USPS Jobs, Relevance Threatened
(This article by then-Executive Vice President Cliff Guffey appeared in the May/June 2006 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Your job and livelihood are under attack by the postal Service consolidation “plan.” Your facility may not be specifically targeted, but a large number are, and if these consolidations are implemented, there will be a huge cost-savings for the biggest mailers, and the communities we serve will find the USPS to be less relevant. When the service to the average citizen is reduced, the ease with which your job can be contracted is increased.
The APWU is sponsoring a nationwide offensive to encourage local communities to save the Postal Service and decent jobs in their areas. We will be airing commercials on TV and radio, and hope to utilize our most powerful weapon: You.
Local activists will be pinpointing locations where we will ask postal workers and the APWU Auxiliary to collect names on petitions to tell the Postal Service and our elected representatives in Washington , DC , that consolidation is not the answer. Go to your next union meeting, find out what your local is doing, and volunteer: Your future is at stake.
Remember: Replacing you with a contract worker doesn’t have to show a savings to be deemed effective by the Bush administration. A plan only has to make money for administration supporters to be “sold” to the powers that be.
What Contractors Want
Think about it: The big mailers want contracts that would allow them to pay someone other than you far less than you are paid. They would earn huge profits and would claim that the USPS was saving money by helping them do so.
The current administration champions the philosophy that contracting government services cost less. In practice, however, it adheres to the policy that allows it to give friends 10 times what a job is worth so they can pay a temporary workforce a substandard wage and pocket millions. An example reported by the Washington Post in early March was headlined, “Multiple Layers of Contractors Drive Up Cost of Katrina Cleanup.” These are excerpts from the story, which was datelined New Orleans:
“How many contractors does it take to haul a pile of tree branches? If it’s government work, at least four: a contractor, his subcontractor, the subcontractor’s subcontractor, and finally, the local man with a truck and chainsaw. If the job is patching a leaking roof, the answer may be five contractors, or even six. At the bottom tier is a [a group of workers] earning less than 10 cents for every square foot of blue tarp installed. At the top, the prime contractor bills the government 15 times as much for the same job.
“For the thousands of contractors in Katrina recovery business, this is the way the system works — a system that federal officials say is the same after every major disaster, but the local government officials, watchdog groups and the contractors themselves say is one reason that costs for the hurricane cleanup swell.”
How Contracts Are Won
In a related Washington Post article, the practices of a defense contractor Michael J.Wade were outlined:
“After meeting Rep. Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham (R-CA.) through a California contractor, Wade became friendly with the former Vietnam fighter ace. Starting in late 2001, he paid the congressman the first of about $1 million in cash, cars, a boat, antiques, trips and meals ... In return, Cunningham started earmarking, or setting aside, multimillion-dollar chunks of money for defense and intelligence programs where Wade’s Company, MZM Inc., was working.
“To ensure the earmarked money got to MZM, Wade worked in 2002 to get his company on federal procurement schedules — known as a ‘hunting license’ in the contracting world because it lets companies market directly to agency bureaucrats. He also won a ‘blanket purchase agreement’ with a defense agency that was broadly worded and also awarded without competition.”
Under the all too typical government contract procurement scenario, the rich get richer and the workers get less and less — and pay the taxes for the rip-off artists.
Will your job be next? Volunteer through your local or state organization to help save your job. Help fight against consolidation before it’s too late.
Another $1 Trillion
It wasn’t so long ago that I wrote about the national debt, which at that time was almost $8 trillion. It is now almost $9 trillion, and clearly still climbing.
Rather than rehash this issue with my own two cents’ worth, I will quote Cal Thomas, the ultra-conservative newspaper columnist. The March 22 issue of the Washington Times carried a Thomas column with the headline of “Spending Obscenities.” Here’s an excerpt:
“Not so long ago, in a country that now seems far, far away, Ronald Reagan told the nation: ‘We don’t have deficits because people are taxed too little. We have deficits because big government spends too much.’
“He uttered those words when Democrats controlled the House (where spending legislation originates) and the national debt was $2.3 trillion ... Last week, a Republican Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling to nearly $9 trillion. What would Reagan say now? He said then: ‘The federal deficit is outrageous. For years I’ve asked that we stop pushing onto our children the excesses of our government.’
“The Senate vote increased the debt ceiling for the fourth time in five years. The statutory debt limit has now risen more than $3 trillion since President Bush took office. That any Republican majority could preside over such fiscally irresponsible spending ought to be grounds for revoking their party membership.”
To the columnist’s words I will add only this: At some point the debt will have to be paid.
Do you think the hundreds of new billionaires created with the current policies will pay? Or do you think the working class will pay?
Wake up! Or risk paying even more.
Join with your union brothers and sisters in the fight against reckless spending practices and tax giveaways by your government, including the plan to consolidate your industry, your facility, your job, and your livelihood!