Going Postal: Black People and the Potential Default of the United States Postal Service

Not even Kevin Costner could save the USPS now

No one appears ready to say it, so we will. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is on the verge of default because it has become one of the largest employers of Black people in the world. It’s disproportionately Black job force – which employs, like the local, state, and federal government, a disproportionate amount of Black people – is a burden to generating profits, maintaining a high standard of work ethic, and ultimately, staving off default.

No company – private or public- can go 365Black and not expect a significant shift in productivity, efficiency, and overall skill within that workforce. The USPS has been prostituted out, like so many other government agencies, as a vast employer of Black people due to private companies and corporations continued inability to “make up” work for Black people to perform.

 Remember, private companies that are publicly traded must maintain profitability and answer to stock holders. Same goes for small companies that must generate revenue to stay solvent; if you hire unproductive employees that hinder the goal of profitability (whether your company produces a good or a service), the chances are you’ll go out-of-business.

Even though Federal Express and the United Parcel Service (UPS) have shown that delivering packages and important documents via the free market mail system can be a profitable enterprise (and extremely lucrative), the USPS believes that “What Can Brown Do For You?” only equates to a never-ending drive to diversify its employees.

We have pointed this out many times, but two of the top ten vocations in America with the highest Black representation are with the USPS:

Remember the vocations with the highest percentage of Black participation? We do:
1.     Barbers—35.0%
2.     Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides—34.0%
3.     Residential advisors—29.6%
4.     Security guards and gaming surveillance officers—28.6%
5.     Postal service clerks-28.3%
6.     Baggage porters, bellhops, and concierges—27.1%
7.     Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators—26.4%
8.     Taxi drivers and chauffeurs—25.7%
9.     Bus drivers—24.9%

10.   Parking lot attendants—24.4%

Wow! 28.3 percent of Postal service clerks and 26.4 of Postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators are Black! Remember that the Black population in the United States is heavily concentrated in the Southern states, so you can only surmise from this that the USPS would be even darker if there were more Blacks living in states like Maine, Kentucky, Montana, Utah, Iowa, Colorado, Idaho, Alaska, Nebraska, etc.

Same goes with the TSA. Invariably, at major city airports like Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York, Houston, and Chicago, the employees are almost all-Black. At smaller hubs, the employees are almost all-white.

We’ve written about the USPS  a lot. Here, here, and here. Now news comes that the USPS is facing default, which could mean the end of mail as we know it:

The U.S. Postal Service may lose $10 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, more than it had predicted, as mail volume continues to drop, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said at a Senate hearing.
The loss will leave the Washington-based service unable to make required payments to the federal government and puts it at risk of default as it reaches its $15 billion borrowing limit, Donahoe told the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at the hearing today. 

“We are at a critical juncture,” Donahoe, who is also the service’s chief executive officer, said in his testimony. “Action from Congress is sorely needed by the close of this fiscal year.” 

The Postal Service, which Donahoe predicts may lose $9 billion next year, is asking Congress to let it break union contracts to fire workers, loosen a requirement to pay now for future retirees’ health-benefit costs and end mail delivery on Saturdays. 

Mail volume will decrease 2 percent from last year, marking the fifth consecutive year of declines, Donahoe said in the testimony. Mail volume has dropped 22 percent since 2006. The service previously predicted a $9 billion annual loss.

Job Cuts

The Postal Service last month said it wants to eliminate 220,000 jobs, or 39 percent of its full-time workforce, by 2015. That would include firing about 120,000 people, breaking its tradition of cutting employment mainly through retirement and voluntary departures. The service is negotiating new contracts with two of its largest unions, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. The groups’ current contracts expire Nov. 20.

Look, we know what happens to a city when it goes from majority white to majority Black; just look at Detroit. We know what happens to a county that goes from majority white to majority Black; just look at Clayton County, Georgia. When a company or government agency decides that profitability is not as important as being a jobs program and social experiment for Black employment, the exact same scenario as what transpired in Detroit and Clayton County unfolds.

Black reliance on government jobs (and USPS employment) has helped maintain the illusion of a Black middle class. This Black middle class was a mirage, artificially created because the private sector was incapable of finding work that Black people could perform, and in times of austerity it crumbles before our very eyes revealing unemployment rates for “The Blacks” in levels not seen in decades. All because of austerity:

The 1987 film Hollywood Shuffle embodies the crucial importance of government work for black families. In one scene, a struggling black actor is reminded by his grandmother that he can always get work at the post office. 

“Something similar but maybe less pronounced can be said about a lot of government agencies,” said Philip Rubio

African Americans first gained employment in the postal service in the 1860s, in the wake of the Civil War. Two decades later, the post office began hiring through the civil service exam, creating equal access to jobs and equal pay regardless of race or gender. And civil service protections allowed postal workers to get involved in controversial issues such as the earliest stages of the Civil Rights Movement without risking their jobs. 

