Read More »"/> Read More »"/>
Customers of Staples Inc. have been enjoying the conveniences of in-store postal services but as Bloomberg reports, that will soon come to an end. The cancellation is a “coup for the Postal Service’s largest union,” the American Postal Workers Union, which fought Staples’ merger with Office Depot and urged customers to boycott the company. Had they not done so, said APWU president Mark Dimondstein, all Staples stores “would have had full-blown post offices, not staffed by postal employees but rather Staples employees, and the Post Office also would have used that model to spread to other major retailers.” Union boss Dimondstein thus confirms that what is good for government employee unions is bad for consumers and taxpayers. As they can easily confirm, a visit to a regular post office is like stepping into the eighteenth century, but this is hardly the only problem with the US Postal Service, a perennial money loser.
The USPS posted a net loss of approximately $5.6 billion for fiscal year 2016, worse that the $5.1 billion for fiscal year 2015. As we noted, during years of massive losses approaching $16 billion, USPS bosses got hefty raises. Postal bosses have sought to cut costs by ending Saturday delivery, but the letter carriers union had a problem with that. So did some politicians, who called Saturday delivery a vital service. It isn’t, and the use of “snail mail” continues to decline. Still, if one did have to mail something, it would be nice to do so in a Staples store. Government employee unions have now quashed that convenience, and the USPS remains an inefficient money losing monopoly.
The only way to fix this problem is to cancel the USPS monopoly on first-class mail deliver and open such service for competition. In 2017 and beyond, taxpayers will see if the new administration in Washington is up to the task.