Senator Leahy: Postal Service divorced from reality

February 6, 2012 by
Filed under: postal 

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy At A News Conference On The Postal Service And Rural America

Last month Senator Sanders and I attended a public meeting at White River Junction in Vermont, to discuss the pending closure of the postal distribution center there. Five-hundred people came to the meeting, in a town that registered 2,200 residents in the last census. Our entire congressional delegation participated, as well as the Governor and several state lawmakers.

The reason this public hearing received so much interest is because the proposed closure of the distribution center will decimate business in White River Junction, with ripple effects radiating outward to affect many more communities. Not only would this mistaken plan remove more than a hundred good-paying jobs from the area, but it would harm service to local industry that depends on efficient mail delivery.

What is happening in White River Junction is happening all across America. In every state, the Postal Service is contemplating a wholesale shuttering of mail handling facilities and post offices.

To do this, the Postal Service will relax its delivery standards, crippling one of its biggest competitive advantages, and sending the Postal Service into a kind of death spiral.

The toll this would take in human terms and on a fragile economy is clear. At a time when we are straining to encourage an expansion of jobs for working families, the Postal Service is looking to push tens of thousands of workers into unemployment. At a time when the President is looking for creative ways to provide jobs for returning veterans, the Postal Service is dramatically reducing its workforce, which is the second-largest employer of veterans in this country.

I have come to see the Postal Service as divorced from reality. At the White River Junction hearing, the Postal Service representative spent 40 minutes talking about how mail processing works — to a room mostly comprised of people who have worked in mail processing for most of their lives. Then she began to talk about a facility in Texas.

I finally had to stand up and ask her to talk about what these Vermonters had come to hear: what was going to happen to this facility, in White River Junction?

I believe the Postal Service will find more and more senators and representatives standing up here in Congress to prevent rash and irreversible decisions, until USPS can present a cogent strategy for growing in a new era of mail.

A scorched-earth strategy, focused only on the short-term horizon, is a strategy for failure. It is a race to the bottom. The Postal Service needs a plan not only to survive, but to thrive. To do that the Postal Service must listen to its customers, understand its market, and play to its strengths, not trade its strengths away.

The postal market may be shrinking for first class mail, but don’t let anyone tell you that there is no room for growth. UPS was number 48 on the Fortune 100 list last year, and FedEx was 73. There’s plenty of revenue to be made in the premium package delivery market. This is a growing market, fueled by the growth of Internet commerce. USPS just needs to have a strategy about how to become more competitive.

I look forward to working with Senator Sanders, Senator Landrieu and others, and with Chairman Lieberman, Chairman Carper and the Postmaster General to chart a sensible way forward to save the Postal Service money, while ensuring its success for decades to come.

Comments

23 Comments on Senator Leahy: Postal Service divorced from reality

  1. ZACK on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 12:41 am
  2. Finally, someone is making sense! This isn’t rocket science people. Just common-sense. Now we need to get rid of those people within the USPS – the PMG, etc., that are obviously on a mission to destroy the USPS, before we can begin to save it.

  3. ZACK on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 12:48 am
  4. Here’s a novel idea – replace the PMG with someone who not only knows how to run a business, but at more, has a track record of success. Steve Jobs is a prime example. If the USPS is the second largest employer in the U.S., and could list in the top Fortune 500 of companies, if it were privatized, then lets quit appointing PMG’s that started off in the USPS as a Carrier, Clerk, and/or Mail Handler. These people only rose to the top through cronyism, nepatism, and so forth. It’s the good’ol boy system if you havn’t noticed.

  5. Chibone on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 1:21 am
  6. Early-out incentive buyout would help….

  7. Tony on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 3:24 am
  8. VERA will help shed 100,000 jobs!

  9. Pete Jurowski on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 4:14 am
  10. Get on with this crap so we don’t have to go to work and hear nothing but gloom and doom all day long….Its getting old….Why don’t you promote a few more female managers while you’re at it….Our district staff meeting looks like “The View” All you hear is a bunch of giggling…..he he he he…..

