NALC: The Elephant In the Room And Washington Post Editorial Writers

The elephant in the room

January 27, 2010

One or two misleading and one-sided editorials about the Postal Service’s financial situation might simply be chalked up to a bad day or a steep learning curve, but the editorial page of The Washington Post has used up its quota of excuses several times over.

Today’s editorial may be the worst yet, and that’s saying something. It talks about huge losses of money, applauds the planned closing of thousands of post offices to save money—yet ignores the elephant in the room. By now, most observers—including most journalists—are aware that the biggest single drain on the Postal Service’s finances is the unique and onerous $5.5 billion payment it has to make each year by congressional mandate to pre-fund future health benefits. This is also an eminently fixable problem, requiring merely congressional approval for an internal transfer of USPS money to make the payments. Who favors that? Only management, labor and key legislators from both parties.

Yet the Post’s editorial Thursday doesn’t even mention it. Not once. Without this pre-funding requirement, the USPS would be profitable—so it takes either willful misrepresentation of the situation or startling lack of knowledge to ignore it.

Contrast that with the story in The Wall Street Journal Monday—which broke the news on which the Post is attempting to comment—and the reporter’s mention of the agency being “saddled with billions in unusually burdensome retiree health costs.” The WSJ’s story said the obligation “contributed heavily to recent record losses”—and cites congressional efforts to rectify the situation.

And just yesterday, the Post’s federal reporter Ed O’Keefe wrote about the pre-funding as a “unique cost that postal officials and union leaders think is an unfair financial burden.”

Fox radio, CNN, National Public Radio, The Daily Caller and other media outlets seem to understand the nuances of the USPS finances—so why can’t the Post? We’re not asking for agreement with our position—simply recognition of the facts. Tell readers why you don”t think fixing the pre-funding problem is a good idea, but don’t pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

This insistence on ignoring the elephant in the room is on top of the Post’s repeated factual errors—such as asserting that federal law favors labor in collective bargaining with postal management, or that postal unions are lobbying to stop the pre-funding payments. The Post merely asserts these notions without any evidence—understandable in a way because there isn’t any. They’re fictions of the Post’s editorial page.

Before pontificating on postal issues, the Post’s editorial writers might be well served to read news stories in other publications—and in their own newspaper as well. They might learn enough to write thoughtful editorials.

9 thoughts on “NALC: The Elephant In the Room And Washington Post Editorial Writers

  1. Thank you Wage slave, “Gregory” is either management, a big kiss butt or knows nothing about the post office. IF management would just follow the contract 99% of the grievances would be gone!

  2. Thank you Wage slave, “Gregory” is either management, a big kiss butt or knows nothing about the post office. IF management would just follow the contract 99% of the grievances would be gone!

  3. You’ll have to pardon “GREGORY” for his statements about grievance settlement

    He either DOES NOT WORK HERE or HE IS A MANAGERIAL EMPLOYEE who thinks that employees have no rights under their COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT…..which is EXACTLY WHY WE HAVE “GRIEVANCES”.

    POOR LABOR/MANAGEMENT RELATIONS at some facilities are the cause of high grievance loads at those facilities. If we had better channels of communications, better and more competent managers and the overall ABILITY TO SETTLE OUR PROBLEMS AT THE LOWEST LEVEL, these numbers would be insignificant.

    As to the Washington Post Editorial Staff, suffice it to say that they, AT THE VERY LEAST, they do not do their HOMEWORK when it comes to researching a story….I WOULD HATE TO THINK THAT THEY HAVE AN AGENDA WHEN WRITING ABOUT POSTAL MATTERS.

  4. social security is going broke and the post office is right behind them Please don’t prefund my retirement. I want to be left with nothing after working 30 years for this company. Yes this is sarcasm.

  5. I think it is perfect. Close the 2000 post offices, Get rid of Saturday delivery and stop the prefunding and we will be okay. Quit complaining everyone and lets do what needs to be done. Period.

  6. That is why I quit prefunding media years ago by not giving them a subscription! I am offered the Wall Street Journal for free on my subscription but refuse it. Imagine that….refusing a free subscription ! No wonder they can’t get people to subscribe for money. I grew tired of the printed lies, shouting dopinions on tv, and circular reasoning, rather than getting the news. I listen to books and music and am so happy for it. I “find” my news on the net and will never go back to the mainstream news until they main stream the news ….and not propaganda.

  7. Well, talk about the height of hypocrisy! The APWU and the NALC routinely trash USPS management like there’s no tomorrow and now -with righteous indignation- assault the Washington Post editorial staff for calling attention to ongoing problems [for which both unions are partially responsible through their decades-old process of siphoning millions of dollarts of postage revenue in the settlement of frequently idiotic, yet costly grievances]?

    My God – no wonder we’re wallowing in our own mediocrity!!

Comments are closed.