Friday, August 12, 2011

Incompetent postal management wants to administer my health care, what could go wrong?

Unless you've never turned on an evening news show, you probably know that the U.S. Postal Service is struggling with crushing losses. If you're a conservative, then what you probably don't know is that the P.O. is tasked with pre-funding its disability retirement pay 75 years into the future to the tune of $5.5 billion per year.

According to the Federal Government, the P.O. has lost $20 billion over the last four years and has needed federal assistance to make payroll and cover operating costs. But let me get math-y for a moment. Put that $5.5b back into our pockets each year for the last four years and suddenly we have a $2 billion profit.


There go all those complaints from conservative bloggers about the inefficient Post Office down the drain. And had the P.O. been turning a profit, it would have put itself in a position to borrow money to cover additional streamlining efforts and equipment upgrades to make itself even more profitable.

But the Postmaster General is now suggesting that they move all employees and retirees out of the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan and administer one on their own, along with abrogating our contracts, and laying off 20% of the work-force. As few managers as possible, of course.

Anthony J. Vegliante, USPS chief human resources officer and executive vice president said recently "FEHB may exceed what the private sector does in certain areas . . . It may not meet what the private sector does in other areas. So cost may be above the private sector, while value may be below the private sector . . ." So in other words, Tony doesn't have any idea if this is the way to go, he just wants us to jump into it.

This is classic P.O. management, they operate on knee-jerk reactions to everything. Nothing is thoughtfully considered, they just jump from one ill-conceived plan to the next. If there's a plan at all. Usually it's see a problem ==> swing at a fix. Don't think about it, don't solicit opinions from knowledgable employees, just close your eyes and jump.

Of course there's a reason for this. There is not one single manager in the U.S. Postal Service that is in management because he/she was promoted from craft based on merit. Not one. Every single supervisor, postmaster, district manager, etc., is in management because he/she was unable or unwilling to do craft work. Let that sink in for a minute. Every one of our bosses simply filled out the form that said they wanted to be a boss, and became a boss. And they stay in management by being petty tyrants or relentless ass-kissers. So we're not getting our best and brightest matriculating to the top levels of management.

And these are the folks that want to administer my health care? This is only a bisquit better than ObamaCare. And it's a tiny bisquit.

These are the same incompetent clowns that threw away the parcel business because they couldn't see the profit in it and are now struggling to regain that income. These are the same clowns that watched the digital age come and folded their arms across their chests arrogantly and said no one could do without us. Now first class mail volume is down 20% and still dropping. They mouth business cliches about "thinking outside the box" in our work processes, but instead simply make the same box smaller and get a bigger hammer to pound workers into that box.

I was a supervisor for six years in the manufacturing industry before coming to the Post Office. I would never arbitrarily dismiss the input of an experienced 30 year employee if it would save money and improve efficiency simply because it ran contrary to prevaling dogma. But at the P.O., that's s.o.p. We've got our little fiefdoms and entrenched misconceptions and antagonistic relationships, and no one in management is going to do anything to improve that.

And with the current fiscal crisis, management has leverage to do what they want. There's a House Resolution, H.R. 1351, that would allow the P.O. to use the massive overfunding of our pension funds to pre-fund this disability pension. It has the support of 181 bi-partisan members of the House. But the C.B.O. scores any change in the pre-funding of the disability pension as in increase in the deficit, even though technically no additional funds are being taken out of the system. So all the Postmaster General has to do is go "Look, this is going to add to the deficit if we don't do what I want." And everyone will boo and hiss and let him have his way. Even if its a load of b.s.

I'm sure this is going to end badly. I'm part of the fiscal conservative uprising that's screaming about trimming waste and fraud in government. And while this is an apples an oranges situation, I think I'm setting myself up to be colateral damage in the budget wars.

Man it sucks to have principles sometimes.

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