As postal management engages with the NALC in arbitration claiming that without major restructuring of the collective bargaining agreement they must be severely disappointed that Congress returned from their lengthy vacation with no plans to “save” the Postal Service. With ample opportunity to consider the Senate bill completed in the spring, the House postured and preened, but adamantly refused to schedule postal reform for a vote. This leaves postal management at the whim of the NALC arbitrator for salvation from the alleged impending disaster, fiscal insolvency.
Having achieved the one billion dollar annual savings from the APWU contract and anticipated cost reductions from service standard changes and consolidations, Congress is in no hurry to travel the political minefield of five day delivery and shredding of the negotiations process. They will rely instead on the benevolence of arbitrator Das to ignore the clear language in the statute governing postal wages, hoping that lightning will strike the same place twice and the Stark award will be duplicated. The strategy is to similarly “impress” Das with the APWU agreement.
Left on the table will be any serious review of the funding mechanisms for postal services; the retirement overfunding; payment for future health care costs and a source of revenue to subsidize standard mail delivery. Management advocates will argue the obligation of the unions is to rescue the troubled finances letting a do nothing Congress off the hook. They will allege that it is not necessary to change the law and adopt the amendment to attach wages to postal liquidity. If arbitrator Das likes the APWU agreement, he should duplicate its provisions for letter carriers.
This is a bizarre set of circumstances where the funding of a national service – mail delivery has been transferred to the authority of an arbitrator. I am absolutely certain that the framers of the constitution when inserting postal services in the original constitution did not intend to surrender its financing to the whims of an arbitrator. This is an absolutely ridiculous scenario to suggest that the funding of a national service would be the responsibility of one unelected individual.
Congress has abdicated its responsibility and left town again. Its members are now engaged in the selfish act of campaigning for reelection as they outsource the responsibility of funding a national service.