In its latest effort at imploding, the Postal Service announced on Thursday (September 15) that it will be “studying” 252 mail processing facilities around the country over the next three months with an eye towards closing and/or consolidating them in the not too distant future. There are currently 487 of these facilities. Because Postal Service officials in Washington aren’t known to be “studious” and often take short-sighted short-cuts in attempting to find solutions to problems, the news was received with much concern.
There are six such facilities in North Carolina: two in Fayetteville, two in Kinston, one in Rocky Mount and one in Asheville.
Postal employees were treated to a standup talk and a video message from Postmaster General Pat Donahoe this week on why such a hair-brained move was necessary. In the standup talk the potential closings are referred to as “network changes,” and (the one I particularly like) “network adjustments.”
But to put everyone at ease, postal officials are quick to add that the future closings and layoffs will only have “some impact” on commercial mailers but that individual customers aren’t likely to notice any change at all. They say that these changes will be “seamless.”
For those who are familiar with the inner-workings of the Postal Service, you pretty much recognize this as a lie. A whopper. No one, I don’t care how smart they are, can close hundreds of mail processing plants and post offices (approximately 3,700) and lay off several thousand employees, and it not be noticed.
The mathematical whizzes in Washington estimate the closing of these facilities (before “studying” them) will save them $3 billion. That’s in addition to the money that will be saved by closing nearly 4,000 post offices and laying off 220,000 of its hardworking employees.
There’s something else that you and I won’t notice once this is seamlessly implemented: first-class mail will be delayed by an extra day. Mail that normally gets somewhere in a day will take two, and so on. Then if they succeed in duping Congress into believing that eliminating Saturday delivery is a great money-saving idea, then you can factor in another day of delay. But you won’t notice. Remember, it’ll be seamless.
Except if you happen to be one of the thousands that lose their jobs. No doubt you’ll notice that.
In responding to Thursday’s announcement, APWU President Cliff Guffey said, “Degrading service is not the answer to the Postal Service’s problems. The Postal Service should be looking for ways to strengthen service and increase relevance in the age of digital communication.”
Unfortunately, that would require innovative thinking on their part. And the geniuses in Washington can’t spell innovative, much less practice it.
When the standup talks were given this week, craft employees were warned not to talk to the media lest they be disciplined for insubordination. You don’t suppose they might have a differing opinion, do you? We wouldn’t want that getting out, now would we?
At any rate, the standup talk ended on a cherry note: “Thank you for listening and for the great job you are doing every day.”
(Now doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?)