Postal Union Responds to Obama's Comments
Updated 2:46 p.m. ET
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.
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| August 18, 2009; 1:58 PM ET
Categories: Administration, Agencies and Departments
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