Tag Archives: Chicago Central Carrier Annex

Government Epic Fail: USPS

Chicago has enjoyed the dubious distinction of having one of the worst United States Postal Service systems. And you wanna know what the Postmaster General had to say about it?

US Postmaster General Jack Potter, responding in 2007 to findings that Chicago’s USPS had the worst reliability records said…

…that some managers created the problem by cutting costs.

“They obviously had expectations that were beyond what they were able to achieve and as a result we saw a decline in service performance,” Potter said.

Union leaders representing mail clerks and carriers said the cuts have created an environment in which managers put a lot of pressure on them.

This may well be an out of context quote taken by CBS2 to show their preferred view on the story. But I don’t think that is too likely.

The lack of business sense is appalling, though coming from someone who has worked in the money hole that is the USPS since the ’70’s, it’s not that surprising.

The two main points of the article are that cutting costs necessarily hurts efficiency and effectiveness and that unions and unionized employees don’t like an environment where they’re pressured to work.

Successful businesses require profitability. Profit is achieved by cutting costs, raising productivity, and otherwise adjusting the variants you have control of to maximize the return for any investment.

To dismiss, out of hand, one of the primary methods of improving profitability is to have bought into the idea that any problem can be surmounted if you simply throw enough money, real or imagined, at it. An idea all to prevalent in government.

Regarding workers experiencing a pressure to work, yes, there can be inordinate expectation to go beyond what is reasonable. Many businesses have environments that encourage, rather strongly, overtime and weekends and hours beyond the normal and already codified restrictions. But laws already exist that protect workers’ 8-hr day and 5-day work week. Reasonably safe work environments are already required and discrimination is illegal as well. So what’s this kvetching over feeling pressure to work?

Government-union collusion is one of many things that must end in order to starve and shrink the government back to reasonable and helpful levels. Unions know they’ve already extended their requests beyond the reasonable and admirable into the insane and obscene, and they know the best way to ensure their own survival is to give loads of money to people who can legislate their life-support.

Be careful, those who can legislate can also legislate. And what is given can be taken away.

Jack Potter ought to be required to work in the real world, starting with flipping burgers at McDonalds, and then being a middle manager who is required to actually show something for all his effort. Then, and only then, should he be welcome back at the head of the USPS.

And the unions? They should innovate somewhere besides DC.