Letter carrier union hires former auto czar

October 16, 2011 http://detnews.com/article/20111016/AUTO01/110160337

Letter carrier union hires former auto czar

DAVID SHEPARDSON
/ Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington— Former auto czar Ron Bloom has a new industry to help through rocky economic times: postal carriers.

The National Association of Letter Carriers, the union representing 280,000 postal carriers, said Sunday it had hired investment bank Lazard Group, LLC and Bloom — who left the White House in August — as financial adviser.

The union chief, Fredric V. Rolando, said the union had hired them to help address the U.S. Postal Service’s current financial crisis and the long-term strategic, structural and business challenges.

“The nation’s letter carriers are committed to preserving six-day-a-week universal postal services to every address in every village, town and city of the nation,” Rolando said. The union and “our financial advisers are prepared to work cooperatively with the USPS, the Congress, the White House and all other postal stakeholders and constituencies to resolve current cash flow and financial issues and develop a viable long-term, pro-growth business plan for the Postal Service.”

The post office — which employs about 600,000 people — has threatened to cut up to 220,000 jobs by 2015, end Saturday deliveries and close thousands of post offices as part of a plan to cut billions in expenses in the face of declining mail deliveries. It also must set aside $5.5 billion annually for retiree health care benefits under a 2006 law and lost $3 billion in the second quarter this year.

The union’s efforts are “focused on the continued provision of universal service to the public and the preservation of hundreds of thousands of good middle-class jobs.”

They praised Bloom and Lazard — where Bloom previously worked — as having “extensive experience helping to revitalize numerous large and complex business enterprises around the world (and) can provide valuable assistance to all stakeholders who share our commitment to maintaining and growing this vital national resource.”

The union’s current five-year labor contract expires Nov. 20.

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