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What Do School Districts and the Post Office have in Common?

Lisa Snell
October 7, 2009, 10:11pm

Employees that are paid for not working!

As Jonathan Butcher explains at Jay P. Greene's education blog:

Apparently, the U.S. Post Service shells out $1 million every week to “pay thousands of employees to sit in empty rooms and do nothing.”  Mail volume has slid 12.6% compared to last year, and the Post Office simply can’t find enough to do to keep postal workers busy.  “So they sit — some for a few hours, others for entire shifts…They spend their days holed up in rooms — conference rooms, break rooms, occasionally 12-foot-by-8-foot storage closets…”  Funny, this reminds me of grad school (without the free food).

The employees can’t be fired due to union rules, of course.  Not only that, but workers at slower post offices can’t even be reassigned to busier locations.

Why does this sound familiar?  Because teacher union rules in New York City created something remarkably similar.  As The New Yorker pointed out recently (and noted on jaypgreene.com here) , teachers unions have some 600 teachers in the city sit in “rubber rooms,” playing cards, chatting, or fighting over folding chairs.  These teachers get their summers off and are getting paid their full salary (in some cases upwards of $100,000 a year).


Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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