unnecessary prefunding mandate. Congress is lazy and unwilling to do the right thing.

    Andrea House
    Sigourney

  2. John,

    “Why do they make such poor financial decisions repeatedly? Because the money doesn’t come out of a “Mr. Postal’s” pocket; there is no one directly feeling the impact of giving money away in grievance resolutions. It doesn’t cut into anyone’s bottom line.”

    Then, why reduce service from six days to five?
    If expenses do not matter, taking that unpopular decision makes no sense.

    It’s seems for you that paying grievances means bad management. I think there is a lack of data to judge that. If a CEO makes a decision by which his company pays a fine of one million dollar whereas his company would get two million, is this CEO a bad manager?

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