Friday, July 9, 2010

USPS May Split Role of Letter Carrier By Creating "100% Street" Routes

The Postal Service believes it can achieve significant savings by having letter carriers spend their entire shift delivering mail while other employees take over the carriers' mail-preparation duties.

The idea is to split the role of letter carrier into two different jobs -- casers who would take on any mail sorting now done by carriers and deliverers who would strictly deliver the mail. Here is what the USPS said about the tactic in a "Flats Strategy" paper it submitted to the Postal Regulatory Commission this week:

"Route Optimization 100 Percent Street routes – (2011 and beyond) –– LARGE Opportunity": As total cased volume declines, letter carrier casing will be concentrated on a few assignments, while most carriers will only perform street duties. A “caser” would prepare and pull down all cased mail, while a deliverer would load the mail and deliver it to a greater number of customers. This concentration will produce savings in fixed office time. It is projected that route reductions will result from this initiative. Also, vehicle savings will be generated through street route reductions."

The description raises several questions:
  • How exactly would the approach save money other than requiring fewer vehicles? Using delivery-point sequencing can certainly save money in the delivery units by giving the carriers more street time. But just divvying up the work differently among casers and deliverers would not change the number of hours required to do the work.
  • When would the casing be done? Delivery units typically have a small window between arrival of when mail for delivery and the start of the carriers' shift. Something would have to change -- perhaps earlier shipments to the delivery units (which would force changes at mail processing centers and delay delivery of some mail by a day) or later start times for deliverers (which would please neither customers nor employees). Or perhaps the role of caser would be taken on by an army of part-timers rather than people who are currently career letter carriers.
  • Will deliverers on walkng routes be able to handle a full shift on the street? Many a letter carrier has switched to other jobs in the Postal Service after knees or feet gave out. Some have expressed concern that longer routes (made possible by delivery-point sequencing and route optimization) are putting more wear and tear on the carriers. How would full-time deliverers fare on routes delivered mostly or solely on foot?
The document sheds no light on these questions. It's not even clear whether this tactic and some others discussed in the paper reflect definite plans or just something the Postal Service is pondering.

In fact, the paper has some other interesting, not-completely-explained statements about tactics under consideration, including "the potential of every-other-day sequencing" on Flats Sequencing System machines and elimination of "preferential manual handling of Periodicals mail".

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

old news talked about and dealt with 2 years ago..won't happen and won't save even 1 minute..still same time used to case and to deliver as a total unit..and with ffs not needed again old news and won't happen

Anonymous said...

How many miles can a letter carrier walk in a day?

Anonymous said...

This was tried 15 years ago and was a horrible disaster. They're just recycling the same bad playbook.

Anonymous said...

they can kiss my old tired mailman's ass

Martin said...

Aren't the "new and improved" routes horrific enough? The things that need to be "split" are bad managers, from the USPS, beginning with "Jackpot" Jack Potter. The USPS is owed billions in back overcharges on health care and so of course what's Jack up to, crying for an emergency postage increase instead. I'm so sick of the disgraceful way the USPS is being "lead."

common-sense said...

Jeez...what a cluster***k of an organization.

If you're going to have carriers on the street for 8 hours a day, you'd better cancel sick leave and fire all employees that get injured on the job, because that's what you'll end up with. So you say Fedex and UPS are on the street all day, but they're not on their feet all day.

If I didn't know better, I'd say someone is bribing Mr. Potter to tank the organization so the profitable parts can be auctioned off to the private sector. Ex-PMG Henderson was on the privatization band wagon big time and it wouldn't surprise me if he's in on it.

That said, the Postal Service is losing its identity -- and revenues -- because of poor management and its corollary public outcry for irrelevance.

Is the Postal Service a business, or a public service. Until that's settled, the organization will remain unsettled and the cause celebre will continue. fwiw...

Anonymous said...

"Many a letter carrier has switched to other jobs in the Postal Service after knees or feet gave out."
Who said that! Now if you're injured on the job the National Reasssment Process (NRP) shows you the DOOR! Good luck with that one.

Anonymous said...

Remember 6 & 2?! I do, what a mess!! What happened to all the millions spent on FSS machines and the new football stadiums that have to be built to support them?! Solution: take that dead wood seat belt nazi making EAS 15-18 and put them on the street for 8 hours in the Florida heat where the temps in the LLO (Long Life Ovens) go to 130 degrees!!! Wake up you morons in manglement!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how well it would work, but the time savings in the office that they are talking about would come from eliminating FOT (Fixed Office Time) for some routes. For example, if you have one person casing three routes, then you eliminate close to 33 to 43 minutes for each additional route cased due to the elimination of the FOT. I don't know off the top of my head everything that is included in FOT, but there is FOT for every route. There is so little mail most days that someone casing two routes or possibly more could be easily accomplished. If there are no flats to case due to FSS (Flats Sorting System), then I can see how someone could easily case a handful of residual flats and letters for several routes... The times they are a changin'.

Anonymous said...

worst managed company on the planet !!! name one worst ? you can't !!

