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Northrop Grumman Sues US Postal Service Over Automated Snail-mail Sort Contract 80

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the brought-to-you-by-fedex dept.
McGruber writes "The Federal Times is reporting that Northrup Grumman has filed suit against the US Postal Service, accusing the USPS of violating the terms of the 2007 fixed-price ($875 million) contract to produce 100 massive automatic sorting systems, each capable of handling millions of magazines, catalogs and other pieces of flat mail. The Postal Service embarked on the project just as mail volume was beginning to nosedive, cutting into anticipated efficiency gains. The sorting machines' performance has been uneven, according to a series of reports by the Postal Service's inspector general."
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Northrop Grumman Sues US Postal Service Over Automated Snail-mail Sort Contract

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  • Makes me wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomhath (637240) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @04:19PM (#40053145)
    If the USPS is charging enough for media/junk mail (aka "flats"). They probably don't want to price themselves out of the market but I find it hard to believe they can deliver junk mail for what they charge.
  • by george14215 (929657) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @04:20PM (#40053153)
    Why not? Would any private sector business continue to do business with a partner that was suing it?
  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @04:34PM (#40053235)
    Private sector businesses do that all the time. One of my firm's clients is a - naturally unnamed - car manufacturer. There's a happy merry-go-round of lawsuits between the manufacturer and its contractors. It usually ends in a slap on the shoulder - nice fight, didn't get what you wanted, did you, but let's just have a beer...
  • by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @04:35PM (#40053243) Homepage

    We are certainly going to be seeing more of this. The problem is businesses have contracted for services based on at least things staying the same. We have five years now of shrinkage in the economy, jobs, everything. And it is going to continue down the same road.

    A big part of the problem is expectations and perceptions. What really torpedoed the housing market was a perception that things were suddenly different. It made no difference whatsoever that a house valued at a million dollars one day hadn't changed in any way but the next day people were only willing to pay a half a million for the same house because of a perception that the housing market was crashing. This, obviously, led to a crash in most of the country. Yes, there was a possibility that people might default on some loans - and then because a lot of goods and services were no longer selling as they did a lot of people lost their jobs - and once again, perception became reality and people defaulted on loans after they lost their jobs.

    Of course the Postal Service is going to try to weasel out from this contract for stuff they no longer need. They might get away with it, unlike most other businesses and individuals. A lot of the time a business will purchase equipment and hire people based on a contract that isn't really cancellable and often it is difficult to get out of those. Try signing up for a lawn service for five years and cancelling after the first year - you might get sued as well.

    A far bigger problem is that there will be a ripple effect here. Northrop Grumman will fire a bunch of people that were supposed to be working on this. Then will in turn stop buying as much stuff leading to further contractions spreading out through the economy. It is what happens in a shrinking economy rather than a growing one. This has happened before, but the problem is this time there is no confidence that the government is capable of fixing things in any manner other than throwing money around like a drunken sailor. And rather than just a crisis of confidence, there is actually a great deal of confidence that things are just going to get worse and worse.

  • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2012 @05:04PM (#40053385)

    That interesting.

    Meanwhile, I'm wondering why, when any of these companies completely botches a defense contract, the taxpayers eat the cost of their fuck-ups for years on end. And really, which project DON'T they fuck up?

    But when they make a bogus machine that the USPS doesn't want, they sue!

    I love how some companies get to have their cake and eat it too, on my dime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2012 @08:30PM (#40054419)

    It's not all gloom and doom, and maybe our economy needed a little contracting, but when you have one party opposed in lock step to anything that might fix things for purely ideological and "don't let the economy get better or they'll re-elect a black guy" reasons, this is what happens.

    Some people's belief in government's ability to fix things, as opposed to abillity, is about the same as my lack of faith that corporations will ever have loyalty to their people or their country, or that CEOs will ever stop being sociopathic egomaniacs who care nothing but for themselves.

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