  11. headhuntergoombas on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 5:06 am
  12. “APWU & NALC members have done a great job of getting the word out to legislators about our concerns: Keep up the good work ,support S-1789”
    — Cliff Guffey,     President

    Call Your Senators:    
    202-224-3121    
    (Capitol Switchboard)    
    [Click here for direct #s]    
    Tell them you Support    
    S. 1789 as it is currently written  

    GOOGLE……….U.S. SENATE………Choose your “SENATOR HOME” State. Look for the area in which to write and send your comment.  
    I wrote ” I work for the U.S.P.S. and I do not oppose S1789 in it’s current form”. This bill offers three types of incentives not to be combined.  
    1. 50,000 cash.  
    2. 5 years added on to your FERS retirement  
    3. 5 year added on to your CSRS retirement.  
     
    * NOTE: Remember you can only choose one of the three.

  13. Wage Slave on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 5:57 am
  14. Dear “headcase”:
    “five years added”, blah, blah, blah.
    Keep dreaming my friend….Darrell Issa will wake you up with HIS IDEAS about what you need….he is the TeaPublican Tool who controls the outcome of the House legislation….and I can assure you that all of those cute “sugar plums” that you have in mind will not be in there.

  15. John Westfall on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 5:59 am
  16. Gotta love the PMG haters……Donahoe came in with this problem…..He didn’t create it. Then when he goes to Congress and tells them what he needs in order to save the PO they just sit on their thumbs. He then starts to take drastic measures, trying to keep this ship afloat, and maybe drastically trying to get the attention of limp idiots in Washington. Maybe this is his way of putting a Viagra cocktail on the table for Congress.

  17. headhuntergoombas on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 6:02 am
  18. APWU Members Urged to Take Action As Senate Reviews Postal Reform

    Postal reform is a hot topic in Congress as the Senate prepares to vote on the 21st Century Postal Service Act, and APWU President Cliff Guffey is urging union members to contact their senators and let them know: Senate bill 1789 is only acceptable in its current form.

    As lawmakers review the bill, Guffey is asking union members to let their senators know that S. 1789 must be passed. “ It is crucial that we get our point across,” he said.

    “The bill would force the Postal Service to keep open hundreds of mail processing centers, and thousands of post offices,” Guffey said. “By giving more substantial financial relief, the bill would strengthen the Postal Service, save jobs, and drive customers our way,” he added.

    Call Your Senators:
    202-224-3121
    (Capitol Switchboard)
    [Click here for direct #s]

    Tell them you Support
    S. 1789 as it is currently written

    S-1789 will;

    Set strict service standards.

    Allow the USPS to recover over-payments the Postal Service made to its retiree pension funds.

    Allow the USPS to offer Early Retirement Incentives.

    Adequately address the requirement that forces the USPS to pre-fund future retiree health benefits.

    Prevent the closing of small post offices.

    Protects 6 day delivery.

  19. LaMesan on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 6:12 am
  20. All great comments but I still haven’t got my Montgomery Wards catalog.

  21. service standards. on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 7:15 am
  22. My Zodys catalog finally came, now if only the prises were the same.

  23. Warren B. on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 7:34 am
  24. Inteeigent business view. Must concentrate efforts to where a market exist for services as noted per parcel as UPS and FED X. Demand for products creates revenue. Supply for USPS services exceed demand resulting in negative results.
    USPS has a future in what is in demand. First class mail volume will continue to decline. Focus must shit to cost effective operations which would eliminate Sat. street delivery other than expeditd services which customer pays for a dedicated delivery time per Express and Priority. Advertising -bulk busines could be delivered in a Mon.-Tues. time frame any OVERTIME WOULD BE COST EFFECTIVE as monatary savings for fuel and workhours would be cost effective;.
    The USPS is an alternative means of personal and business commications in the day od the APPS. Small once community post offices which are no longer necessary should be eliminated. Politicans play post office to attempt to get votes but the American public in todays difficult economic times tend to ignore them.
    Spending by headquarters and districts staps must be monitoried by OIG as demonstrated by the PRC woman who spent $70,000 regarding a trip per envelopes? District staphs spend mony as if they have access to Ft. Knox; Meetings at plush resort clubs ; CONFERENCE Calls could eliminate wasteful spendings. Business economics are foreign to many of these internal political positions. Return on equity means nothing as politicans will create a funding means for this 20th century government service to change with the times and become a fruitful business in a changing market in the 21st century.
    Craft and management unions must realize changes must be made to create a viable service business as demands for services has changed.

  25. mojo on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 7:43 am
  26. Leahy should look at all the ‘reports’ management collects and ask a letter carrier how management uses them to bully, harrass,and intimidate, despite the fact that national level grievances to NOT use that data (DOIS) “as the sole determinant of a carrier workload”. Then ask management about the management to worker ratio average.

