Hours after a leading Congressman urged massive job cuts at the largest civilian employer of military veterans, President Obama proposed creation of a Veterans Job Corps.
"With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we are providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets," Obama said Tuesday night during his State of the Union address. "Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families. And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Job Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her."
Those 135,000 jobs don't quite equal the estimated number of vets who already work for the United States Postal Service.Veterans preference has long been part of USPS's hiring practices and culture, leading to approximately one-fourth of its current employees having military experience.
Earlier Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa called for a radical shrinking of the Postal Service's workforce:
"There are about 660,000 workers at the post office. In the private sector there would be about 400,000 and it’s not a debate about whether we need to get to that number, it’s how we get there," the committee chairman said during a TV interview. "Do we induce retirement and find a way to trim that workforce, or do we wait for people to retire from an organization that has three full-time employees that are 98 years old, literally. Not a talking point. We have a problem at the post office that it can’t seem to shrink on its own fast enough. As a result the biggest problem is we’re paying people we don’t really need and not doing the reorganizations we should."
I don't know about Issa's numbers, but clearly USPS needs to shrink its workforce faster than it's been doing to cope with declining mail volumes. I just hope the politicians realize that one of the best ways to minimize veterans unemployment in the coming years may be to help postal workers transition to new careers.