Saturday, April 9, 2011

Do We Really Need New Laws To Get More Postal Employees To Retire?

Congressman Darrell Issa complained this week that not enough U.S. Postal Service employees are retiring and hinted at legislation that would force more retirements. But, like USPS executives, he doesn't seem to be looking at the major reason postal employees are reluctant to leave.

First, consider the California Republican's comments during a House Oversight Committee hearing about the Postal Service on Tuesday (starting at about the 2:31:30 mark):

"You already have 100,000 too many [employees] today. I've asked my staff to look at a lot of areas that we may legislate." (He seems to be getting soft on the Postal Service: Six months ago, he said USPS had "200,000 people who should be retiring.")

"What we probably need to do is bite the bullet one time and figure out how we’re going to retire people that are over 55 and have over 20 years of service to help get your number down," he said at Tuesday's hearing. "Voluntary departures aren't working." Citing an attrition rate of barely over 1%, he added, "Any private company would love to have the attrition you have. You still have two people that are 98 years old on the payroll."

Now consider this recent statement from Roseanne Jefferson, a former USPS human resources manager, in her monthly retirement column for PostalMag.com:

Afraid to retire
"I'm always surprised at the incredible misconceptions that our employees have about their retirement plan. Particularly in the last years of their employment, they are so sure of their retirement benefits, and are so surely wrong. It has always amazed me how our organization is OK with the understanding that employees are afraid to retire, because they don't trust the newly HRSSC to get their retirement correct."

"Many . . . have said the lack of information given during an on-the-phone seminar is lacking real substance as it relates to the individual employee. Many have stated it sounds scripted and is overly generic when you call and ask questions."

USPS employees have good reason to fear retirement, including inaccurate pension estimates, inconsistent answers to retirement-related questions, and months-long waits to receive full benefits after retirement.

Before politicians and postal executives consider new legislation that would push employees into retirement, shouldn't they first fix what's hindering voluntary departures? And if, as widely rumored, many employees will be offered early-retirement incentives in the next few months, wouldn't it make sense to provide retirement counseling without first making them commit to retiring?

Other articles related to barriers to retirement at USPS include:

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have all these carriers with over 20+ years and over half of them cannot carry there whole route anyway. I figure if you cant carry your own route why are you there move on and let somebody else do it. But this is a position they dont want to get rid of to many people because u still have to deliver to every household and business and most of these offices is short handed anyway.

Anonymous said...

“Where the VER is concerned, the HR Shared Service Center cannot verify whether employees are on the eligibility listing or discuss individual questions/concerns until application for early retirement is submitted and approved.” This policy of “Please DON’T call the HRSSC” is posted on the USPS VERA website and is in the VER offer the employee receives. This is contrary to OPM’s instructions on the retirement application form and in their CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices, Chapter 40. The NALC filed a Step 4 grievance on this issue in 2009.

USPS employees cannot get an estimate of the FERS Annuity Supplement, except Postal Inspectors who are eligible at age 50. Why are they an exception? The website, FedRetire.us, can calculate it accurately, but not HRSSC. Why? The FERS annuity supplement is about $35 per month for each year of federal civilian service. With 25 years of service, that is about $875 per month. Would that be important to you in your decision to retire?

Under the new APWU contract the USPS could save a ton of money by replacing 20% of the career workforce with non-career PSEs. It could do that by offering Voluntary Early Retirement with a $25,000 incentive.

Anonymous said...

Tell anonymous to get his or her information right before opening their mouths. I have been working for the USPS since 1978 and I enjoy working. I carry my complete route in addition to doing several hours of delivery on other routes every week and I have no problems doing it. It is easy to make remarks without a bit of knowledge. This is probably written by someone who sits on their fat ass all day and does not physical labor at all. Know your facts before you speak MORON!

EarlyOut said...

It would be easy to get civil service retired. If they went to a "High 5" instead of a "High 3". Must I do all the thinking.

Anonymous said...

"You have all these carriers with over 20+ years and over half of them cannot carry there whole route anyway.".............You have NO CLUE what you are talking about. Obviously a republican. And you misspelled "their"..............

Anonymous said...

Give the carriers with 25 years of service $1000 for each year in service and then you will see a major exodus of Letter Carriers retiring. Btw, what will our troops have to go back to once they return from Iraq and Afghanistan? I hope there are 50 to 100,000 retires from the PO soon. Give them their fare share and they will retire early.

Anonymous said...

Stop Saturday deliveries, give the billions back USPS overpaid, & give the worker bees a break for gawd sakes!! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to save the PO!! Then let's reduce Issa & Ross's salary & health benefits & all the perks they get!! Why isn't our Congress leading by example & cutting their salaries & bennies???

Issa can't figure out why CSRS employees aren't retiring. Well give us the same amounts other Federal agencies are offering their employees. Plus throw in 3 to 5 years to our service & trust me all CSRS will be out the door!!

