NAPS Responds to Washington Post 12/6/2010 Editorial
In a December 6th editorial, The Washington Post articulated their view of the root cause of the current crisis facing the United States Postal Service. The Post Editorial Board placed the blame for the USPS’ current financial conditions squarely at the feet of its employees.
Postal employees have collective bargaining rights which were hard-fought by the unions in the reorganization in 1970. Prior to 1970, working for the old Post Office Department was similar to being on working welfare. The unions have negotiated fair contracts and working conditions for postal employees for over 40 years and to blame the unions for the current demise of the Postal Service is preposterous.
As far as the pre-funding requirement for postal retiree’s health benefits that was added to the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) it is interesting to note that no other federal agency has this requirement, even though all federal and postal employee’s pensions are managed through the Office of Personnel Management. Why is it that only the Postal Service is strapped with a pre-funding requirement?
Certainly the economy has had an adverse affect on the Postal Service, just as well as many other businesses in this country. But, the difference between the Postal Service and private enterprise is that we are a public entity entrusted with delivering a vital service to all citizens. At a time when the business community is re-tooling to recover from the recession, the Postal Service is doing the exact same thing.
Over 200,000 positions have been trimmed from operations and support functions in the Postal Service while delivery performance has not declined. This is due to and is a testament to the dedication of all postal employees. We deliver to every address in the country, not just “cherry picking” locations that are profitable like other delivery services. The Postal Service actually delivers for our competitors where it is not economically profitable for them to do so. By law, we provide universal coverage, reasonably priced and consistent, without any taxpayer assistance.
If some in the Congress want the Postal Service to be profitable on top of what we do every day, then give the Postal Service the authority to charge rates that will make it profitable. While they are at it, the Congress should eliminate the prefunding requirement to which the only the Postal Service is beholden to. Current legislation to transfer CSRS and FERS overpayments into the pre-funding account would accomplish just that.
For the Washington Post to simply propose that the current deficit be borne by the employees is not the answer.