Monday, February 14, 2011

Obama Hints At Changes To Postal Service Workforce

The proposed budget released today by the Obama Administration would "promote an adaptive, 21st Century workforce" in the Postal Service but also make it a potential political football next year.

Postal executives' vision for a more adaptive workforce is to use more temporary and part-time employees so that USPS can efficiently adjust to usual fluctuations in mail volume. But that's hard to do when in many postal facilities there is no longer enough work for all of the full-timers.

The FY2012 budget proposal provides no details on how the Administration would promote "an adaptive, 21st Century workforce," but I can't see that happening without a significant number of retirements. And that might mean aggressive efforts to incent or induce retirements. (There's also what Dead Tree Edition has suggested -- bonuses for career employees who switch to part-time status.)

With USPS on track to go broke on Sept. 30, this budget has an unusual focus on postal issues rather than the usual not-so-benign neglect. It would give (or, rather, return) to the Postal Service just enough money to stay afloat for another year, which means USPS is now slated to go broke about five weeks before next year's presidential election.

The financial relief would provide the Postal Service "the breathing room necessary to continue restructuring its operations without severe disruptions" but must be "coupled with meaningful reforms to its business model to make USPS viable."

One "meaningful reform" on the minds of postal executives is ending Saturday delivery, but the budget includes the usual language about maintaining six-day delivery.

Another major goal for the Postal Service in the budget is to "realign its infrastructure, facilities, processing and delivery systems to continuously improve efficiency." But that had better not mean small post offices: The budget proposal includes the usual language stating that no federal funds can be used "to consolidate or close small rural and other small post offices in fiscal year 2012."

In other words, it's politicians' usual message to the Postal Service: Cut to the bone as long as it doesn't affect anyone who might vote for me.

39 comments:

Ray T. said...

The career employee switching to part time sounds attractive. The only problem is taht when you are "part time' it means the the PO can work you 60 hours a week. The older the workforce gets the desire to work more than 40 hours deceases.

Anonymous said...

Good for the PO, bad for the hourly worker. This would destroy your retirement. Those who are pulling in a military retirement or similar would be fine, but the vast majority of us don't have that luxury. I can see the "bonus" turning into regret at the end of a career.

Anonymous said...

It Also means you can work less than 40 hours and go broke.

marie said...

I'd like to know where there is not enough work for employees. TE carriers are working past dark and are afraid to take lunches and bathroom breaks. Clerks are being sent to different offices on a daily basis to deal with the behind the scenes mail that backs up constantly. Injured employees are told to sit in a room all day just so the PO can say "no work available", when there is plenty of work to be done. The problem is that we only hear what the PO wants us to hear and that is rarely the complete truth. I do agree the volumes are down, but there are so many other ways the PO can cut wasteful spending,without replacing all career employees with temps,where they can control wages and benefits for the workers and keep their own luxuries.

Anonymous said...

They keep saying not enough mail for fulltimers hell we have so much mail in our office we never have enough time to get it worked.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, that if career employees switch to part time they would lose their medical insurance. Maybe a better plan would be to hire retired postal workers back as part time employees. This might entice postal woker eligible to retire, to retire and come back as part time employees. Alot of retired postal workers seek part time employment anyway.

Anonymous said...

Don't do it do not go from full time to part time. If you do go part time you can work 2 hour a day can you live on 10-12 hour a week. Think hard and long if you wank to give up 40 hour to work 10-12 hour a week.

Drewk86a said...

It's a sad day when the President suggests that full time jobs (in any industry) be replaced with part-time, low-wage jobs.

How can anyone achieve the "american Dream" by working a part-time job?

I guess two part time jobs in lieu of one full time job would "lower" the unenployment rate, but it would not promote financial comfort for the worker.

USA 2011 = Many jobs, but no careers

Anonymous said...

The 21st Century work force- The working poor who will get free school lunches, medicare, HEAP, and on and on out of the taxpayer dollar. The only people who can contribute to the economny are people earning a living wage. Replacing "living wage" employees with part-time welfare getters will only further decimate the economy.

Anonymous said...

It is time for the postal service to get into the twenty first century and be like UPS and FedEx. Both of these companies use approximately 80% casual or part-time labor, with approxximately 20% full time employess who basically are in management or clerical positions.

The postal service could offer as an incentive of five years used towards seniority or age to help most of it's emplyees to retire. The worst part is that they would have to lay off the remaining employess who do not qualify to retire.

Then the postal service can rehire all those retirees and the ones laid off to work as part-time or casual employees.

Anonymous said...

Well said Drew. If the president wants a part time work force maybe he should start in his own backyard. Just think part time congressmen/women, part time senators, vice-pres etc. Just think of the money tax payers would save by not funding their medical insuance and all the othe benefits they receive.

Hello, Newman said...

Eliminate the retirement health care prefunding requirement and we won't be wasting out time on this discussion!

Anonymous said...

I was an employee and manager for thirty years.Part time and temp employees are not the way to go. By the time you get them trained, they leave for a better job or just get fed up with not getting a decent pay check or benifits and quit. I worked for 3 years as a part timer and it sucked. But I knew a full time position would eventually open up so I hung on. without that I would have quit.
The PCES cry they need flexiblity when what they really want is total power to do as they please.

scott said...