Anonymous said...

Yes, this was tried many years ago and was a complete disaster.

The problem with this idea is, that the PO needs to stop thinking in terms of "street time", "office time" and whatever other stupid time classifications they can come up with. This is nothing but some stuffed shirt sitting behind a desk trying to pretend he is doing something with that fancy title that was given to him for kissing the right person's backside.

BTW: Jack Potter doesn't want anyone to know this, especially Congress and the American public, but: The USPS would have made a profit every year except 2009 if not for the CONGRESSIONAL MANDATE TO PREFUND FUTURE RETIREMENT HEALTH PREMIUMS. Not to mention the overpayment to the CSRF. Proof right there that the USPS is a profitable "business" model. What's really scary is the people running this zoo could overpay by 75 billion bucks and not have any clue about it. Wonder where we should go to start fixing this mess.

Anonymous said...

unless they would try to have clerks that are currently on standby do the casing this wouldnt save any money at all. that would be a violation of the CURRENT contract. i loved the letter posted on postal reporter comparing usps strategy against walmart when sales drop... hope you all read it. we all know how walmart does.

Anonymous said...

What about customer service? If all you're doing is casing you have no idea what's going on street. So more bad mail that should be forwarded going out to the street. What is it with the A-holes at Hq that every solution is worst then the problem and ends up delaying the mail? And like some one else said the fixed office time won't go away. It takes what it takes.

Anonymous said...

Another IDIOT IDEA from management! Does the term "repetitive motion injury" ring a bell? Let's increase the repetitions and see how many carriers we can break, then try to fire. Such a wonderful, caring organization -- the postal family.

Anonymous said...

This is the old discredited router system of the early 90's. 8 hrs. in the street esp. on a walking route?
Better get some under 30 young pups, 'cause thy will me major burnouts by 35.

Anonymous said...

a person standing in a case doing nothing but casing and tying out is repetitive motion injury. Shoulders, elbows, and hands would never survive. We already have carriers with tennis elbow and arthritic thumbs. Don't need any more, of course, they would just get rid of you because you can't do the job.

Anonymous said...

A little info for the FOT savings, FOT is 5 min. personnel needs, 10 am break, pull-down time, pulling hot-pull case and parcel hamper, also signing for accountables. The only thing I see you would save for the street carrier would be the pull-down time which would be shifted to the caser. All the other time will be shifted to the street carrier but will still be needed!

Anonymous said...

Stupid stupid stupid...more idiotic management decisions or suggestions made by someone who has NO IDEA how to carry a route!!!!...Sad

tony said...

Yes 2001, delivery redesign. Millions and millions spent and no consensus on changing the city carrier craft. The router/streeter test done in Rochester MN was a complete failure. The modified rural system, where DOIS (the first one that actually worked) was designed, came from St. Augustine. That is the system that should have been adopted then and still is now.

Anonymous said...

Injuries would be on the rise for sure

Anonymous said...

FOT elimination wouldn't necessary save time. Office times are determined by the lesser of Estimated Standard (which includes FOT) or the average used. More than 95% of routes have an average time less than standard so that time will still be needed. In the end, the savings by doing this will be de minimis. We already have carriers walking almost 20 miles a day on hard surfaces...this would just make OWCP costs soar. Stupid idea that they've tried before and failed at.

Anonymous said...

This is something that will not work. You cannot walk out and just deliver mail that has been put up by someone else. You will lose time on the street, weeding out stuff that isn't suppose to be there, ubbm, forwards, FOE's, etc. The people that case the route will continuely have to spend time with the letter carrier to ask about updates. ONLY the person casing AND carrying the route knows all the infinite details that happen on a route on a daily basis. If Congress doesn't get some b*&^s and fire the incompetant people at the top, who come up with these assinine ideas, nothing will get done. FIRE POTTER!

Anonymous said...

"Or perhaps the role of caser would be taken on by an army of part-timers rather than people who are currently career letter carriers." An "Army of part timers" who know NOTHING about the route, or the customers, and keep mis-casing the same mail every day. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Only way the PO can save tons of money is to eliminate all the Non Assigned Managers/Supervisors EAS 15-22, who were placed in special projects just to accommodate them since they belong to a large clique w/in the Management unit. Every station doesn't need a Manager & numerous supervisors, they ONLY need one person to managed the entire station since all the employees already knows their assigned duties, day in and day out, they don't need to be told what to do.

Anonymous said...

So, who does the Moved Left No Address paperwork? Who fixes the mangled Change-of-Address screw-ups? Who does the 3-way cards? Who handles the information request for the prosecutor's office, Social Security Admin, etc, the router or the deliverer? With section-8 housing and college/university routes, these functions are absolutely necessary.

Anonymous said...

I do not see how this could possibly work. To actually "know" a route you would have to case AND deliver..this sounds like a piecemeal setup that can't possibly work. The customers on my route would literally have a fit, they already complain to me and the management when a sub works that is not FAMILIAR with the route. Of course by the "polls" we read the public doesn't care, right...as long as it isn't THEIR mail...dumb idea!

