I sifted through the barrage of news stories on the Postal “default” last week hoping to find some real journalism. Sadly, I didn’t. Instead, I came across the same tired citations from official sources like the Postmaster General, the National Union heads, and the players in Congress.
Here’s the skinny: Wracked with a financial burden imposed by the Bush administration* the Postal Service defaults on a multibillion dollar annual payment, following the greatest recession since The Great Depression.
*“Thomas M. Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia who proposed the law, said the payment requirement was initiated by the administration of President George W. Bush.” (NY Times 7-31-12)
The ensuing “crisis” is being used as a pretext to dismantle the agency as we know it. Postmaster General Donahoe and Republicans in Congress propose setting loose tens of thousands of unemployed, and erasing hundreds of thousands of living wage jobs from an already ravaged economy.
Does the Postal Service need to economize? Sure. It’d be hard argue with that. But where can they find efficiency? Certainly not from the Postmaster General or from the voices in Congress. The people involved in the conversation at a national policy-making level have either never worked in a post office, or they haven’t touched the mail in years.
Want to know where Post Offices can be consolidated? Where redundancies exist? Where money is wasted? Ask a letter carrier in Gastonia, North Carolina. Ask a Postmaster in Gold Run, California or a Mailhandler in Newburgh, New York.
I did that. The result is a four year cross country investigation chronicled in the documentary film (currently in progress), Gone Postal.
Witness a place where efficiency and progress are lost in a sea of grievances, retaliation, and lawsuits. Where unreachable goals are never justified but always enforced. And where employees have no voice.
Solutions to a problem rooted deep in the foundation of the organization won’t be found in a headline or a soundbite.
A service that operates on a local level everywhere in America, meeting different challenges in each market and terrain is now being shattered by the decisions of centralized controllers far removed from the daily operations, who have substantial political and personal interests at stake. Who’s looking out for the Service?
Director, Gone Postal