Unless a lot of postal workers get cold feet in the next couple of weeks, more employees will accept a $15,000 incentive to quit than postal executives had expected.
About 20,000 APWU-represented employees have already signed up for the buyout, Federal Times quoted Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe as saying today. That's at the top end of the 15,000-to-20,000 expected range the U.S. Postal Service provided last month and then reiterated last week.
Those who have signed up can back out before the Dec. 3 decision deadline, Federal Times' Sean Reilly noted. But it seems unlikely that many who signed up so far in advance would have a change of heart. Among the early sign-ups are some who had decided months or even years ago to leave as soon as a buyout was offered.
Thousands of the approximately 115,000 eligible employees are probably
still digging through the complexities of postal pensions, annuities,
Thrift Savings Plan payouts, tax implications, payments for unused
leave, etc. to decide whether to take the money and run. Thanks to the incomplete information and lack of guidance USPS provides to potential retirees, the more postal workers learn about their various retirement benefits the better retirement usually looks.
So expect the number of employees who take the buyout to exceed 20,000. By Dead Tree Edition's rough calculations, that means the buyout could end up reducing USPS costs by more than $1 billion annually.
A slight majority of voters in a Dead Tree Edition poll so far believe the USPS estimate is too low. As the number of votes reached passed 1,000 this evening, 52% predicted that more than 20,000 would take the buyout. And 20% predicted the number would be above 30,000. Current results, and the chance to cast your own vote, are near the top of the right-hand column.
For more information on the buyout offer, see: