Saturday, December 10, 2011

Delayed Retirements, Rising Overtime Bedevil USPS Finances

Despite all the talk of restructuring and downsizing at the U.S. Postal Service, its labor costs have hardly budged in the past year.

With employees working more overtime and relatively few retiring, the agency’s cost of salary and benefits inched down by barely 1% during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. So far this year, the decline is a paltry 0.2% lower than the same time last year. In contrast, USPS projects that its revenues will decrease nearly 3% this fiscal year.

One barrier to cost cutting is a slowing attrition rate. In the Postal Service’s latest employee statistical report, released yesterday, the number of full-time employees had declined by fewer than 13,000 in the past 12 months, versus more than 17,000 in the previous year. Postmaster General Pat Donahoe has indicated that the USPS workforce needs to shrink by about 35,000 employees annually to reach its ideal size of 425,000 in 2015.

The dire need to reduce the workforce has spawned proposals to offer various incentives to employees who retire. But in the short run, such talk is backfiring, giving workers an incentive not to quit but to hold out instead for better retirement packages.

Overtime hours increased 9% during Fiscal Year 2011 even though straight-time hours were down nearly 4%. Once again, the trend in FY2012 is not the Postal Service’s friend: OT is up nearly 12% so far versus the same period last year.

Overtime so far this year is dramatically higher for city carriers, mailhandlers, and supervisors. Full-time city carriers and mail handlers are both averaging about five hours of overtime per week. Meanwhile, city carriers who are “part-time flexible” or “transitional” have been even busier, working more than one hour of overtime for every 6 hours of straight time.

The increased overtime for carriers is consistent with recent reports of carriers working well past dark to serve longer routes and to compensate for hiccups in the Flats Sequencing System.

The Postal Service has managed to keep wage inflation largely in check, with the average straight-time rate rising only 1.2% during FY2011, to $26.18 per hour.

Here are two more noteworthy statistics about the Postal Service workforce: There are 315 employees who are at least 80 years old and 194 with 50 or more years of service. Both numbers are increasing.

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28 comments:

jo said...

With more delivery stops forced upon carriers there won't only be more overtime but alot more legit sick leave and comp and disability claims.This is a natural reaction when people are treated as numbers on a computer printout.

triumph110 said...

I never understood anyone working more than 42 years at the USPS. At that point you have reached your max payout of about 80% of your retirement pay. After 42 years you are working for about $6 an hour. (If you consider you would make $20 an hour retired. Get a job at Mcdonalds and your net pay would increase.

Anonymous said...

Got to agree with jo - walking in the dark is a guaranteed way to break bones.

Anonymous said...

FSS has been a mess since implementation. Management is trying to hide how bad it really is on the back of letter carriers. Now instead of sorting mail in the office management pushes carriers on to street time. Carriers have to sort the mess out on street time usually on their laps. Not to mention the delay of mail and the amount destroyed by these machines.
Management takes already presorted mail and firm bundles to run on the machines to get better numbers. Thin flats go thru ten at a time with the top one only in order. They then rerun flats again, I have had the same coverage at times for two weeks in FSS mail.
Carriers are mandated overtime because the routes are long and under staffing.
Postal management wants numbers not results! Sick leave and on the job injurys are sure to rise. Congress, NALC, and management have not a clue.

Anonymous said...

After 25 plus years in the post office its been one BAD decision after another from upper management.Thats why we are where we are...in a hole.Please someone else take over before its really to late.

Yohan777 said...

What early out offers?, only management is being offered the golden parachutes, worth millions, the craft makes on average 50k to 56k a year, and who can retire on less than half that, maybe under Civil Service, but not under FERS, where are the offers?,where is even the basic early out / VER?.

Anonymous said...

This is only going to get worse if the USPS management gets it's way to downsize. They're struggling to get the work done as it is causing OT. They're getting rid of the wrong employees....the ones that do the work. They need to have someone from the outside look at the way over bloated management. Headquarters in DC....7 Area offices.....74 District offices....this is where the problem is. These are the "make believe" jobs that need to be eliminated. The Postal Service delivers letters and packages. It's not rocket science. Let the workers do their job and slash cushy jobs.

Postsldave56 said...

The USPS is as micro mismanaged as ever under Donohoe. By eliminating post offices and services, revenue will also dramatically decrease. I believe the Unions literally need to rally together ; especially the NALC to take the reigns of the USPS. Obviously the Postal Service is on a mission with the GOP in Congress to privatize the mail business. The craft employees of the USPS need to save this institution to downsize or eliminate Postal Management and cut it's losses ASAP.

Steve-O said...

Bogus,inflated volume losses
+
cutting the work force =

OVERTIME

Anonymous said...

Cut the routes to 8 hours and you will reduce OT. Add to the routes and OT will go up. Simple idea that the USPS upper level management does not understand, plus the fact That the FSS sorting system does not help the carrier like it was intended to. Good luck to everyone involved and Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

Let me get this stright, they're complaning about OT at the same time their complaning about employees not retireing? Do these people realize that there'll be even more OT payed out if retirement #'s go up?

You know, the general public is under the impression that government employees can retire after 20 years, and all this talk about employees hanging on when they qualify for early retirement is just more of them making the employees look like the bad guyes. I have 30 years of service, and even if they offered a VER, the FERS retirement system punishes employees that take the early out, I can't see retiring anytime between now, and my minimum retirement age, even if they offer 20k to go...

