Postal Contract

The unions of the United States Postal Service have signed a new contract and it appears that there is no danger of a postal strike. Labor peace is a part of today’s economic climate in a way that one, growing up in the 1960s, never would have thought. Strikes were common in many industries then and the Postal Service even went out on strike a couple of times. And postal strikes were dangerous economic events for businesses like professional philatelists. Back then, auction catalogs were mailed and bids for the auction were mailed in as well so that a disruption of the postal service essentially meant the closure of all mail order businesses. Labor peace is ubiquitous throughout US industry and the reason is the same no matter what the industry. Competition has paralyzed workers and made them much meeker in their salary and benefit demands. Virtually every manufacturing company still left in America has competitors abroad and any work stoppage would mean lost market share that might be very hard to make up. Striking workers may well find that they have no jobs to return to. The workers of the postal service have agreed to a contract that union leaders would have ridiculed forty years ago. It calls for outsourcing labor (essentially hiring new workers at lower wages), work rule concessions and increased layoffs of more expensive workers. And the union agreed because of the weakened position of the postal service. Phones and email have replaced most of the postal services first class mail business and UPS and Fedex are formidable package competitors. As consumers of post office services for mailing catalogs and packages, stamp dealers have to be happy for this labor peace. And happy too for the technology that allows customers instantaneous access to our business

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