Outgoing Postal Chief Calls Out Unions

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Outgoing Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe called out unions on Tuesday for impeding the Post Office.

“Can the Postal Service operate profitably far into the future? Absolutely,” Donahoe said at the National Press Club, according to USA Today. “Can it do these things within its current business model? Not likely.”

Despite the Postal Service seeing its best financial quarter in seven years with an 18 percent surge during the holiday season, they continue to operate at a loss.

Donahoe argues that unions have tried to preserve current jobs and benefits to the point that the Postal Service has missed opportunities to deliver packages more quickly and to partner with retailers like Staples, according to The Hill.

Since July, the American Postal Workers Union and the American Federation of Teachers have protested the Post Office plan to partner with Staples. While the idea was to allow Staples to provide some of the services the Post Office does, the unions argued it would take away jobs from properly trained postal workers.

As noted in a press release by APWU, “AFT state affiliates in California, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Hampshire have already voted to boycott Staples unless the retailer retreats from replacing skilled, experienced uniformed postal workers, who take an oath to protect the U.S. mail, with low-wage, high turnover employees.”

The Hill also noted that when they tried to end Saturday deliveries, the Post Office faced significant opposition from Democrats, unions and even some rural Republicans. Unions argued it was foolish for the Post Office to try to slash what it offers at a time when it needs new revenue.

Unions also challenged the Post Office when they tried to end a mandate that funded future retiree healthcare because it led to a $22 billion loss in the last three years.

American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein told USA Today that Donahoe was “spineless” and “the worst Postmaster General the Postal Service has ever seen.”

“He has been in a cut and burn mode,” Dimondstein said. “Instead of cutting back hours of service, they should expand hours of service.”

Donahoe, who will retire in February, did give advice on how to fix the problems he mentioned. That being, to simply allow for more flexibility so that the Post Office can function more like a business and experiment with what works best for them.

Donahoe will be replaced by Megan Brennan.

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