By 1940, 14 percent of the black middle class worked for the postal service, according to Rubio. In the decades since, other government departments, from housing to public works to sanitation, became major employers.

But now, with the broader economy stuck in a deep rut and working opportunities chronically lean, those government jobs are diminishing, too.

A NPR interview on what proposed budget cuts to the USPS would mean to Black people is found here. Vdare.com recently pointed out:

Black unemployment is staggeringly high. Partly because blacks are less employable on average, partly because of the “shrinking public sector”–Federal, state and local governments all hire a lot of African-Americans, and all American governments are running out of money.

Many American government agencies are inefficient. The USPS is inefficient. Many government agencies and the USPS have a disproportionate share of Black workers, compared to the private sector. If a government agency or the USPS fail, they will be bailed out. If a private sector company fails (okay, forget the bailouts of 2008), they fail.

Because the USPS and federal, state, and the local government are instrumental in maintaining the facade of the Black middle class, they could not fail. Money would constantly be funneled into keeping budgets full, so that the disproportionately Black employees could be paid. In our times of austerity, such foolish goals of hiring Black people for public sector positions (of which they could never get fired from for poor performance) are no longer feasible.

Does no one want to point out a correlation to the USPS troubles and its disproportionately Black workforce? Well, we will:

It all began after the Civil War, when African-Americans were first allowed entry into the postal workforce. By 1970, blacks, making up one-fifth of the postal workforce, were twice as likely to work at the post office as whites. Today, thanks in large part to union activism in the post office, in which African-Americans played a prominent part, the doors have been further opened for women and for other minority-group members.
But how long will those jobs be there? When the post office doors shut, where will military veterans (a majority of postal workers as recently as the 1980s) – with their jobless rate at 13.3% – find work?

This isn’t happening in a vacuum. On July 26, the same day the USPS announced its planned closures – which entailed a projected loss of 5,000 jobs nationwide – there was more bad news. The Pew Research Center reported that decades of gains in wealth in the African-American and Hispanic communities have been lost. Wealth is what your family has when you divide your assets by your debts; it’s what you pass along to your children. If we’re already moving in the wrong direction, mass USPS job losses will only accelerate the trend.

The USPS once provided a great service; timely, important, and integral to a community. That mission of excellence customer service has been replaced with a religious zeal for promoting Black employees in a 365Black agenda. Just how Black is the USPS?:

Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, a reduction in postal service would likely hurt elderly people who live in remote rural areas who are still dependent on the mail for Social Security checks, medication, etc., since FedEx and UPS typically don’t serve remote areas.

Moreover, the loss of postal jobs would disproportionately hit women and minorities, According to a recent report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the postal workforce now is 37 percent female, 21 percent black, 8 percent Hispanic and 8 percent Asian.

The future for the postal service looks quite bleak, or at least radically smaller.

“The postal service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value,” Donahoe said.

Unlike a lot of people who attack the government as insufficient, tyrannical, and a waste of your tax dollars, we tend to completely disagree. A government that puts its people first and strives for streamlining efficiency,  the elimination of waste, and providing the best possible services as well as safeguarding the public trust can exist. Our current form of government (since the early 1960s, or perhaps when Eisenhower sent the 101 Airborne to Little Rock in 1957) has been dedicated to the advancement of Black-Run America (BRA). The skies are fallen on BRA though, as being the primary provider of jobs for Black people is no longer financially possible.

The USPS, an organization that has gone 365Black, is finding out exactly what “falling skies” means. This is from National Review:

The Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent. Walter Russell Mead points out that blacks are overrepresented in the postal workforce, meaning that shrinking government will be even more likely than otherwise to be “a recipe for contentious and polarized politics.” This is also true for the non-postal civilian federal workforce, which is 17.7 percent black, compared to just 10 percent of the total civilian labor force. Berkeley’s Labor Center pointed out earlier this year that blacks were one-third more likely to work for government (at all levels) than non-blacks, and “the median wage earned by Black employees is significantly higher in the public sector than in other industries.” These findings prompted this (non-joke) headline at a leftist site: “Attack On Chicago’s Public Employees Hits Minorities Hardest”.

Oh well. It’s funny that the hilariously bad Kevin Costner film The Postman was about an individual masquerading as USPS employee for the re-stored United States of America. His character gave hope and inspiration to a post-Apocalyptic America and the communities that struggled to survive, because the USPS was a symbol of stability amidst the rubble.

Fitting that when you go into a USPS post office, the faces of the employees looking back at you are a stark reminder of why the United States is no longer a viable nation. Disinterested employees, rarely white, and few speaking a language that can scarcely be classified as “English,” are the public face of the USPS to millions of clients who opt to use alternative means of mail transportation then waiting in long lines to inevitably deal with surly Black employees.

A greater symbol of the impending collapse of BRA cannot be found then the USPS; a mountain of inefficiency because of its continued dedication to the advancement and employment of Black people. 



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