Saturday, January 4, 2014

Flexible Workforce Lowers USPS Wages -- and Hurts Productivity

The U.S. Postal Service’s shift to a more flexible workforce has reduced average hourly pay, but adding so many new employees has also hindered productivity gains.

At last report, the “straight-time” pay of postal employees was averaging $25.63 per hour in FY2013, down 1.4% from $25.98 a year earlier. Despite a big jump in overtime hours, even the average total hourly pay had dropped slightly during the year.

Most employees had small wage increases, but the hourly averages were dragged down by temps and other non-career employees who replaced retiring workers. USPS’s career workforce decreased by 37,000 during FY2013, while 26,000 non-career employees were added, the agency said in its recently released annual report to Congress.

More than one in five postal workers is now a non-career employee, versus less than one in six only a year earlier.

“We hired and trained many new non-career employees and this cost many workhours,” the annual report said. “The learning curve for these workers caused us to use more hours as they gained experience (although at a lower wage).”

USPS hoped to boost deliveries per work hour from 41.0 to 42.7 during FY2013, but the annual report said it fell short partly because so many new employees had to be brought up to speed. Having more mail volume than anticipated (a decline of less than 1%, versus 5% the previous year) also hurt productivity, despite improving USPS’s finances, the report noted. The report does not discuss another productivity measure -- mail pieces delivered per work hour -- but that appears to have changed little during the year.

Downsizing of the workforce, consolidation of facilities and carrier routes, and greater automation are helping USPS work more productively. But the growing volume of labor-intensive parcels, though profitable, tends to mean slower deliveries, as does the increasing number of delivery points.

Employees also claim that staff reductions sometimes backfire because they can leave postal facilities with the wrong mix of positions and experience. Letter carriers have been especially vociferous about changes that have inadvertently hurt their productivity, such as having to work longer days and to make more deliveries in the dark. At last report, overtime among the city-carrier force was on track to increase more than 11% over FY 2012.

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13 comments:

All Your TSP Belong To Us ! said...

Yet, mgmt. numbers continue to grow.
Almost %8 last year, and of course, the bonuses are in place.

But according to them, the USPS is going broke.......

Anonymous said...

I personally took about a 30% pay cut in April 2013. 27% at straight time pay but with all the overtime I work I continue to TAKE HOME over $1000 per month LESS. Me and tens of thousands of other TE's who became CCA's when the BS binding Arbitration decision was rendered when NALC and USPS could not agree on a new National Agreement for 2011 - 2016. Thank you Shayam Das!!

Anonymous said...

My office started the new year off right. On 1-2-14, they started having supervisors and 204-b's carrying. These folks are liars, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

What a joke! At my facility mha's & pse's are 204b supervisors. It also looks like they went to the nearest slum for the hiring process. Most of these lowlife scum could care less about the mail process & are lazy, good for nothing pukes! They steal too! The really sad thing is that someday they will become full time regulars. Anybody else notice this?

Anonymous said...

The postal service with or without congress needs to cut the fat and not just shuffle it around like they so often do. There is way to much management at the top and intermediate levels sitting in lucrative positions that should have been eliminated not recreated. They dish out overtime including V-time here in Boston to any clerk that will take it to work automation because of mismanaging by cutting to many jobs. Without offering enticing incentive retirement packages that would be based around adding years of service the bunkering down of non retirement will continue. With a luming may of 2015 contract negotiation for the clerk craft in sight the postal service can't afford not to offer incentive retirements that are actually worth looking at. Civil service and fers employees eligible should be the focus point of retirement for the postal service. They do not want to continue to pay for these individuals into another contract, period. The initial stages have been set for this plan with the hiring of new employee's at 1/2 the wages of most current employees but they yet to reach the goal set forth to reach projected numbers in retirement through attrition and incentives. The attrition slows because of the waiting for incentives and when those incentives don't carry any weight people find it safer for themselves and thier families to keep working. So, USPS start sweetening the pot and you may just hit your projected numbers.

@dryMAILman said...

"...the annual report said it fell short partly because so many new employees had to be brought up to speed."

Isn't it the parents' job to bring their children up "to speed"? Everyone knows reckless & distracted driving are USPS job requirements.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/usps-immune-local-traffic-laws-165944476.html

Anonymous said...

Its really ashame that you can have pses and mhas supervising....yet have regular supervisors on frivolous details...

Anonymous said...

Worst batch on new hires I have seen in 35 years, 1 out of every 10 are worth keeping. Complaints are up in South Fl tremendously, they deliver mail to wrong buildings because they don't read names, they send mail back to sender because they don't know where it goes, instead of leaving it for the regular. All I will add to this is that if this is the future of the USPS, there won't be a Post Office in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Cut the districts and keep the areas. This mgmt cutback will put the usps in the black.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the former APWU administration,who pushed a contract the increased the percentage of non-career from 5% to 20% and lowered the pay of new career employees,which was imposed on the other unions by the arbitrators.

Anonymous said...

Know what? Those mha & pse 204b stupid-visors are only making thirteen & change an hour to run an apps machine. Thank God that I don't have to deal with them. I absolutely agree that this is the worst bunch of new hires that I've seen in my 27 years of postal service. Thanks to my 3 years of Army, I'm getting away from all this crap on 1/10, this Friday! They can have it...good riddance

Anonymous said...

This article is BS. Our local post office is a joke and full of inefficiency and people who don't care about customers - Just like Congress and Obama. Extended holiday hours? Another joke. This is a culture that has existed for decades and needs to be dissolved and privatized once and for all. Bring on UPS and FedEx and you'll see a huge improvement.

Jewelz said...

Sorry for your experience, yet some MHAs and PSEs are hard working eager to learn individuals who have been thrust into a workforce with minimal training. Dealing with some regulars who have become lazy, egotistical, clock riding good for nothing wastes of space who should either stop complaining and work, or shut up and retire. Anyone else noticed this?