Trump clashes with legislators and management over USPS reforms

Legislators and administrators gave a lukewarm response to President Trump’s proposed reforms to the US Postal Service (USPS).

One major issue is that Trump wants to end collective bargaining by unions toward the USPS management. In many other areas of government service this is forbidden and Trump wants to bring the postal service in line with this. Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee strongly objected to this, while David Williams, a recently sworn-in member of the agency’s board of governors, said he could think of “no way at all” such an approach would address the most significant drivers of USPS’s precarious financial situation.

The Committee agreed that there are serious financial problems at the postal operator but members of both parties agreed that it should remain a government enterprise. President Trump however leans toward privatisation of the Post Office. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert made no mention of that proposal during her testimony on Tuesday.

Republican senators speculated that a recommendation to create far fewer constraints for “commercial” mail would disproportionately lead to higher costs for rural constituencies. Members of both parties requested more insight into the analyses that went into the task force’s recommendations and suggested the administration failed to use proper models.

“Private shipping companies find value in using cost attribution models to weed out unprofitable customers,” Williams said. “In contrast, we deliver to each American doorway.”

Contrary to private shippers, he said, “the role of a public infrastructure is not to maximise profit, but to maximise value to our American supply chains and to citizens, especially those in rural and underserved urban areas.” Williams added, “High shipping prices steal value from American supply chains, all the way from producers’ assembly lines to the wallets of American citizens.”

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