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Postal Union Responds to Obama's Comments

By Ed O'Keefe



President Obama's recent comments about the Postal Service have one of the biggest postal unions upset.

Updated 2:46 p.m. ET

A union representing postal supervisors, managers and postmasters wants President Obama to reconsider his recent comments that compared the Postal Service with UPS and FedEx.

In a letter sent late last week to the White House, National Association of Postal Supervisors President Ted Keating informed Obama of his union's "collective disappointment that you chose the Postal Service as a scapegoat and an example of inefficiency."

The Postal Service, UPS and FedEx are all suffering from the economic downturn, Keating wrote, "and your negative references to the Postal Service without knowledge of the facts was a disservice not only to the members of our organization, but to all postal employees."

NAPS represents about 35,000 postal workers nationwide.

"I doubt he’s seen that letter and I don’t have any reason to believe he regrets it, since he repeated it," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday when asked about the letter during the daily press briefing.

Obama made his first public comments as president about the Postal Service last Tuesday during a town hall meeting on health care in New Hampshire. In response to an audience member's question about how a government-run health-care program might affect private insurers, Obama said he thought private insurance companies would be able to compete with a self-sustaining public option.

Then he invoked the Postal Service: "I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the post office that's always having problems." That comparison provoked laughter from the audience.

The Postal Service suffered a $2.4 billion quarterly loss earlier this month and expects a $700 million shortfall at the end of its fiscal year.

In his letter, Keating reminded Obama that the major postal unions strongly supported his presidential campaign. "For our support we do not expect any special consideration. However, we would like to be treated fairly and not have our current situation misrepresented, especially by the Commander-in-Chief."

The union only wanted to inform Obama of its displeasure and does not expect any kind of response, according to a NAPS official not authorized to speak on the record, but eager to clarify the union's position while Keating is on vacation.

"I would think that it’s just noting that we didn’t appreciate the reference. I don’t think we’re expecting to go to the picnic table and have a beer," the official said.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 18, 2009; 1:58 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Comments

I am sure that President Obama didn't mean to ruffle the feathers of the Post Office. His example was only menat to show that a private company could comfortably compete with a government entity. President Obama should not be vilified because he smooved it over with a joke. Mr. Postman get a sense of humor, no wonder people use the word "postal" to describe someone who goes off in a fit of rage. Take a pill the president admires and respects the work you do.

Posted by: kirk2trek | August 19, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I think the Post Office was entirely on the mark, he has a tendency to make fun of a lot of people, poor skills without a teleprompter.

Posted by: gerry11 | August 19, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone is a little thin skin right about now. Teenagers have the perfect solution for the current times we are living in "Evetybody needs to take a chill pill" Lets all take a lesson from our teens.

Posted by: Truthandlight | August 19, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious the post office is having problems, so why is it a problem to say that out loud? I can't remember the last time I got something in the mail that I actually wanted. Maybe citizens would have a more favorable impression if junk mail only came once a week instead of every day. Building employee retention by offering cheap delivery of junk mail doesn't seem like a good business plan.

Posted by: DWinFC | August 19, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

To say that the USPS is fairly competing with private entities is absurd. Only the post office can deliver first class mail, use mail boxes, etc. The USPS has an extreme advantage and could not make it without gov't financing. The USPS is a typical gov't entity--vast waste, little accountability, big salaries, poor management, etc. As I recall, stamps went up a while ago because gas was so expensive. Gas is cheaper, but stamp prices are constantly rising. If the union is upset about the bad rap, it should put pressure on management to cut salaries and waste, lower the outrageous stamp prices (as the computer-age population increases, fewer people will pay bills and communicate through snail mail and the cost will hasten the exodus).

Posted by: coffic | August 19, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"THE ONE has a huge set talking about the USPS in comparing his own workers, even they are union, to the others,UPS AND FEDX. It shows how much of a MORON osama is when the pressure hits him and his mouth jumps in front of his mind and he makes another "STUPIDLY" statement. "THE ONE" is starting to make Dan Quayle sound like a GENIUS. Happy Tongue tripping you LYING POS.

Posted by: otisplumber | August 19, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I am a retired Postal Worker with thirty two and a half years service and what I have seen in my time of service is a bunch of thievery by the members of congress under several different presidents. The problem with the Postal Service as I have seen it, is the carpetbaggers in congress robbing the funds of the Postal Service to fund their pet programs. They have also destroyed the Civil Service Pension System as well as the Social Security System. So Mr. President check out the individuals that you have in your own Cabinet and the bunch of nitwits in your Congress. Then, maybe you can see why the Postal Service is going broke. You gave all of that money to the banks and what did the tax payers get out of it and billions of dollars cannot be accounted for. I think it's time you reached into the coffers and bailed out the Postal Service of which benefits the tax payers of this good old U.S.A. at least, they can get something out of the money.

Posted by: rkopnisky | August 19, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I HAVE NOTHING BUT GOOD THINGS TO SAY ABOUT MY LETTER CARRIER BUT IT STILL TAKES FROM 5- 10 DAYS FOR MY MAIL TO REACH IT'S DESTINATION WITHIN THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES.
IF I DID NOT PAY BILLS ON LINE OR THROUGH MY BANK, I WOULD BE CHARGED LATE FEES AND DAMAGE MY CREDIT RECORD.

YES THE POST OFFICE HAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

WHEN I WAS YOUNG THE STAMP WAS 3 CENTS AND MAIL CAME TWICE A DAY. ALL LOCAL MAIL CAME IN THE NEXT DELIVER. IF YOU MAILED IT THIS MORNING THEY GOT IT BY 3PM.

MAIL WAS SORTED BY HAND AND MOST WENT OVERNIGHT BY TRAIN, UNLESS MARKED "AIR MAIL"

MAYBE MR. OBAMA SHOULD SAY THAT GOVERNMENT WILL WORK IF YOU STOP ELECTING CROOKS AND FOLKS WHO STEAL YOUR MONEY AND BUST YOUR UNIONS. HE CAN'T SAY THAT BECAUSE ALL LAWS AND REGULATIONS ARE WRITTEN AND PASSED BY CONGRESS. THE PRESIDENT ONLY GET TO BE BLAMED.

Posted by: sm98yth | August 19, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I FORGOT TO MENTION THE HOUSING SCANDAL IN USPS MANAGEMENT.
OBAMA IS NOT TALKING ABOUT THE WORKERS, HE IS TALKING ABOUT THE MANAGEMENT. THE MANAGEMENT STAFF IN MANY POST OFFICES ARE POLITICAL APPOINTEES AND NOT HIRED ON ABILITY TO DO THE JOB.
POSTAL WORKERS HAVE TO TAKE TEST.
DON'T LOOK AT THE PRESIDENT, LOOK AT THE SENATE. TIME FOR TERM LIMITS.

Posted by: sm98yth | August 19, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Good God people, get your facts straight. There are no tax dollars spent on the USPS. Postage rates are set at the break even point. Salaries and benefits are all paid by postage sales.

What Obama SHOULD have said is... the USPS and the relationship they have with UPS and FedEx is the example we should use for health care reform. FedEx and UPS both fly US mail and the USPS delivers the last mile for FedEx and UPS.

If a public health care option was ininiated to compete with Blue Cross and the others it could deliver to the uninsured and the "last mile" (rural) while the current health insurers would continue their coverage at a lower rate, because of the additional, healthy, enrollees in their plans.

I think Obama missed an opportunity to sell the public option BASED on the mailing example.

Posted by: Postie3 | August 21, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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