Two months after the U.S. Postal Service’s Postmaster General announced how USPS leadership intends to resuscitate the wheezing institution by cutting jobs, raising rates and ending Saturday delivery, the union representing the nation’s mail carriers has gone public with the changes it believes are needed to keep the USPS from becoming irreversibly insolvent.
Calling the Postmaster General’s plan a “shrink to survive” strategy that “will simply facilitate the decline of this vital American institution,” the National Association of Letter Carriers says it’s time for USPS to think bigger and better.
“[B]y adopting the Postal Service ‘s proposals to reduce the quality and value of the services it provides to American households, it may actually accelerate the Postal Service’s decline,” reads an excerpt from the NALC white paper.
To bring the USPS back to prominence and profit, the NALC paper proposes:
*Better leveraging of the USPS delivery network to grow its parcel service business;
*Expansion of the kinds of products and services that the Postal Service is allowed to provide (this would require congressional action);
*Giving the Postal Service greater flexibility in pricing its products and services, some of which are notably underpriced compared to the cost of providing them (also requiring legislative action);
*Legislative action to address the burdensome – and unique – congressional mandate requiring USPS to pre-fund retiree health care for the next 75 years in just 10 years; and
*Shared sacrifice from of all postal stakeholders, rather than one-sided employee sacrifice.
“A successful restructuring of the Postal Service must start with a plan to better leverage its unrivaled last-mile delivery network — a retail network that touches every city, town and neighborhood in America,” reads the NALC paper. “Instead of focusing on shrinking its network and capabilities, thereby yielding its competitive advantage, the Postal Service needs an ambitious rethinking of its business model.”