The United States Postal Service is a study in failure and is closer than ever to defaulting. The Postal Service is warning that without a government bailout (read, using taxpayer money to cover losses) it will default and could stop mail delivery completely.
The USPS has seen a steady decline in the amount of mail it moves because of the Internet. People use email for instant communication which means there are fewer letters being sent. Couple this with the advent of electronic cards, online bill paying, and the ability to browse catalogs online and it spells disaster for an agency that depends on moving mail to make money.
There are plenty of problems at the USPS and one is the generous benefits package that its 600,000 employees enjoy. Postal Union employees not only enjoy more generous benefits than their counterparts in other government agencies, they also have a provision in their contract that does not allow them to be laid off. No matter what the volume of mail is, Postal workers still get paid. About 80% of the USPS’s costs are for labor which is well above the private sector companies UPS and FedEx.
The government needs to contract out the delivery of mail. This constant bailout of the USPS is a drain on the budget and it will only get worse as more and more communications are completed electronically. It is time to rethink the benefits package and the number of employees needed to handle the job. While the USPS might not be able to lay off employees, it can let them go as part of a reduction in force (unless that is part of the contract as well).
Reduce mail delivery to five days a week, close unneeded post offices, reduce the fleet and contract the delivery of mail to private sector companies who must work within a budget and who cannot run to the taxpayer when financial trouble hits.
If the government decides to use taxpayer dollars to bailout the USPS then that bailout must come with provisions to rework the union contract, eliminate the no lay off provisions (and any reduction in force clauses that exist) as well as reworking the benefits package that USPS employees enjoy.
There is no reason taxpayers should feel the pain of the financial problems of the USPS while postal employees continue the ride pain free.
Never surrender, never submit.