The Direct Marketing Association today sent a letter to its members urging them to call on Congress to allow the US Postal Service to renege on the contracts it has negotiated with its employees.
The only way to ensure that the Mail remains a viable marketing channel is for Congress to remove USPS’ shackles and let it operate as a real business. The Postmaster General has lots of ideas about how to put USPS on the right track while keeping the Mail affordable for your business. All he needs is the authority to make those changes.
The Postmaster General’s “ideas” include ignoring the no-layoff clause he agreed to just a few months ago, and eliminating federal health and pension benefits for postal workers.
Ironically, the DMA claims to be concerned about jobs, saying “This is not the time to lose American jobs.”
That concern apparently doesn’t extend to the jobs of postal workers.
Update: The DMA’s Jerry Cerasale posted the following comment in response to our story:
For full disclosure, I am a Senior Vice President at DMA. The article makes an incorrect conclusion. DMA did not call for the abrogation of union contracts. The DMA call to action says to “remove USPS’ shackles and let it operate as a real business. I don’t recall that real businesses can “throw out union contracts.”
With all due respect, I would point out that the letter the DMA asked its members to send to Congress says
The Postmaster General (PMG) has asked for authority to help him avoid insolvency for the USPS. He needs the tools that private sector CEOs have to control pension and health care costs their employees and retirees, and to eliminate excess capacity in mail processing plants, retail outlets and employee complement.
Congress should grant the PMG’s request. It is vital that the USPS eliminate its excess capacity because its customers – including my company – cannot afford to continue paying for that excess capacity in light of shrinking mail volume.
The PMG’s request was very specific: “Allow the Postal Service to establish its own health benefits program, Allow the Postal Service to administer its own retirement system, Give the Postal Service the ability to adjust the size of its workforce to match operational needs and the changing marketplace.”
All of those items are covered by provisions in the contracts the USPS has with its unions, including the APWU contract that is just a few months old. The PMG isn’t asking the unions to renogotiate the contracts- he’s asking Congress to throw them out. How can you say “Congress should grant the PMG’s request”, and then turn around and say you’re not calling for the abrogation of union contracts?