  27. Tony on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 9:49 am
  28. You don’t need a college degree to understand this business model… The USPS goes to every house in America.. So there’s no excuse or reason why we’re not gaining market share every year in the package and spur sectors. We need a real sales team to aggressively go after business and sell our products!!!

    UPS and Fed – Ex has salesmen and woman doing this day in, day out!!!!! Priority mail is a bargain!!! Expand it Donahoe or GET THE FUCK OUT!!!!!!! You have 35 years of service.. Time for you to retire!!!!!!

  29. disturbed carrier on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 12:41 pm
  30. Anybody working at the USPS(I mean touching the mail,not sitting on your asses) knows the “artificial made-up postal crisis is all bullshit…..take away the ridiculous 2006 Mandate to pay off a 75 Billion dollar retirement package,and you will see the USPS CAN compete with its competitors,who by the way DON’T have to pay down a unrealistic Mandate…….. you people who don’t know jack shit..SHUT THE HELL UP,I’m tired of people like ISSA thinking they’re big shit and know the reasons why the USPS is in its current condition……..just the ignorant Right-Wingers trying to privatize the USPS.

  31. Leigh on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 1:55 pm
  32. Delivering mail on Sat. is an attention issue; have had it so long that it is felt that we deserve it and loosing would be. The good cannot begin until the bad ends. General Motors had the same issue with is Pontiac Division as the company lost money for 40 years until Pontiac division was closed. A good ending to a cause that was negative and was a montary loss. Same deal with Sat. mail delivry it is an emotional attachment that no longer serves what it was set up for in past history Sat. mail delivery needs to come to an end. The result would benefit in eliminating a wasted cost non essential to the American public.

  33. Timman on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 4:29 pm
  34. Enough already. The whole sytem entrenched in the Postal Service is a recipe for disaster unless some drastic measures are taken. We are over managed, overstaffed and Saturday 5 day delivery must come to an end. In my office on Long Island we have 5 vacant floater positions many TE’s in all crafts, lost 8 routes over 2 yrs and still have 1 PM 7 Supv + a 204B the only one in the entire district. They are asking the impossible of everyone who handles mail. Only to secure positions that are no more than glorified data entrry clerks making upwards of 80K+ annually. We have a few who want to retire like myself but, it is like waiting for hell to freeze over with this current Congress. Stay tuned. God help the young people with 20 or more yrs to go!

  35. don on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 4:46 pm
  36. Every thing that’s been said in all these comments has been said before, with one exception John Westfall used the Obama excuse line. That the PMG inherited this mess and is only trying to save the Post Office. You are either a management hero or a management butt kisser! You really believe that the shit this guys been pulling is his trying to save the Post Office? You can’t be a craft employee and write this crap! What do you do in the PO? Do you work at Washington HQ’s? Are you providing certain services for the PMG? ALA BillClinton?

  37. #@@%&&^$###!!!!! the Tea Party!! on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 6:14 pm
  38. My name says it all.

  39. Rewind on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 8:36 pm
  40. Like any of these idiot millionaires in congress have a grasp on the reality for most Americans.

  41. HK333 on Wed, 8th Feb 2012 2:40 pm
  42. In the PD&C, There are too many MDO,SDO,204B non productive junks hang in there. How much they get paid ?

  43. A.Kawka on Wed, 8th Feb 2012 3:53 pm
  44. Post Office should take back the Parcel post they gave away. Also you must pay
    5 cent extra for a stamp from a store that sells stamps, so buying 1 or more books may not seem a lot until the end of the year . Buying at the PO will charge the
    actual cost of the stamp. These stores can sell the stamps at whatever they want

  45. John Westfall on Wed, 8th Feb 2012 7:54 pm
  46. Don, thanks so much for your imput. I just love union thugs like you that think if someone doesn’t fall in line with every word the union says , that they are kiss asses. Yes, if you consider putting in a fair days work as kissing ass, then I am truly a kiss ass. Oh………do you really think the unions are trying to save the PO? Let me see……the unions oppose closing any post offices, they oppose 5 day delivery and they think eliminating prefunding is all that is needed to keep the PO running smoothly. You, Don, are playing right into the unions greedy little hands. You are nothing but a typical union thug parrot.