8! Get rid of the over manageement levels. Let the postmasters determine their daily needs and stop tryin g to do 2% less than last yr!

Jim said...

When I retire after 35 yrs of being treated like a dog, do you think i would even consider working part time for this place. I would rather be a walmart greeter, no offense to a greeter!

Jim said...

When I retire after 30 yrs working
as a letter carrier, do you think
I would even consider working part time for a bunch of idiots. I would rather be a walmart greeter, no offense to the greeters.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone be interested in part time work?, Unless you are retired. No benefits, working harder for less pay, treated like crap by Postal management,Out in snow and ice, and brutal heat.A bonus for switching to part-time, this is laughable. What dope would do that?

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the management who they have to constantly find "busy" work for them to do to keep their jobs...................3 managers to INSPECT FIRE EXTINGUISHERS ?????? One to actually check the extinguisher, one to record that it got checked on a clipboard, and one to oversee the first two. This actually happened in my office.

Anonymous said...

After being a letter carrier for over 25 years and reaching the age of 60 I have seen first hand the mismanagement of the postal service I have an unblemished record for these 25 years but in the past year I have received 2 letters of warnings because Im taking too long between scan points to deliver my route. Did anyone in management look out the window we have had five feet of snow and ice

Anonymous said...

make the managers part time this will weed out the slackers and let us do our jobs

Anonymous said...

Part Time work?!?!?! Is this the best they can come up with? Talk about the future of the P.O. being screwed!

Anonymous said...

I agree with some individuals on here about not converting to part-time completely, and the possibility of allowing retirees to come back on a part-time basis as long as it doesn't affect our annuities, period...that's the only way! Also, a buyout is fine...give those career workers who are eligible under the VERA, and give us the (a) substantial incentive (the OPM allowable is $25.000)...but you (we) probably can hold our breath on that one?? I for one am ready to retire from the P.O...but not retire completely. I have other aspirations, and getting out on decent terms would make me very happy...away from the rat-race which the postal service has turned into!! I respect all the craft people who have already put in 20-30+ years in...and if they choose to stay on, well then GOD bless them, and keep them (sane!)lol!! Union solidarity to the end!!

Anonymous said...

I have been a part time regular for 7 years now. There are advantages and disadvantages. Pros are you have a set schedule. They can't work you over those hours and you can't work under those set hours. The only time you can get forced in to work is on your holiday. You still get full benefits. Cons are if you want more hours to bad and if you want to go back full time you have to bid a newly established job and already be qualified if there is qualifications,unless there are excessed clerks in your office(to bad no full time job for you). Another way is to bid a residual job knowone wants, the catch is if there are any excessed clerks in your office they have dibs to those jobs before you do too. I have have been trying to get back to full time for 2 years now. To bad for me there are excessed clerks in my office.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Obama could work part time and the pretty wife work part time. Where do all my tax money go. Stop giving the money away.

Anonymous said...

Another anonymous says:
1) For all of the personnel that work at the USPS, (some in these comments), that cannot read or write in English utilizing a full sentence structure: Go away - You do not belong. It is unbelievable to me how many people at the USPS are making an EXTREMELY good living, while being illiterate.
2) Get rid of Pritha and her crew of nincompoops. You know that you want to say it, but you are afraid to. They have spent money on a system that does not function properly, just like the military spends money on war machines that they leave all over the world. Eventually the machine just becomes junk in a desert, but in the case of PostalOne, it started out as junk and has remained junk to date.
3) The reason why there are more man hours this year than what was estimated at the USPS, is because clerks are pulling their hair out trying to verify mail through the convoluted PostalOne system. Listen: Nothing against clerks, but the majority of them are NOT college graduates and are no more than the average worker with a High School education. They have been handed too much to try and do within a computer system that is not user friendly. And there is also the constant updates in the system that have to be followed and re-learned. By the time the average clerk thinks they know what they ar edoing, they have to start all over again. I cannot count how many times I have seen clerks staring off into space - literally - like a lost child. It is sad to see, and yet somewhat comical.
4) SOX Compliance: What can I say - Just another way that the USPS schemed to try and obtain more funds from Corporate America, (Oh - wait - That's not what their intention is and they will deny that the thought ever came into their tiny little managerial pea brains). They couldn't save their own butts at the USPS, so they came up with this convoluted scheme to fail mailings to obtain more postage funds to make up for their shortcomings, in the meanwhile making clerks, (AGAIN), work extra hours trying to find something wrong. So: Does it work - NO - It back fired on the USPS. It cost more hours to try and fail mailings, then what their profit margin was for failed mailings.
5) How many stupid rules can the postal service come up with to make everyone elses life miserable? We don't know yet. If it were a tootsie pop, it would be three, but it's the USPS, so that's about three per minute. 1.5" Wafer seals? Really? Wait - Maybe some 2" seals, so that people can't open their mail, throw it out, don't go to the sales because they couldn't open their mail to see that there was a sale, companies stop mailing because sales are down and the USPS is losing revenue the whole time. OH! I WONDER WHY? Hasn't anyone figured this out yet? If the USPS would quit making it so damn difficult for people to actually mail something, then their revenue would increase, along with printers and mail houses and the companies that actually are mailing the catalog to increase their business through sales.
6) GET RID OF THE UNIONS: This is what got you in trouble in the first place. They were a good idea 75 years ago, but are relatively worthless in today's society. The only pockets getting lined are the upper echelon of the USPS and the Union bosses and management.
7) Get rid of the retirement plan. Almost everyone else in the United States has to make their own way and try to fund their own persnal retirement. Why in the heck is it, that the government thinks that they are so special that their retirement has to be funded by the everyday worker of the UNited States. Get a 401K and save your own damn money. Everybody else does! Or maybe it could be, that you do not have the capability of doing so because you fall into the level of comment #1.
THE END

