Political Inertia May Be The Deciding Factor
Now that the Postal Service is showing the level of desperation that only a company typically in its death throes would show, just maybe the powers that be will act with some level of expediency.
The USPS is looking for legislative changes to the rules for Reduction In Force, pensions and health benefits. All of these changes require interaction with Congress to return funds overcharged for health benefits for future retirees, CSRS and FERS overpayments and—most serious of all—an allowance for reduction in force rules for bargaining unit employees. This last one will see the demise of the no layoff clause in craft and existing management contracts.
Considering the difficulties experienced by the nation as a whole in resolving the debt ceiling crisis and the partisan gridlock that seems to be unending in the Capitol, I am hard pressed to see a positive ending to these ideas brought forward by the Postal Service.
Affected government agencies have been arguing against refunding any money to the Postal Service, even before this request has been presented. OPM, the Office of Personnel Management in fact, says USPS owes them money! Suffice it to say that hell will freeze over before the unions agree to dropping the no layoff clause that has existed since 1971 and reaffirmed by arbitration in 1978.
Hopefully, the union leaderships will see the futility of that when they look at the construction trades folks agreeing to a 20 percent reduction in pay at the World Trade Center site to keep employed and the Connecticut state workers agreeing to cutbacks and salary and benefits to keep layoffs from happening.
These are lean times no matter how you cut it and you have to grasp handholds to keep from falling in some cases.
Some of the changes within the Postal Service that are coming down the road are serious enough to chip away at the very foundation of the organization, but there is no way that there can be no Postal Service. There is, however, every way that going forward will be different.
The Postal Service (Post Office Department) and the, at the time, growing mail industry survived the great depression, but it did not have the horror show of smart phones, tablets and ever expanding digital capabilities and compatibilities to deal with.
Working together, winning is still an option as long as we realize that the prize may not be as big and the struggle to get there will be more difficult.
Ed Mayhew worked for the Postal Service for 37 years, becoming one of the most recognized experts on periodicals mail in the country. Ed was a part of the Rates and Classification Service Center (RCSC), ending his career as a Classification Specialist in the New Pricing and Classification Service Center in New York City. He has written rulings, instructions and articles for postal publications, appeared as an expert witness in court, a rebuttal witness for the Postal service at the Postal Rate Commission, co-authored postal handbooks and applications, and was the RCSC coordinator for six postage rate cases.
He is the 2002 winner of the Angelo R. Venizian award for contributions to the publishing industry, the first postal winner of that award in its history.
Ed has made training videos appearing on radio and TV, speaks at numerous seminars and is an 11-time top National Postal Forum speaker. He is founder and president of consultancy Eddie Mayhew’s Classification Station. Contact Ed at 973-462-5662, E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @eddiemclass.