In an effort to stop the steady hemorrhage of cash and market share, the management of the US Postal Service has entered into an agreement with the office supply chain, Staples, to allow postal services to be provided by Staples employees at selected Staples locations.
Naturally, the American Postal Workers Union has responded in the only way it knows: invective and obstructionism.
Postal workers in cities big and small protested in front of Staples stores on Thursday, objecting to the U.S. Postal Service's pilot program to open counters in stores, staffed with retail employees.
Rallies were planned at 50 locations in 27 states. In Concord, more than 100 boisterous workers donned bright blue shirts and lined a busy commercial road near a Staples store.
The USPS has about 65,000 other commercial partners that provide postal products and services. Why, you might ask, provoked the ire of the various rent seekers and grifters that hover about the USPS? Follow the money:
Last year, Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc. began offering postal services under a pilot program that now includes some 80 stores. The American Postal Workers Union objects, saying well-paid union workers have been replaced by low-wage nonunion workers. A union spokesman said postal workers make $25 an hour on average, far more than retail clerks. The union also worries the program will lead to post office closures.
John Hegarty, president of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, which represents about 45,000 mail handlers, said the outsourcing endangers the sanctity and security of the mail.
"We are highly trained, skilled postal employees, and they want to give it to employees who really don't know anything about the mail," he said.
Anyone who has ever used a post office can vouch for how highly skilled and trained and, need I say, motivated USPS employees are.
The USPS is a low performing organization operating at sub-par levels of performance. It has survived because Congressmen like to name post offices after themselves. The move to Staples is a logical one for the USPS. I presents customers with retail outlets that have better hours than a post office and a generally more motivated employee.
As has often been noted in biology, a parasite tends to kill the host. That is what the various postal unions are doing to the USPS.
For your enjoyment, a flashback to 1982. Amazing how little has changed.