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just have congress bust the unions I am sure Congressman Darrell Issa would like that... Then Issa and his buds can pass a few laws replace ALL career and full time clerks and carriers with part timers... This way the USPS can pay them a wopping 10$ an hour, with no benifits and fire them if they are not working hard enough or running fast enough... Now the USPS can save millions on top of millions even billions sinse they wont have to pay into the retirement plan and the retiree health plan.. WOW GREAT idea with all this extra money management can give out bigger bonuses and pay raises to its own.... I got another great idea,,, how bout if Congressman Darrel Issa do his part and retire

Anonymous said...

ponte says again, no VERA w/incentive for clerk craft, a no-vote for the contract. smile!!

Anonymous said...

http://www.21cpw.com/ta.html

Anonymous said...

early out said use a high 5 instead of a high 3, don't you know that would lower your pension check

Anonymous said...

cutting saturday delivery would hurt the post off in loss of bussiness,no service needs to be cut the post office has always been top heavy, ajust the pre payments and cut the people who do not handle or touch the mail and the postal service would be fine.

Anonymous said...

The average age of Carriers in our office is about 50 yrs. Every one of them carries their full route each and every day. We had about 22 carriers that worked their routes and almost 110 hours of overtime last quarter. I am in my 31st year, but only 54. I have a heart disease that is greatly affected by the heat yet I still manage to carry all of my route and in the cooler months I am on the OTDL and help others. We have many that would like to retire but cannot go without assurance we will get our full checks upon retiring and also need some sort of incentive bonus. Yes younger, healthier carriers would be probably better but Hey no incentive to go so why go?

David said...

Well, I am almost 61 years old, and have had a WALKING route of my own for over 25 years...never less than ten miles a day...the last addition made it about 12 miles..., with plenty of steps, ditches, roots, mud, fences and dogs, etc. Until a route cut last week, I had over 580 stops, and I almost always do it by myself, plus am forced to carry other routes some.

But anyway, if "they" are serious about getting rid of people, they just need to do it right all at once, pay the max, or get permission to pay more or add years, whatever, offer it to any and all 50 plus and 20 years, and be done with it. Hire young and restless.

I hate to see what a pitiful organization the PO will become soon.

Anonymous said...

As where stated once and many times
before..offer craft/crossboard $25,000 cash and five years on my retirement with on penalty pay..THere will be well ove 150,000 employees' will retire...

Anonymous said...

As CSRS employee I would love to go out but not with mere 20,000 cash. Thats like a slap in the face. First of all you dont get it all after taxes and it only last a little while. IF you really want to reduce the number of employees especially the CSRS ones. offer time like 3 to 5 yrs added to their service, I wouldnt even hesitate. But I will keep working as long as your offering a measly little cash sum

Anonymous said...

You want these things to happen on retirement of offering something good like 3 to 5 yrs on to your service. THEN WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN ISSA AND ALL THOSE ON THE BOARD. I HAVE

Anonymous said...

I turn 60 next week. I've been with the USPS for over 37 years. I have no intention of retiring until my TSP loan is paid off. I have close to 5 years before that happens. I can't afford to retire. So leave me alone on the subject of retiring. Unless someone dumps $50k on me that is text exempt' retirement is not going to happen anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

I will not be able to afford to retire when I am eligible. If the economy was different, and I could sell my house for a decent price and move somewhere cheaper, I would. But a couple of those "cheaper places" have housing that's remained stable or gone up in value, while my house is worth less than half. I envy the people that were eligible 5-6 years ago, who sold their homes and bought twice as much house for half the price elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I agree, A VER with $1000 buyout for each yr of service over 25. Has the PO really thought about the FERS employees that are waiting for 1/01/2014 to get 100% of sick leave rolled into their annuity. Leave one day earlier and receive only 50%! Replace us with lower paid TEs and demoted supervisors if they wish, either way it is win-win !

Anonymous said...

A mandatory out is very necessary. 55 years old with 30 years & you must go. There are so many employees who meet that criteria but refuse to go. Change the law!!!

Anonymous said...

sorry my postal spouse could not retire, he died instead after having retirmenents in his office and being short staffed due to the paea. It was so nice to know that congress was looking out for his best interest and mr issa still wants people not to be replaced.

Anonymous said...

Im a pse, Been at the post office for over a year and still not converted into a regular employee. Now, Im just talking here so Im just going to go out and say it. Not trying to offend anyone but here it goes. I want a career goddammit. How about everyone who's been there 25 years and up, get laid off. And hire all the pse's. I've always f@@@@@@ hated that bs comparison of a pse and a regular employee. How the hell can we get hired if all the old timers refuse to retire. Financial issues my ass. If your making 25 plus an hour along with raises every year, How the hell can you not be financially set. Of course Im sure that's not the entire reason but come on man. How can I start my career if these guys just won't freaking call it a day. Again this is just how I feel. There are some guys at work that look like a million years old. It's dude, call it a day why dont you. Freaking unions, Just let these nice people go, give them a nice severance package, and send them gracefully on their way. I think once they retire, They just don't know what to do with themselves. Once again Im sure there's more to this. But dude, I just want job security man. How the hell can they not be comfortable after 20 to thirty years of making 25 plus an hour. I just can't see it. If they're not ready. It's gotta be some kind of financial management issues on their part. Jesus, out with the old. And in with the new already. Thanks.