Postal workers hire former Obama 'car czar'

The National Association of Letter Carriers has hired President Obama's former "car czar" as the U.S. Postal Service looks at severe budget cuts, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The postal workers union has retained the services of Ron Bloom, who oversaw the bailouts of G.M. and Chrysler for the Obama administration. The union has also hired Lazard, an investment bank that specializes in overhauling "complex, financially troubled institutions," The Journal reported.

The union argues that the agency's problems can't be solved by cuts alone.

Only revamping the USPS business model can keep the postal service relevant, union president Fredric Rolando told The Journal. The union is considering proposals to tap new sources of revenue, like providing license renewal and voter registration services and installing weather and air-quality monitors.

"There is a value to this network that goes so far beyond just delivering the mail," Rolando said. "You don't just start taking it apart and shutting out the lights before you know what you can do to grow the business."

USPS has already started shaking up its business model by launching advertising campaigns, contracting with small businesses to make deliveries, and handling "last mile" deliveries for UPS and FedEx, The Journal reported. But the agency plans to lay off hundreds of thousands of workers and close post office branches in order to trim expenses.

USPS will also have to ask Congress for permission to scale back its existing services and branch out into others. The Journal noted that some lawmakers have argued that the postal service "should be able to act more like a private business." The House is set to consider a bill that "would allow the postal service to sell advertising space on facilities and vehicles," The Journal reported.

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