National Review thinks postal workers should earn less than they did 36 years ago- and be grateful…

The National Review, that bastion of traditional entitled conservatism, founded by the quintessential erudite elitist William F. Buckley, has weighed in on the Stop Staples campaign. The Review thinks that postal workers should be attacking their union rather than USPS management or Staples.

That in itself tells you a lot about the right wing mindset. They have a problem with democracy, and can’t quite grasp the idea that postal workers belong to unions by choice, and they elect the union leadership (or as the right wingers like to call them, “union bosses”). So telling workers to attack their unions is the same as telling them to attack themselves.

Here’s how the Review explains why postal workers should apparently be lobbying to slash their own pay:

Consumers benefit from having more options, and the Postal Service may also save, if a recent internal memo is any indication. The memo estimated that private-sector retailers could offer the same mail services for less than a third the cost, which gives a bracingly clear picture of how inflated mail workers’ pay has become. The memo also added that “the [Staples] pilot will be used to determine if lower costs can be realized with retail partner labor instead of the labor traditionally associated with retail windows at Post Offices.”

So as far as the heirs of Bill Buckley are concerned, postal workers wages are incredibly “inflated”? Really? A level five clerk at top step makes around $52,000 a year. That works out to $25 an hour. I’d love to see the writers at the National Review try to survive on that.

Exactly how “inflated” is that wage? When I started as a mail handler with the USPS in 1978, my hourly wage was $6.89. It wasn’t a bad starting wage back then. Thanks to raises negotiated by my union, my salary steadily increased. But was it “inflated”?

No. If you check the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, you can determine what $6.89 an hour in 1978 dollars is worth today:


So the “inflated” salary a veteran postal worker earns today is the purchasing equivalent of what a newly hired mail handler earned thirty-six years ago.

But if the country club kids at the National Review had their way, postal clerks would be grateful to get $8.33 an hour. Presumably with no benefits- unless you consider eligibility for medicaid and food stamps to be a benefit.

If you really want to see how downright offensive the NR’s suggestion is, use the inflation calculator to see what that $8.33 wage would have equaled in 1979:


Which would have been exactly 60 cents an hour less than the minimum wage at the time.

Read more: USPS Workers Protest Staples | National Review Online.

  • MrZip

    Well put!

  • City0427

    I love all those people who make mega bucks, for doing nothing but running their mouths, telling postal workers they make to much.
    At lease the postal workers is providing a service to the county.
    I support the union leaders in efforts to make postal jobs good jobs.

  • standtallall

    While observing life from their Ivory Towers, it is possible that these characters don’t realize how hard the man in the street works. Letter carriers face daily hardships which start in the office and continue in the street. As an Independent, who leans right, I am usually embarrassed by these hard thinkers who could not stand up to the required standards that we as letter carriers must face each day. On top of the daily grind, consider that we don’t have the luxury of a 20 yr retirement. We are in for a physical grind which continues each day until you put in those 30-35 yrs and our bodies are never quite the same on the day we retire. Before you look down your noses, walk in our shoes and I am sure you will understand how off the wall your observations are!

  • Bob Andreas

    just because 1 man writes an article about something does not man the entire magazine believes it

    • postalnews

      You’re absolutely correct, in general- and if this had been an op-ed piece in say, the New York Times, it wouldn’t have been fair to present it as the editorial opinion of the Times. If you’d ever looked at the National Review, however, you’d know that it takes pride in being the official organ of traditional conservatism, meaning no unions, no government services, etc. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone at NR who’d disagree with anything in the piece.

  • bigtime

    Screw you, we don’t make enough.for the work I put in and the wear on my body ,I should Be making 35.00 a hour. Now with carrying 3 bundles of mail and 100 packages jammed in truck ,57 minutes office time and 7 hour of street time. The game has changed.we deserve 10$ a hour raise.

  • takeitfrome

    Carriers are by far the hardest working craft. The job now takes a toll on their bodies unlike ever before. They do not earn enough at all when compared to the other crafts or competition for that matter. Lets face it they now do the work for UPS and Fed X on the “last mile”. They have made the package service what it is today. They earn every penny made. They are indeed the back bone of the USPS. That’s coming from someone with 38 years of service, and a SCS now.

    • gpf1947

      Thank you,,,I carried for just short of 33 years, retiring 11 years ago…several-at least five-years before I really wanted to. Why you may ask…I’d had two rotator cuff repairs…both from on the job injuries…exacerbation prompted my surgeon to recommend retirement so further surgery was not needed. I am not sure I could survive in today’s environment.