In the wake of the USPS’ case for an $85 billion bailout being shot down by the GAO, the USPS mail carriers’ union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, announced that it was hiring Ron Bloom. Bloom is a former Obama Administration official who, in his capacity as “Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy,” helped engineer the restructuring and bailout of General Motors.
The Wall Street Journal notes that this is a sign that the postal workers union is going on the offensive against plans to cut funding and jobs as the USPS becomes less and less profitable.
The hiring of Lazard and Mr. Bloom indicates that rather than absorbing the massive job and infrastructure cuts being proposed by the postal service, the union is aiming instead for a role in the public-policy debate over how to prevent the collapse of the age-old institution and remake its business model for modern America.
The letter carriers say they have no choice but to go on the offensive. As part of its strategy to right itself, the postal service is aiming to slash $20 billion in expenses by 2015 by closing many post offices and mail-sorting centers, dropping Saturday delivery and eliminating 220,000 jobs, despite collective-bargaining agreements limiting layoffs. The agency is appealing to Congress to change laws so it can rapidly make these cuts.
While the USPS isn’t technically a government agency, it faces a lot of similar problems. And their workers’ union faces a lot of the same problems and the same incentives. It’s not an imminent battle, but the future of the USPS is probably going to be costly for taxpayers.
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