Anonymous said...

It is beginning to look like labor supporting Obama was a huge mistake. More and more it looks like Hillary would have been the better choice.

Anonymous said...

question?what is the service of the postoffice?answer=to deliver mail,packages etc.so why is management slamming employees saying they are not needed?THE EMPLOYEES DO THE JOB NOT MANAGEMENT.WE DONT NEED POSTMASTERS,POOMS,DM,THEY DONT DO ANYTHING BUT MILK THE POSTOFFICE OUT OF MILLIONS.IF ALL CARRIERS AND CLERKS SWITCHED TO SUPERVISORS WHO IS GOING TO GET THE MAIL DELIVERED?

Anonymous said...

I work work in an office of 6 clerks and 30 carriers. We are on flat sorting now,and there is not enough mail to keep the early clerks busy for 8 hours. We get alot of parcels to sort but have to be finished by 8:30am. Most carriers leave the office by 9:30.
The window clerks are always busy.
And for the person that said to get rid of of our retirement, most of the employees deserve it. This was the main reason I chose the USPS rather then a minimum wage job. I needed to support myself. I'ts a hard job.Especially for carriers,who are always running to complete their routes even in the rain and 100 degree heat. I'd like to retire before it gets any worse, but give me an incentive.
It is defintly not the place I started 27 years ago.

Anonymous said...

The two main problems I see with is some carriers and managers. You have carriers with 25 or more years who cant carry their whole routes anyway which puts pressure on everyone in that office. Then you have small post offices with 3 or 4 supervisors on one shift which is ridiculous. Understand that the carrier is the heart of the PO so getting rid of too many at one time would be devastating so that why they are being careful in this situation. Remember u still have to deliver mail from house to house and business to business like I said retiring too many at one time the PO would not be able to run.

Anonymous said...

It is being set up for failure so that the private sector can get in on the mail business. People still don't realize that when you get rid of craft employees you have no need for supervision. Instead of trying to pull the organization apart we all should be trying to work together so that our children might have some place to work as their parents did like firemen, police, doctors, etc. leave a legacy for their future generations.

Anonymous said...

They got a headstart in our office. They put a casual temp employee in charge of 50 carriers.. brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

We do not have the problem of not enough work. We have to much work with everyone being ordered to work at least 10 hours a day even if not on the OT list. We are regularly out until 6 or even later. The waste in the post office is management plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

People do forget and don't realize that we provide people a service. A service to deliver mail properly and accurately. If we lose the faith of our postal customers for us to do a better job, we won't have a job. Thats why we cannot have temps to fill in and delivering mail erroneously. Our perm.full time career employees are important to the system. Some sup'v. do not care when they receive phone calls from customers complaining. I was told of their attitudes to their inquiries to include cutting them short. It seems that as long as you got rid of the mail, back for your 8 hour day, you would be ok. They also try to compare you to those who do not take lunch or their breaks and questions why it takes you so long. Did I miss anything? Oh! I even witnessed a supervisor question a carrier why it took him so long on the street on a day when we had a snow storm. I could not believe it. What a dumb question. The Supervisor should have went with him to assist him to deliver the mail and maybe he could figure out why it took him so long. Right?

Anonymous said...

I guess this kind of gives you an IDEA of who not to re-elect in 2012! I agree with the person that said let's cut some fat out of all those folks you see on C-Span in the U.S. House & U.S. Senate Chambers, and see who'll be crying wolf then!

Anonymous said...

i I think that rather than close all of these small post offices they should pivot them out to postmasters like ours who need something to do rather than just getting into mischief and constantly performing time wasting practices.

Marilynn Reeves said...

Do NOT willingly switch to part time. Make them do away with you job and take part time as a last resort. That way you can draw unemployment. That's what I did starting Feb 2011. Anytime I work less than 20 a week can collect benefits. Stress level as sure improved and my back feels better.Plan on retiring July 1,2012 with 34 yrs.

Anonymous said...

Postal empolyees who started working in the mid 80's are on ss and do have a 401k . How else could the USPS over paid the matching funds by over 6.8 billon dollars, and now want back. The senate wants to give some of money back to help the postal service retire empolyees.

kcojones said...

You are a pos.

kcojones said...

Most employees have the thrift savings plan. Since 1984 all employees have thrift savings instead of a government pension.