The New York Times reports that the postmaster general blamed Congress and the postal union for the Postal Service’s current financial problems, in a speech on Tuesday. According to the Times, as USPS revenues have declined in recent years, the Postal Service has enacted cuts that consolidated 305 mail-processing plants and eliminated over 200,000 jobs. The postal union released a statement strongly disagreeing with the postmaster general’s characterization of the problem. The Washington Post has a more in-depth report on postal workers’ and the postal union’s reaction to a new human resources plan for the postal service.

The Wall Street Journal reports that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced that the union would make a major push to raise wages in states and nationally in the next year. The AFL-CIO hosted its first-ever national summit on raising wages this past Wednesday. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Labor Secretary Tom Perez spoke as well.

Wet Seal, a clothing retailer, abruptly announced on Wednesday that it was closing 338 stores and laying off 3,700 employees, according to the New York Times. Last month the company warned it may need to file for bankruptcy protection, but according to Businessweek, it didn’t alert its employees until this week.  Several employees posted signs in stores and expressed frustration on twitter over the late notice, according to the Washington Post.

In international news, Germany’s unemployment rates continued to fall in December, according to the Wall Street Journal. The positive numbers suggest that consumer confidence is rising in Germany, which is Europe’s economy.