NALC fights plant closures and consolidations: Momentum is building for a one-year moratorium on the closure and consolidation of any additional USPS processing facilities. As half the Senate weighs in, NALC is backing a similar effort in the House. More
Customer, employee rights when USPS solicits customers to change the mode of mail delivery: Updated: NALC is aware of an effort by the Postal Service in different parts of the country to convince customers to agree to change their mode of delivery to cluster box or centralized delivery. Click here for the latest information that details the rights of both postal customers and letter carriers.
Stop Staples: The NALC’s Executive Council has voted to endorse the boycott of the Staples office supplies chain. “NALC stands with the growing list of unions and progressive allies who have joined in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the APWU against outsourcing decent jobs,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “The Postal Service should not undermine its own superb network by sub-contracting work to low-wage, low-skill workers at chain stores. It should embrace new revenue strategies and innovation to better serve the public.” Click here to read more.
Government Snooping Revelations Should Give The Postal Service
A Huge Opportunity
For all the talk about the failures of the USPS, the latest revelations about government eavesdropping on our emails and telephone calls should be a big commercial for the benefits of physical mail and package delivery. The Post Office is uniquely positioned to exploit the opportunity.
Of course, it would help if Congress stopped trying to put it out of business. For years now, politicos of a certain ideological bent have been going after government services in general, and those with significant union populations in particular. They’ve legislated that the USPS must fully fund its entire retirement obligation, which is something it has obligated no other Federal agency to do (and few corporate retirement programs are similarly front-loaded).
That fact aside, though, the USPS has been facing challenges from services that displace its business (email can effectively replace letters, magazine delivery, and junk mail) and competitors that often outdo it (FedEx FDX +1.07%, UPS). Many have suggested that its size and structure preclude it from operating fast enough, let alone innovating.
The surveillance issue is a gift from the Gods of Marketing, because it could allow the USPS to reposition its presumed weakeness as unique strengths and benefits. Here’s how:
Security. Short of being opened or read by some secret X-Ray machine, snailmail letters are far more secure than emails or phone calls. Correspondence can be certified as received and insured along the way, though regular mail is just as safe from prying eyes. I’d make a big deal out of this, even innovating a version of regular service — call it SecureMail, or something — that provides additional qualities that ensure confidentiality. Heck, why not start selling invisible ink or Enigma-like code machines?
Pricing. Having the choice of using a giant, lumbering public utility masquerading as a service provider means that the USPS helps keep market prices in check and, more so, can’t arbitrarily raise them. Just think about how ISPs have tinkering with different rates for different users. There’s a populism message here that’s very powerful and compelling; the USPS was invented early-on in our country’s history because our Founding Fathers saw the vital importance of a level playing-field on which commerce could be transacted. Where’s this heritage in today’s branding? Why isn’t every expenditure on sending a letter or package via the USPS understood as an investment in perpetuating this important infrastructure?
Reliability. I know, I know, you can’t depend on the Post Office like you can, say, FedEx. But that’s not really true, especially these days (and anecdotal stories aside), and it certainly isn’t the entire story. The USPS is required to deliver to any person in the U.S. regardless of location. Its competitors aren’t. So why not make this point boldly, almost as a dare to the industry to step up and service the greater good of the country? Oh yeah, its competitors only have to make money. Sounds like a competitive position that can’t be topped.
The privacy point is the most compelling positioning point, by far. The USPS should hit it bluntly and hard.
Convention coverage: The NALC's 69th Biennial Convention took place in Philadelphia July 21-25. Select videos from sessions are now available, as are Convention Chronicles covering the entire week plus Flickr photo albums covering proceedings, workshops, activities and more. Click here to read more.