The U.S. Postal Service may be galloping after the Pony Express into oblivion. And its unions may be spurring it on.
The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in September. Yet union negotiators continue to play hardball. They probably expect a knight in shining armor (the federal government) to ride to the rescue.
Wake up! The federal government is trying to jettison expenses and this agency is quickly turning into a dinosaur. Alternate delivery systems such as e-mail, texting and FedEx have siphoned the agency's lifeblood. Rain, sleet or snow may not stop the mail but bankruptcy would shut it down. Once that horse is out of the barn it will be too late for the unions to close the doors.
The Postal Service has bled money at a rate that would fill the Red Sea. The Band-Aids of a few price increases for stamps have done little to stem the flow. Without a viable business plan that includes major cost reductions the agency is headed to Boot Hill.
If that happens, the government may put the delivery services up for bid. Certain areas of the country would bring competitive bidding that could help revive the government's coffers. However, more rural areas like Walla Walla would likely be relegated to inferior mail service.
How soon this happens may rest with the flexibility of the unions.