The obvious solution to the Northrup Grumann FSS contract dispute

A little over a year ago, the US Postal Service reached a contract agreement with the American Postal Workers Union. At the time, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe said “This is a responsible agreement that is in the best interest of our employees, our customers and the future of the Postal Service. The contract will help lay a foundation that is fair to our employees and stakeholders.”

Just a few weeks later, however, the PMG changed his mind, and decided that maybe the contract wasn’t so great. Rather than admit his mistake and offer to reopen negotiations with the union, Donahoe took the easy way out- he asked Congress to invalidate the contract, and replace its provisions with ones more to his liking. The unions howled, and right wing politicians applauded.

Fast forward to May 2012: one of Donahoe’s pet projects, the FSS (Flats Sequencing System), turns out to be a costly white elephant. Worse still, the FSS contractor, Northrup Grumman, sues the USPS for breaching a contract worth more than three quarters of a billion dollars.

Which raises an obvious question- why doesn’t the USPS handle the Northrup Grumman contract the way it did the APWU agreement? Forget about wasting thousands or millions of dollars on litigation- just ask Darrell Issa to add a provision to his postal “reform” bill making it go away, just like his bill makes the unions’ contracts go away! Wouldn’t that be more cost effective? Isn’t the alternative a costly “taxpayer bailout” of Northrup Grumman?