buntsfromaleftcoastgirl asks: Regarding the Postal Service announcement yesterday about slow-downs, my local Oregon NPR station noted this morning that the slow-down would effect Oregon's vote-by-mail as ballots have to be returned--not just postmarked--by election day. Oregon officials are pushing to get voter's pamphlets and ballots to Oregon voters sooner so they can be returned with enough time to slog through the USPS.
» SFB says: Good to know. Here’s the story, for the curious. This is another example, to us, about how a one-day delay in receiving mail will cause a ripple effect far beyond the Postal Service. To put this in Netflix terms: This is the U.S. Postal Service’s Qwikster. — Ernie @ SFB
8bitian says: “Bad” and “worse” should be flipped. Somehow I think losing 250 mail-processing centers and 100,000 employees across the board is worse than MY NETFLIX IS SLOW.
» SFB says: Disagree, because, well, think about it this way — if that Netflix is getting to you a day slower, that also means bills will get to people who owe money (and payments will get back) more slowly, paychecks will get to workers more slowly (not everyone has direct deposit), and so on. That Netflix is the tip of the iceberg. It’s a ripple effect that will be felt across the entire economy — especially among older or less tech-savvy Americans. Basically, we’re talking about the difference between infrastructure and engine. A damaged infrastructure is bad, as is the job loss. However, if the engine gets damaged, it has the effect of hurting a lot of other infrastructures far beyond the U.S. Postal Service. And that’s a heck of a lot more dangerous. — Ernie @ SFB
» They could be broke by September 2012: On top of that, they expect to default on a key health care pension plan payment (which forces them to pre-pay for workers’ future health benefits decades in advance) — of $5.5 billion.
Say goodbye to Saturday mail? That’s the Obama administration’s plan, at least. Issued alongside their much more ballyhooed one on debt reduction, the White House has endorsed ending Saturday mail delivery nationwide. The U.S. Postal Service is in quite dire financial straits, owing to a more digital age of communication as well as issues with financial management. The Democratic position is to try to minimize layoffs, while Rep. Darrel Issa’s plan would allow the USPS to break contracts and cut jobs, but on one thing both sides agree — no more mail on Saturdays. Shares of eBay dropped nearly 6% on the news, as it could make life tougher on their smaller, independent sellers. source
» Cost-cutting galore: Facing down a U.S. postal service that lost about $8.5 billion lat year, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has proposed some major closures, which will come at the price of the mail efficiency. With a plan to close 252 offices nationwide, the downsizing could mean that first-class mail could take up to a day longer. The postal service is, as a business model, deeply unusual — it’s also not a matter of argument, as it’s the rare government agency explicitly demanded by the Constitution. The hope that the postal service has the resiliency to both lower its size and speed of delivery, yet still compete with the private carriers strikes us as an unlikely premise.
jron asks: Nice buy-in to right wing ideology by blaming the unions for the Postal Service's problems (on Labor Day even). They negotiated pensions as part of their salary deals. Management took the deal to pay into retirement rather than give them higher salaries then, just like any other salary/benefits/pension negotiation. If there's going to be a bait and switch, it's not the union's fault.
» SFB says: How did we buy into right-wing ideology by summarizing a piece written by the New York Times? Because that’s what the piece says. “At the same time, decades of contractual promises made to unionized workers, including no-layoff clauses, are increasing the post office’s costs. Labor represents 80 percent of the agency’s expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx, its two biggest private competitors. Postal workers also receive more generous health benefits than most other federal employees.” Please. Just because we summarized something you personally disagree with doesn’t mean we “bought into” anything. Give us more credit than that.