Anonymous said...

Some plants have a plant mgr, two level EAS-25s and 10 managers for about 60supervisors. That is one manager for every 6 supervisors. There are also maintenance managers and transportation managers. There are also support managers.

Anonymous said...

In 2011, 7500 management/administrative position were eliminated. Out of the 7500, 2000 took the early retirement of $2000(they were eligible for immediate retirement). Out of the 5500, all but 33 transferred to other positions. Out of the 33, all took 52 weeks of severance and will be eligible for immediate retirement in the year 2012. Now NAPS wants more incentives for management. Outrageous

Anonymous said...

Here is the solution plain and simple stop forcing the top pay people to work ot on my day off I get about $340 while they give te's the day off to go work their other job.Let them do the job they were hired for and in this 1 situation the savings is about $200 .Now multiply that by 5 carriers a day in every office in the land .PROBLEM SOLVED

Anonymous said...

The IT group has most of the work being done by contractors while the postal workers are sitting around doing nothing. What does management say when it bought to their attention?: Their the ones who do all the work.

Maybe we should outsource management and show them how real managers manage.

Sir Woodrow said...

Yeah, we have seen the vera for the supervisory and admin positions. Now it looks like the post masters will get one. At our plant, many clerks are delaying retirement (I for one), until something is offered. With the bad economy and rising cost of commodities, many are willing stay for a long time. Incentives will be the only way for the post office to get the number that they want out.

Anonymous said...

we have 22 rural routes in our office and 9 employees have gotten notes from their doctors NOT to take it to the street due to injury either to their backs or shoulders-FSS is a joke that will take the postoffice down

kurt said...

i guess when times are tough and money is tight,you blame the 315 people plus 80 years and the 194 with 50 plus years service as part of the problem financially.what is that,.0001 of a percent of the workforce.why doe`snt upper management look at some of the fine equipment and computers,programs that they have spent money on...how about those vaccuums used for cleaning dbcs machines as an example,the fss,and on and on.......

Anonymous said...

It is simple mathmatics. The USPS has had mandatory overtime for 3 yrs. strait. I am forced to work 10-12 hours a day, and they pay me 43.-55.dollars an hour OT. They will not hire new people at a starting rate of 15.. Then they employ 3-5 management at 100K per branch to sit around doing nothing.That's half a million to the challenged, each branch! Then the the Management Health club in Washington needs new towels so that costs~ The USPS has been paying Millions for contract violations, anyone interested? No one with a brain cell is going to retire in this depressed economy people! And those 80 yr. old employees you spoke of...Work 10 times harder than any management personnel..

Anonymous said...

I have NO intention of retiring ANY time soon! I will ride the PO like
a broken down mule to the end!

Anonymous said...

A private company hires the best manager based on his abilities. The Post Office promotes those who are tired of working craft or are lazy uneducated. We need outside management, to organize and fix things. I'm 55 and can retire in 7 months. But Hell I'm making 70-80K from a oversized route. Let your management retire. But get some Business savy educated men in here!

Anonymous said...

Because of the incentives given in past years, retirement eligibles will now not retire WITHOUT an incentive. They wait and wait.

Anonymous said...

It cracks me up when they say we have too many employees. I have been with USPS for 11 years. The only person with less seniority than me has 9 years other than our useless TE (who has been with us for 5-count them- 5 years getting no benefits and no raises other than COLA's but hasn't figured out that he will never get a career position or retirement since he only scored a 62 on the test. (Yes he proudly proclaimed his score to the rest of us) The person closest to retirement in our office has 2 years to go but he his under FERS" so he won't go until he know he can get credit for his sick leave. Meanwhile, we can't hire anyone and I get tons of overtime and make tons of money. I would prefer to work 40 hours and go home, though. My kids are growing up and my husband really misses me.

Anonymous said...

Yes getting rid of the wrong people. If U don't touch the mail, your not needed. We have Postmasters & supervisors that are out of the building for Hours at a time. Leaving the clerks to answer phones and take care of problems.
Know one is addressing this. Their should be someone looking into this problem. Their getting paid more and robbing the system.

Unforgiven said...

Carriers are working more overtime because the routes are longer and we have fewer carriers, this has nothing to do with FSS. If anything the expectations of FSS has led to understaffing of carrier units.

Anonymous said...

We HAVE4 204 bs 3 sup and oic and no one to carry mail whats wrong with this picture az

Anonymous said...

When the Postal Service began relying on data a.k.a computers to assist in running our business, that is when the demise began. From That time on we began replacing Postal knowledge with computer knowledge, hence many big time promotions were handed out to computer geeks who knew how to give the Elite in Washington what they wanted and desperately needed, additional reading material along with more folks to read it.
The business is real simple... we collect, transport,process and deliver mail and packages.
Folks, you do not need computer geeks to do that. We need the salt of the earth employees busting their butts every day trying to do the impossible. This is all thanks to our computers and the geeks who hide behind them.

Anonymous said...

My office has a Post Master that is totally irresponsible, the place is filthy,the janitors sit outside and smoke all day,we have 2 carrier supers,both were hired illegally and promoted with NO time in service because they have relatives in Postal management. We also have a fat lazy 204B that was promoted from his temp job assignemnt. They all sit around causing problems,it is not too hard to see why the USPS is doomed. By far the worst place to work in the USA. Not one manager has the guts to stand up for the people that are stuck working for them. Disgusting people.