Editorial: Feeling a Little Disgruntled

It seems that whenever I mention the U.S. Postal Service, I get inundated with e-mails from disgruntled postal employees complaining about the “special treatment” given to direct marketers. With the recent postal reform recommendations from the president’s commission and my comments in this space a week ago, they’ve been extra vocal. Here’s a sampling. Note, all typos and grammatical errors are theirs.

“What are you people? The holy people, the ones who do no wrong. Let’s hope your side doesn’t prevail. The USPS can’t exist with the rules you want. Let us also remember the USPS made a huge profit last year and IS A SERVICE for the USA,” writes “Thomas Long.” (I put their names in quotes because I’m never sure if they’re real.) … Well, I won’t deny that the USPS is a service for the country, but profitable? Unless it’s lying, Tom, the postal service lost $676 million last year, $1.68 billion the year before that and $199 million the year before that.

Meanwhile, “Bob Nason” isn’t happy with postal management: “After 17 years of butting my head up against a rock solid wall of do nothing managers and their bosses and their bosses bosses I get more than a little ‘disgruntled’ to be told by one of my customers (that would be you) that I am the problem. What it boils down to is that the direct mailing industry is founded on the fact that the Postal Service (that’s me) goes to every home in America six days a week and hands John Q Public their ads or products. … If you want the service then shut up and pay for it. You make this job less appealing than it is and you’ll get what Canada and Germany are facing right now.” … Um, Bob, I don’t want to pry, but have you ever considered another career?

Still, not all of my mail was negative. “Garry S. Smith” said I hit the nail on the head. Postal managers “have made sacrifices for the last 11 years. We have not received any cost of living adjustments nor contractual pay increases since 1992. The unions still get their COLAs and 1.5% annual pay increases. If the unions were so concerned with the USPS viability, they would forego the annual pay increases and just take COLAs. [William] Burrus of the APWU is living in the 1950s. He should look at what the steel industry has gone through in the last 25 years. Look at the airline industry today. … When are the union leaders going to wake up in the 21st century and realize changes are needed?” … My guess? When Congress tells them to.

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