Monday, December 29, 2014

The U.S. Parcel -- uh, Postal -- Service Presents Its Wish List to Congress

The U.S. Postal Service presented a long wish list to Congress today, along with a subliminal message.

“Despite challenging marketplace conditions, an inflexible business model imposed by federal law and financial issues caused by legislative constraints, the Postal Service is moving forward with a lot of momentum,” Mickey D. Barnett and Postmaster General Pat Donahoe wrote in a joint letter appearing in the agency’s annual report to Congress.

Even in the report's only photo showing letters,
(Can you spot them?) packages take center stage.

Translation: “Hey, Congress, the Postal Service is scrambling to keep its head above water because you’ve created a helluva mess. Now could you get off your butts and do something more useful than naming post offices?”

Donahoe and Barnett can afford to be forthright. Donahoe is retiring Feb. 1, and Barnett’s term as chair of USPS’s Board of Governors expired earlier this month.

As for the subliminal message: The 84-page report has 14 photos featuring parcels, one that (barely) shows letters, and none depicting flat mail. Guess what postal officials think is the key to the agency’s future? After all, USPS’s parcel business grew 9% during Fiscal Year 2014, while revenue from other sources declined slightly.

Here's how the report spelled out “What’s Needed” from Congress:

The Postal Service is urging Congress to pass comprehensive postal legislation. Among the provisions we seek are those needed to ensure that the Postal Service is self-sustaining and financially strong as well as a reliable, low-cost partner to the American people and the communities it serves. These provisions include:
  • Require within the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program a set of specific health care plans that would fully integrate with Medicare and virtually eliminate the retiree health benefits unfunded liability.
  • Adjust the FERS [Federal Employee Retirement System] payment amount using Postal Service-specific demographic and salary growth assumptions and refund any existing surplus.
  • Adjust delivery frequency (six-day packages/fiveday mail). 
  • Streamline governance model and eliminate duplicative oversight.
  • Provide authority to expand products and services.
  • Require defined contribution retirement system for future Postal Service employees.
  • Require arbitrators to consider the financial condition of the Postal Service.
  • Reform Workers’ Compensation.
  • Allow the Postal Service the right to appeal EEOC class action decisions to Federal Court.
The Postal Service continues to do its part within the bounds of existing law to place the organization in a favorable financial position, and we are proud of the achievements we have made to reduce costs while significantly growing our package business. Despite these efforts, however, we cannot return the Postal Service to profitability, nor can we secure our longterm financial outlook without the passage of comprehensive reform legislation.

The bottom line is that the Postal Service is ready to make the necessary changes to keep delivering for America. We just require the freedom to make it happen.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oddly, the Postal Service already tried reforming their workers compensation program. They did it without any regard to its workers, common sense or the law. I wonder why it backfired?

Anonymous said...

The usps starting January 5,2015 is putting the white flag out. A manufactured deficit created by the postal accountability and enhancement act of 2006 is the big lie performed by fox news and the conservative think tanks. Rural america will pay the price if 82 mail processing plants will be closed in 2015. Good luck gramma getting your medicine in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

5 day letter delivery is code for elimination of 15,000 career jobs and the package delivery on Saturdays will be done by under trained under payed casual employees pushed to get done creating more mistakes missed deliveries

Anonymous said...

To many managers and not enough workers.Retiring clerks,carriers etc..are being replaced by low waged,little experience temp workers who get minimal training and who are constantly pushed to get done in 8 hours or else.Many of them have quit and they just hire more.This is something that needs to be addressed at the upcoming contact negotiations.

Anonymous said...

please add:

use of vicious dogs to improve productivity.

use of bull whips to improve productivity.

use of lynching to improve productivity and weed out those that can not be "improved".

Anonymous said...

"Require arbitrators to consider the finanacial condition of the Postal Service". Translation:Require arbitrators to buy the lies and deception from management and favor them in contract negotiations.That already happened in last contract awards from the arbitrator.

Anonymous said...

