The U.S. Postal Service denied yesterday that its workforce is bloated or overpaid in a message to mailers explaining its position on the proposed exigent rate increases.
"It's being suggested that we wouldn't be in this fix if management had dealt with a bloated, overpaid postal workforce," said the e-mail sent to members of Postal Customer Councils, which was nearly identical to an item posted on USPS's Web site.
The Postal Service "was able to reduce its career workforce from an all time high of 802,970 in 1999 to today’s 588,561, while focusing on improving service and growing postal products," the message said. It then went on to undercut that argument by pointing out that it has had "a 20 percent loss in mail volume in three years."
The Postal Service's customers will not be impressed by those numbers. In a private-sector organization, such a rapid decrease in volume couple with major investments in productivity would lead to job losses of more than 27% over an 11-year period.
A business wouldn't pay people to do nothing or to do work manually that could have been done by an idle machine -- especially if many employees could be coaxed into retirement with a fairly small incentive. And you wouldn't keep hearing stories about how the organization's operations were overrun with supervisors who added little value and spent most of their time filling out reports.
"Some are asserting that the current price increases the Postal Service has proposed are somehow illegal," the email said. "On average, the proposal calls for a 5.6 percent increase, clearly permissible under the 'extraordinary or exceptional circumstances' clause of the law."
But the message didn't explain why the law has a price cap if the Postal Service can just violate that cap by saying, "Gee, we can't make our budget." Mailers know what happens in their own organizations if they're not making budget and sales are decreasing -- and it ain't a price increase.