Friday, August 12, 2011

Going Postal

Zerohedge has a good post about the USPS and it's dire circumstances.

The US postal service is on the verge of bankruptcy - That's what happens when you have labor force compensation (80% of all USPS costs), which is paid an average of $41.15 an hour, and which is over 60% unionized - with the union looking for more in the way of compensation while blocking any means to reduce significant costs.

So in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy, the USPS is now looking to pare down its total overhead by 20%, which translates into 120,000 workers - however this kind of cost reduction is apparently prohibited by existing union contracts! Additionally the USPS also wants to "withdraw its employees from the health and retirement plans that cover federal staffers and create its own benefit programs for postal employees."

Do you think the union will go for that?
Seems they don't understand the reality of their situation.
Their employer is BROKE!

The Washington Posts writes:
The layoffs would be achieved in part by breaking labor agreements, a proposal that drew swift fire from postal unions. The plan would require congressional approval but, if successful, could be precedent-setting, with possible ripple effects throughout government. It would also deliver a major blow to the nation’s labor movement...

The Postal Service said, “We will be insolvent next month due to significant declines in mail volume and retiree health benefit pre-funding costs imposed by Congress.”...

“The Postal Service is facing dire economic challenges that threaten its very existence. . . . 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”
Looks like the unions will be killing yet another goose that laid the golden egg...

They have already laid to rest the motto:
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"

Which by the way was a quote from Herodotus' Histories (8.98), referring to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire:

It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed. (trans. A.D. Godley 1924)

A portion of this variation also appeared without citation in the USPS 2001 Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations (1.A-1):[4]

We are mothers and fathers. And sons and daughters. Who every day go about our lives with duty, honor and pride. And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever.

...Except if the unions decide otherwise.

Perhaps we'll have to resurrect the Pony Express.


Anonymous said...

We should go to every other day mail delivery and fire half of the mailmen. Sounds harsh but it is the easiest and most effective solution. I really don't care if I get mail every day. The post office hours could remain the same and post office box deliveries would remain the same. The only difference is half as many postman out on the roads and half as many delivery vehicles. That could be a huge savings.

Libertarian Advocate said...

I've seen this in the private sector context. Had a client that was a commercial printer. Technology caught up with them and their clientele started doing a lot of stuff in house with the then new high speed larger format color laser printers. Shop offered to pay education/training to its unionized work force to learn the new technologies but no takers. Net result: Company went bust.

Only way I can see the post office making a go of it is too cut deliveries to 3/days week and drop the price of a stamp to 15 CENTS letter. I know, its counter-intuitive, but it could work through a surge in volume. Bottom line though, I think USPS is going the way of the Pony Express, unless of course we have economic and social meltdown, then Pony Express could be back.