Management has too many chiefs. We have two supervisors for five employees.

Anonymous said...

5 day street delivery for bulk business mail is a wasted cost. LOW REVENUE HIGH DISTRIBUTION COST. Parcel delivery is a common cents approach to increase revenue to cover losses for services that are not needed nor in demand.
Districts pay salaries that exceed those paid by private sector firms that must create positive earnings. Congress should eliminate PLAYING POST OFFICE and deal with reality of the telecommunication age in reducing wasted cost that contribute zero in increasing the bottom line

Steve Reid said...

The USPS is always blaming someone else, when the problem is they fail to evaluate their own inability in innovate. Cut off all funding and don't bail them out. Do not cut service, but become a company where the customer is king. Currently the customer is an aggravation and an inconvenience.

CA mailman said...

Steve Reid... What funding?USPS runs on the sales of stamps and postage only.A little homework might be in order.

Anonymous said...

Survival of the Fittest and right now USPS is certainly not the fittest entity in the shipping and mailing industry. Bloated unions, overabundance of upper management, poor decisions on equipment purchases (FSS), bureaucratic minefield to navigate to change business model or adjust pricing or introduce new products, operating at the mercy of an incompetent Congress, these are just some of the reasons the postal service is struggling. Maybe privatization would rein in the unions, get rid of management dinosaurs and eliminate the need for a worthless Congress to actually do their job. Compete or disappear, survival of the fittest in the business world, not the quasi business world the postal service is trying to compete in now with one hand tied around its reproductive organ.

Anonymous said...

I hope Congress will support ALL these initiatives and let the USPS run it's bsuiness without interfernce from the politicians. Coming in from the outside (private sector), I have noticed so many inefficiencies brought forth by mutliple unions in the processing centers, inexperieince management and inefficient hourly/salary workers that automatically think that "since I've been in the USPS for over 20 yrs I have the right to relax and slow down." In the private sector, "waste" are eliminated and processes are streamlined in order to gain positive returns. All I see here in the processing centers are "WASTE" both in management and work force. Let's face it, this is corporate America. As the saying goes, "LEAN today, here tomorrow."

"Fed" Up said...

I worked for the USPS and you could not get into a stall in the mens room during tour 1(day shift) because all were filled with sleeping employees. Employees worked harder at hiding and goofing off than if they had just done their jobs. It poisoned me to Civil Service positions. Later as a driver for a printing company, I had to run the gauntlet at the Main Post Office in DC-I am caucasian and most of the dock workers were African-American, and they acted out all their pent-up anger and frustration on the white drivers, keeping us waiting, not letting us unload ail, until we had to hire a Black driver for that part of our deliveries. One half of the workers on the payroll at the USPS are of retirement age-force some to retire.

Anonymous said...

The post office is the cash cow of the government!!! There is no funding!!

Steve Reid said...

To CA Mailman ... who do you think is covering the billions of dollars the USPS is losing every year? Do you think the money falls from the sky?

brenda said...

To Steve Reid: maybe the government should give back some of the millions in retirement overpayment, oh wait , congress is stealing from that just like social security contributions. Why do you think the gov't made the postal service and military now pay into social security. Congress is the one who relies on someone else's entitlements.


Anonymous said...

Steveie, you are looking at the number in losses the post office gives you like you trust it. Your earlier comment only states how untrustworthy the Postal service is. Stop immediately and take your meds and don't complain if they are delivered late.

BobD said...

Why is the PMG being allowed to retire. A 56 million dollar grievance settlement was one by the APWU on his watch. If any craft employee lost less than 1% of that they would be subject to removal. This is about the Postal Service and money. Management is the reason why the USPS is losing money. Donahoe and all of his VP's should be fired for this loss. Someone needs to be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

The Postal service is the only Shipping business that has to pay for its own law enforcement (Inspection Service) and OIG. Take that off the burden of the Postal service and the Postal Service will be in the Black.

Anonymous said...

