Going Postal, One More Time

By Lyle Hill

As some of you regular readers may remember … raise your hand if you still have good memory. Okay. That’s what I thought, so I will give you a quick summary of what I was hoping at least some of you would remember. Several years ago—September of 2013 to be exact—I published in this very magazine, my plan to straighten out the United States Postal Service (USPS), which in case you don’t know, loses millions upon millions of our tax dollars every year. Before I publicly announced my plan, I performed an exhaustive study which I termed the Post Office Organizational Plan (POOP) which included a thorough review of USPS practices to find out what the root(s) of the problem(s) were. By the way, if you are interested in reviewing that original article, please send me $5 and a self-addressed envelope and I will mail you a copy … throw in another $3 and I’ll even autograph it.

Okay, where was I? Oh yes. After I completed my study, I put together what I termed the Emergency National Effort for Meaningful Action (ENEMA). This very comprehensive plan would have helped to create a modern, streamlined postal system and dramatically slow, if not eliminate, the financial bleeding. After my plan was published, I received a number of nasty calls and letters, mostly from postal workers or their spouses, and I
soon realized that the situation was not going to change … and indeed it hasn’t. Thus, the cash drain continues.

Once again, however, I feel compelled to try to help my fellow American taxpayers … it’s just the kinda guy I am. Now let me explain how this came about.

About two months ago, I sent a check to my tax preparation guy and, as of this date, he still hasn’t received it. Now I know you’re thinking that these things happen from time to time. So I will now tell you what doesn’t happen … historically anyhow …  and then I’ll tell you why it has happened and will continue to happen for some time to come. Two of my kids who live in the same western suburb of Chicago, have been getting first class mail service only two to three days a week for three months now. Some of those mail deliveries arrive after 7 p.m. My other daughter who lives in a different suburb, tells me she gets mail two to three times a week, but not always on the same days. Totally hit or miss. In my hometown, a good amount of the mail I get, when I get it, is for someone else. A business owner recently complained to me that his business gets first class mail deliveries at best,
three times a week. I could give you several other examples of mail delivery problems, but I’m sure many of the people reading this article have their own stories about the breakdown in mail service. Oh, and in case you haven’t been watching, we will soon get our second postal price increase of this year …it’s effective August 29 in case you want to mark your calendar. The previous increase this year went into effect on January 24. So in other words, two increases in seven months. And they still will have absolutely no chance for covering their losses with these increases.

Okay … now let’s discuss the cause of the current postal mess. Simply, it is the American Rescue Plan Act which went into effect March 12. This act allows for 15 weeks (600 hours) of time off with full pay for a list of eight COVID-related issues. The broadest of these items is item No. 6, which says … “If the employee (meaning postal employee) is experiencing any other (non-COVID-caused symptom) substantially similar (to a COVID symptom)” they also can take up to 15 weeks off. And the best part is you don’t need to prove any of your reasons for getting 15 weeks off of work with full pay. You can just phone it in. As one employee of the local post office team told me … “as soon as this was announced thousands of people signed on because many of them were worried that it would be reversed. And to get the full 15 weeks they needed to start right away because the program stops on September 30 … or until all the funds established for this program are used up.

I was in a small retail office the other day when the mail carrier showed up to drop off the mail. The office manager said to the mail carrier … “oh it’s so good to see you back at work.” To which the mail carrier replied, “I was getting tired of doing nothing all day and I was starting to feel guilty about getting full pay. I felt like eight weeks was enough.”

So now you might be saying, “Okay, Lyle, what do you think we should now do about all of this?” My answer is this. Send me money. A lot of money (small bills preferred). You know you can trust me, so send me big bucks and I will spearhead a renewal of my ENEMA plan by sending a personal letter to the President and the head of the U.S. Postal Service letting them know that we have had enough and we want change. And now you may ask, “what if this doesn’t work?” Well, then I will start a national movement to be known as the Defund The Post Office Movement. It has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America, a company providing research and technical services for the glass and metal industry. He also serves as president of Glass.com, an information portal and job generation  company for the glass industry. Hill has more than 50 years’ experience in the glass and metal industry and can be reached at  lhill@glass.com.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.