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White House threatens to halt USPS contract with Oshkosh Corp.

Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 8:45 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2022 at 8:51 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - A contract between the Oshkosh Corporation and the U.S. Postal Service could be in jeopardy.

The contract calls for billions of dollars to be spent on building both electric and gas powered delivery trucks, but Wednesday the Biden administration pushed back on the deal, saying it doesn’t go far enough to combat climate change.

It was nearly a year ago when the U.S. Postal Service announced that it signed a contract with Oshkosh Corporation to build up to 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) over the next decade.

At the time, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said, “This is an historic moment for the Postal Service. It is also a critical piece of our 10 year business plan to better serve America.”

However since that announcement there’s been a ton of scrutiny, with the White House advising the Postmaster General in a letter dated February 2nd that the environmental review was “flawed,” and the EPA finding the “analysis to be deficient.”

The agency also points out that only 10 percent of the vehicles will be electric, which isn’t enough considering the postal service accounts for almost a third of the entire government fleet.

The Biden administration eventually wants the entire federal fleet to be powered using clean energy. (You can read the complete letters at the end of this article).

The company is also facing criticism from the union for moving production to South Carolina.

Outagamie County Executive and U.S. Senate Candidate Tom Nelson met with workers last week.

“They knew when they got this contract everyone was expecting, everyone was expecting that these vehicles would be built in Oshkosh, and now they’re not doing it anymore. Shame on Oshkosh Truck for doing that, what they did to Oshkosh and what they’re doing to the workers. It’s wrong,” said Nelson.

The president of the United Auto Workers says the contract doesn’t make real investments in good union jobs or a cleaner future.

Senator Tammy Baldwin says she’s concerned the South Carolina facility will have “inexperienced, likely non-union” employees:

“Oshkosh Defense has a history of manufacturing trucks for government service in Wisconsin with skilled union labor, so, I remain deeply concerned that they decided to manufacture the postal trucks in what appears to be a newly acquired facility with inexperienced, likely non-union hires, in South Carolina. I have pressed Oshkosh Defense’s leadership about this decision, and I am pressing the U.S. Postal Service for more information about what drove it. I will also continue to urge Oshkosh Defense and the USPS to further scrutinize the final production location in South Carolina based on the strength of Oshkosh’s existing union workforce in Wisconsin. I want these trucks made in Wisconsin.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)

The Biden administration is also threatening court action if changes aren’t made to address their environmental concerns.

Action 2 News received the following statement from Oshkosh Corp.

“We’ll have to defer all questions about the Final Environment Impact Statement (Final EIS) to the United States Postal Service (USPS). What I can tell you is that with the Oshkosh Defense NGDV, the USPS will be able to replace their fleet of 30+ year-old Long Life Vehicles (LLV) with a much more sustainable fleet of both zero-emission battery electric vehicles (BEV) and low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE), built on a common chassis. Oshkosh can produce any mix of BEV and ICE vehicles, up to 100% BEVs, that the USPS wants. The vehicles will include the modern safety and ergonomic features carriers deserve, such as a driver airbag, front and rear automatic braking, superior direct visibility, low step in heights, 360-degree camera system, air conditioning, adjustable mail trays and large door openings,” says John Bryant, President of Oshkosh Defense.

Regarding the site selection:

“We are proud that the U.S. Postal Service selected Oshkosh Defense for the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) program. We evaluated sites in multiple states, including Wisconsin, for production of the NGDV. The Spartanburg, South Carolina facility ranked highest in meeting the requirements of the NGDV program and gives us the best ability to meet the needs of the USPS. We are also pleased to share that we have chosen to establish the NGDV Technical Center right here in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The center will be staffed by over 100 team members who will provide engineering and program support for the NGDV contract,” says John Bryant, President of Oshkosh Defense.

Letter from the White House

Letter from the EPA

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