Anonymous said...

This will takeaway from the peronality of the routes that exist. Automate as you can but don't take away the personality from sustomer to carrier away. Carriers need to do the best they can to get the jobs done in an efficient and proficient manner without trying to break the bank and all will be good. 8 hours pay for 8 hours work.

Anonymous said...

How do you think the northern US letter carriers would be able to deliver 8 hours on the street? Anyone in management willing to try humping snowbanks when it's 30 degrees below zero with a 20mph wind? Get real!!

Anonymous said...

Just case everything in the office-it'll save gas and give a safer delivery-shorter delivery when carriers don't have to paw thru dps. Now they are fixated on misthrows-if every body cased in the office misthrows would not be an issue. I just don't get why they are fixated on forcing long street time-less safe, waste fuel, trashed bodies? Why?

Anonymous said...

here is the huge problem. You would have people casing routes that have no idea who actually LIVES on the route. All those labels on the street that remind us who lives there, the caser would never see that. And so we would have so much extra mail to deal with on the street that never should have gotten there in the first place!

Anonymous said...

When will they start at the top and cut the fat there.

What will they do with the Rural carriers. In our office they get paid for 8.5-9.5 hours and the most they work is 6-7 hours. Most have to try hard to make their route route 6 hours and they are not accountable for near as much as the city carriers.

Where are my glasses? said...

I would like to ECHO what Mr. Martin has said.

I also want to chime in as well.

If Congress is thinking of trusting the Postal Service with any of the 55 or 75 or whatever Billions, please don't.

It is, they who will proberly line there pockets one more time before the good "Old Boys" retire with an early-out gratuity as well. Blowing the money comes natural.

If they don't touch the mail, then we seriously have to look at the necessity of those positions.

Maybe their should be afternoon routes for those who do absolutely nothing after the last letter carrier in the office has gone to the street.

Then what "Street Supervision" all day long???

Letter carriers have lost 30+ thousand jobs since the beginning of the contract, but the ratio of letter carriers to supervisors has stayed the same or gotten higher since then.

It is about time that management from the top down were closely looked at and audited independantly of the Postal Service and Goverment.

Benjamin Franklin would be discusted at the Postal Service today.

I also believe that the goverment needs to look closely at the records of who has worked harder at getting along and working together on be-half of the American people who pay the salaries of postal workers.

Union has worked extremely hard over the course of NALC history. Being willing to cooperate and taking the initiative to create ideas, working with what should be their partner in business instead of the organization on the other side of the fence.

Lets look at that relation ship.
If I am right, maybe the Letter Carriers should be more empowered like they have been through all there RAP sessions.

A lot less politics from both sides would be a start.

However the BIGGEST problem is the sheer fact; not that there are two sides, but that there is that FENCE that simply will not be taken down.

IARAP, MIARAP & JARAP would not have happened unless those doing the job of a letter carrier were part of the overall process leading to the COR program.

Letter Carriers will need to be part of the FSS installation program in some manner as well, not just donkeys without a Hee Haw...

Our goverment needs to intercede and give both parties a "Direct Order" to get it together!

That goes for the Postal Board of Governers too! Start looking out for the American people by running a TIGHT and CLEAN ship. Get rid of the waste, but start with the corruption and look in the mirror first.

It must start at the top, and level out the business by empowering from the street up.

Pyramids don't work well in a business model.

Lets make Ben proud.

Congress it's your call.

Eddie V

John said...

How many knee and hip replacements do you think carriers would need in there life time because of these stupid ideas the postal service comes up with!

Anonymous said...

People are not machines. Our bodies will not hold up to that kind of abuse. People that case will have problems with shoulders, hands, and elbows. People that carry will have problems with feet, knees and shoulders, not to mention the slips, trips, and falls that come with carrying.
And the customer service will fall through the cracks. I have an all walking route, 10+ miles. When I take leave there is someone different on my route every day. I have all kinds of complaints when I come back.

Anonymous said...

And thanks to the COR System, every park and loop carrier working 8 hours on the street will be CARRYING 35 POUNDS EVERY TIME THEY STEP OUT OF THE TRUCK!!!!! I was wondering how I was going to use up my 1600+ hours of sick time. Thank you, bean counting management idiots.............

stephen said...

So PTF's will case the routes, and veteran carriers will deliver this mess. Can you imagine the OT involved in pulling out all the mis-cased, mis-sorted, mis-sequenced letters as well as the mis-cased, mis-sorted, mis-sequenced flats. The CFS, ANK, FOE, etc, etc, etc...

We'll be on the street for 9-10 hours a day!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever gotten a hand off from some one that just doesn't care about thier route? Put together like crap, too many letters out of order. Now your talking about taking a part timer and letting them put my route together for me? And this is going to not add one minute to my street time?

Anonymous said...

Seeing this makes me feel that I'm not crazy. I say it to many Postal workers that the USPS won't last for another 10 yrs. Management think they're winning by cutting routes and our jobs, but they don't realize that they won't have a job either. Open your eyes and stop cutting corners.