Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Could the Next Chief Executive to Take on Public Service Unions Be Obama?

Democrats gave the Wisconsin governor all the trouble he wanted last winter when he took on public sector unions. While service has remained the same, savings are up, and jobs were even preserved, unions still grumble about their reduced power. Now, the question will soon come up at the federal level.

The United States Postal Service is in crisis. Its debt soars while it faces obstacles to its desire to reduce costs. Politicians oppose cuts in service while unions have vowed to fight cuts in workforce tooth and nail. As a government business, it cannot expand into other fields. What is it to do?

Layoffs will happen. The Postal Service has substantially higher labor costs than FedEx and UPS, its main competitors and operations could completely cease in December unless something dramatic happens.

The long term answer lies in privatization. Free the postal service from its government shackles and allow competition in mail delivery. When entirely in the private sector, the Postal Service can explore other avenues of profitability that can support its task of mail delivery. It needs to find a digital enterprise to complement mail delivery and enhance customer service.

In the short term, a battle looms between the executive branch and postal worker unions. Obama has no choice but to go after the unions and reduce their power. This will end the Left's love affair with him, but would likely increase his popularity overall.

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