I lived on a lake that was "Boat Access" only - we received mail at our house boat dock 3 day per week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Do not remember any "mail withdrawal" symptoms! With the changes in communications having "junk" mail delivered 6 days per week, at a loss is crazy! I would agree with the items listed - just change the mail delivery to 3 times per week!

brenda said...

I work for the post office as a carrier of 29 years. I don't own a houseboat and I work hard everyday. I can't afford to retire in 2016 with 31 years, but I will. I can't stand the waste of money in management salaries. I can't run any faster or skip any more lunches or breaks. All you that begrudge the unions, figure out how bad it would be without them in place.

Antonio Ponce said...

How about management cutting back on management. There is now one manager for every 3.5 craft employees. What private sector company has that many managers? Answer: None. Maybe that's a big reason the Postal Service is losing so much money. Management is quick to reduce craft employees but management gets bigger and bigger.

Anonymous said...

It seems quite clear from all the comments-- there is bitterness against the USPS not brought on by any governing force than themselves. How about customer service training for starters?!?

Anonymous said...

I can agree with several of the previously posted comments, and would like to add my own two-cents...
*my brother in Danvers MA sent me a document last week via first class mail, it took just two days to get here (Duluth GA)--for 49-cents (incredibly cheap service if you simply factor the mileage...)
*with the growing use of email for correspondence & bill payments, the post office is loosing first class mail revenue, hence it has to make up the shortfall somewhere
*that somewhere is in junk mail / direct mail postage fees
*the mail moves & post office works 24-hours a day 365 days a year no matter how many days we get to our home or office delivery service (my Dayton brother works at one distribution center and his work hours are 215am start / end 1015 am -- I have no idea how he does it!)
*closing distribution centers will only mean a slow down in mail processing, at present the Cincinnati and Columbus processing centers cannot process all the mail being sent to them from Dayton, and they send it back to Dayton to process (hence a mail delay...), so...yes, there needs to be greater efficiency in systems at distribution centers (which industrial or systems engineers could work on).
*the post office is processing an amazing volume of package mail with good speed and care (I shipped many packages of eBay china sales last year and all arrived in fine condition...) i.e. over Christmas for one day one zip code on my brother's route had 4500 pieces of priority mail--yeah, a truck-full!
*current postal management's solution to long-time carriers & drivers work is to replace them w/casual employees, pay those folks minimum wage, work those individuals to exhaustion and quitting, then hire a new batch--does not sound like a good solution to me
*the post office should "clean house" of un-productive & duplicate staff at all levels--starting with management
*Congress (America's most useless and unproductive body of "workers") should not be involved any longer in postal service management issues
*okay, I probably have more comments, but that is enough for now!

Anonymous said...

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY...
THE GOV'T BORROWS MONEY FROM THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, AND FILLS THE ACCOUNTS WITH IOU'S. L THE WELL HAS RUN DRY AND THATS WHY THE REPUBLICIANS WANT TO DISMANTLE OUR NATIONAL TREASURE
"THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE"

Think about it? Why would the republicans want to privitize SOCIAL SECURITY? The account is filled with IOU'S

Anonymous said...

The gov't has borrowed all MONEY FROM THE USPS ACCOUNTS. The accounts are filled with IOU'S.
LOOOOOK whats on the republican agenda to dismantle the USPS.
ACCT # 1)Take all workers off of the Federal medical program
Acct#2) Take away our pensions
Acct#3) Lower wages so 600,000 plus workers are no longer middle class.
Acct#4 no more union jobs or job protection
IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Steve Reid... Educate yourself the billions you here about in losses are not money the USPS loses operating but rather what they fall shy of because Congress made a law that the have to pay workers benefits 75 years in the future at a rate of 100%. USPS makes money absent that. As for failure to innovate Congress has lobbyists in their ear that make it illegal for us to innovate, we can't even have copiers for customers to use in the lobby because they were taking away from private business. The Usps has tried to innovate but been blocked at every turn by Congress. Research your facts before you spout your opinion.