Heres Why Trump Went Postal on Amazon

Here’s Why Trump Went Postal on Amazon

The Amazon blame game took another turn on Thursday, when President Donald Trump spun the wheel back around to the U.S. Postal Service. Amazon.com Inc. is a convenient scapegoat for just about any issue. The mail is no different.

Amazon isn’t killing the post office. Since signing a landmark contract in 2013 to expand their business relationship and deliver packages on Sunday, revenue has ticked up; losses are down; and shipping is just about the only growth segment in the mailbag. The Postal Service is saddled by larger issues. Sure, there’s the internet, and nobody is sending postcards anymore, but the big financial dilemma is the agency’s yearly obligation to set aside cash to cover health care costs for future retirees. This accounts for billions in losses.

Give Up?

U.S. Postal Service makes small improvements but is nowhere close to sustainable

Source: U.S. Postal Service

U.S. mail is also required to cover every American, employing carriers who roam neighborhoods six days a week (or seven, if Amazon has a package ready). The Postal Service has said it actually makes money on the Amazon deal. E-commerce revenue provides “essential support to pay for the network and infrastructure that enables us to fulfill our universal service obligation,” David Partenheimer, a spokesman for the Postal Service, wrote in a January op-ed. “All users of the mail benefit.”

The Amazonification of U.S. Mail

Shipping revenue overtook junk mail for the first time last year

Source: U.S. Postal Service

Amazon rebuilt its delivery network around the post several years ago. The company operates “sortation centers” that complement warehouses and organize packages by zip code before sending them to post offices for the final leg of delivery. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, Amazon has a million-square-foot warehouse, connected to a 500,000-square-foot sort center with a covered conveyor belt that resembles an airport skybridge.

Ending the U.S. mail relationship would probably be a bigger setback for Amazon than for the Postal Service. On a dark day in late 2011 when the postmaster general proposed cutting 100,000 staff and shutting thousands of post offices, EBay Inc. shares dropped more than 6 percent. Amazon’s deal came soon after, and radical cuts were avoided—probably not a coincidence.

So the e-commerce giant got the Postal Service off life support, but any benefit beyond that is minimal. Nothing short of a complete overhaul of the mail system, some kind of bankruptcy-style financial restructuring or reneging on those health-care promises would turn the Postal Service into a sustainable business.

Maybe that’s Trump’s goal. Building an antitrust case against Amazon—an idea the President has floated—is a tall order. Amazon’s five-year contract with the Postal Service could be up for renewal this year. Breaking up that relationship would be an easier way for Trump to inflict pain on the #AmazonWashingtonPost, as he calls it.

Fully Charged

And here’s what you need to know in global technology news

A Facebook executive advocated for a grow-at-all-costs mentality in a controversial 2016 memo. BuzzFeed obtained a copy of the staff email from longtime executive Andrew Bosworth, which said deaths or terrorist attacks shouldn’t get in the way of the company’s mission to connect people.

Google is helping shape the future of U.S. wireless networks. The company’s plan to overhaul how valuable airwaves are used for calls and texts is gaining momentum.

Tesla is recalling about 123,000 cars. The voluntary recall affects all Model S sedans built before April 2016, capping the automaker’s worst month-long performance on the stock market since 2010.

Microsoft unveiled its biggest reorganization in years. Devices and software will live together, and Windows is now part of the cloud division. Windows chief Terry Myerson will depart as part of sweeping changes by CEO Satya Nadella.

The man who steadied Twitter wants to sell you a mortgage. As CEO of student-loan refinancer SoFi, Anthony Noto has to upsell the company’s high-earning clientele and fend off Goldman Sachs.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-30/here-s-why-trump-went-postal-on-amazon

Campaign Workers Unionize Just in Time for Midterm Elections

Several Democratic congressional campaigns have agreed to bargain collectively with the Campaign Workers Guild, a new union trying to organize election campaign staff in what may be a first for national politics.

The CWG announced Monday that it had secured a union contract with the campaign of Wisconsin activist Randy Bryce, the leading Democratic challenger to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in this year’s midterm elections.

Campaign staffers are the latest professional targets for labor organizers. While overall U.S. unionization remained at a record-low 10.7 percent, last year saw membership in the overwhelmingly non-union professional and technical services sector grow by close to 90,000 members, bringing the total number of unionized American workers to 14.8 million, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 

The CWG’s effort is a first for congressional campaigns, which are staffed largely by contract and short-term workers operating in what are often high-pressure work environments.

“There’s no question that it’s exploitative work,” said Rutgers University labor studies professor Janice Fine, who’s worked on local and national election campaigns. “It’s premised on the idea that young people will work 24-7 in a selfless — and often dangerously selfless — way, and that culture has been passed on for generations.”

Among the issues the union said it seeks to take on are hours that approach eighty per week and wages that are below $15 an hour.

Under the agreement with Bryce’s campaign, workers will get paid time off and earn at least $3,000 per month. The negotiated contract covers eight employees and includes a third-party reporting process for sexual harassment and monthly health insurance reimbursement of up to $500, the campaign said. “Randy is a candidate who practices what he preaches,” said Bryce spokeswoman Lauren Hitt.

Additional House campaigns and one gubernatorial campaign have also recognized the CWG and are negotiating contracts, according to the union’s vice president, Meg Reilly. “We’re starting with Democratic candidates because there’s obviously an explicit disconnect between the Democratic platform and how Democratic candidates treat their workers,” she said. She declined to identify the other campaigns citing ongoing negotiations.

The CWG and its members are following the lead of progressive non-profits. Some of them, such as the Center for American Progress and Lambda Legal, have agreed to bargain collectively with their employees in recent years. Last fall, the Vermont Democratic Party, whose new executive director is a former union political director, voted to
collectively bargain with its staff, who have affiliated with the United Steelworkers Union.

CWG’s ultimate aim is a collective bargaining agreement that would cover all Democratic campaigns for local, state, and federal office and those for progressive ballot measures. 

The Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee didn’t immediately provide comment in response to inquiries about the union. In a Monday evening post on Twitter, DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman, shared an open letter from the union and said, "The progressive movement needs to live up to its values. We have to treat our organizers with respect and dignity."

The Republican National Committee referred an inquiry to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which didn’t immediately respond. Ryan’s campaign declined to comment.

CWG’s Reilly said the national Democratic Party will ultimately benefit from campaign workers who don’t burn out and instead benefit from a sustainable career. “We’re simply fed up with that argument that we should sacrifice our health, our well-being, our time with our family, in order to placate the concerns of candidates,” she said.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-12/campaign-workers-unionize-just-in-time-for-mid-term-elections

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