USPS recently reported having 616,025 active employees, just 362 fewer than a year ago. The number of full-timers actually inched up by 1,464, to 467,844.
That’s a far cry from the previous six years, when the annual workforce reductions ranged from 13,000 to nearly 53,000. Automation, facility closures, declining mail volumes, and a series of early-retirement offers reduced the number of postal workers by 183,000 from 2005 to 2013.
In presenting USPS’s “Plan to Profitability” to Congress in March 2012, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe testified, “The Postal Service projects a further reduction of the equivalent of 155,000 full-time career employees by 2016, which we plan to achieve largely through attrition as half of our career employees are eligible for optional or early retirement.”
But USPS employs only 34,000 fewer full-timers than it did when Donahoe presented that plan. Congress has blocked or slowed such postal “right-sizing” proposals as curtailing Saturday delivery, consolidating the mail-processing network, and closing unprofitable post offices.
Downsizing of the postal workforce seems likely to resume soon, however. USPS is moving forward with a plan to close about 80 processing centers in the next few months, which could lead to a reduction of 15,000 jobs. A recent effort to block the plan in Congress has apparently fizzled out, as have numerous proposals to reform the laws that have pushed the agency into the red.