USPS Seeks to Gut Unions, Abandon Agreements, Pensions

The financially-strapped & mismanaged U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its work force by 20% and withdraw from the federal health and retirement plans because it believes it would lower costs.

The layoffs proposed would be achieved in part by breaking labor agreements…an ominous portent for the right to collective bargaining. In fact, the USPS seeks to have federal law altered to attenuate collective bargaining rights by its unions altogether.

The plan would require Congressional approval but, if successful, could be precedent-setting, with the ripple effects of losing 220,000 jobs throughout the government and economy being incalculable.

During the past four years, the service admits it lost $20 billion, including $8.5 billion in fiscal 2010. Instead of getting with new 21st century technology to remain competitive as the publishing industry has had to, it whines about the use of e-mail replacing 1st class mail, its traditionally most profitable class. Rather than capitalizing on its assets and scope to generate greater revenue, it proposes diminishing its services to kiosk style outlets. The lack of imagination, critical problem solving skills, and initiative at the highest levels of postal management couldn’t be more stark.

As the nation’s largest employer with a larger workforce than even the US military, postal officials propose a RIF (reduction in workforce) of 220,000 employees…exhibiting a hostility to career personnel seldom seen in a business so dependent on worker dedication, ability, loyalty, honesty, and dependability. The nuances in its language being circulated in documents on Capitol Hill seethe animosity toward career employees, collective bargaining rights, labor agreements, pensions, health care benefits, and unions…all this in an economy where finding work to support a family is increasingly difficult in America.

Readers may find the cute phrasing of terms like “right sizing” in the following blueprint of how to eliminate those pesky career employees telling as a form of ‘goodspeak’ in this brave new world of the unemployed.

Draft Proposal on ‘Right Sizing’ postal workforce, breech of labor contracts, abandoning pensions/health care plans, eliminating collective bargaining rights

A couple of examples of the fat needing to be trimmed being most concentrated in the skulls of upper postal management follows:

This afternoon at the main Shelton post office, an entirely too tolerant woman provided her debit card to purchase 3 postal money orders totaling about $550. The clerk submitted it to the card reading machine which dutifully accepted it and immediately debited the money from the customer’s account. The next step was to provide the woman the 3 postal money orders she had purchased. But the integration of the two steps was flawed…the printer would not complete the transaction. After a call to the bank, it was determined the charge could not be reversed and she would need to file a time consuming (weeks) ‘charge back’ to have the funds returned to her account. This all took over an hour as the line of other customers waiting to be served grew out the entrance of the building. Naturally the postmaster blamed the clerk(s) (who do NOT program the computer systems), though neither he or any other supervisors (including their tech support hotline) could remedy the situation.

Lesson learned?:  Do NOT purchase money orders from the post office with anything other than cash (they won’t take a check or credit card) which you can demand be returned immediately in the event they cannot provide the service/item you purchased. Besides, if the money orders total over $500 and are being sent overseas/abroad or to relatives back in Mexico, some of the more ‘dutiful’ postal employees will report you.

Lesson 2:  Some years ago (this is not an atypical story), a Shelton postmaster named Sue once from the Aberdeen office was disciplined in a fashion for some sexual peccadillo by being sent to the Shelton office, it having a reputation of being a remote hardship assignment. The commute was long and Sue bridled but needed the job. It did provide her with a private office in the public works era historical building. And postmasters don’t have to punch time cards like their blue collar underlings. So Sue would habitually show up 2+ hours late every day and leave 2+ hours early. The amount of work she actually performed in the intervening 4 hours remains speculative. But, being in the public sector, she received her full paycheck just the same. Other area postmasters (including Olympia’s) and the supervisors were taking long lunches (sometimes 3 hours) or seen in one another’s company at casinos during working hours.

So now the post office is at risk of failing due to its inability to meet its obligations (cut Saturday deliveries is now one of its mantras) while whining about the meat in the sandwich instead of the lard. Instead of shedding the fat, it proposes amputation for those blue collar workers who do the heavy lifting.

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