Saturday, February 13, 2016
The agency hired 117,000 new workers during Fiscal Year 2015, virtually all of them into non-career positions, postal officials said Thursday in a document presented to the Postal Regulatory Commission.
“The Postal Service still has a continued need to hire 125,000 non-career employees in FY16 to maintain the appropriate levels,” the USPS document says. “Continued hiring of non-career employees (including PSEs [Postal Support Employees] and MHAs [Mailhandler Assistants) is necessitated by conversions to career positions and current attrition rates.”
Among last year’s new non-career workers, 52,000 have left the USPS (including 22,000 short-term, peak-season hires), 5,000 were converted to career positions, and 60,000 were still in non-career positions at year-end.
The USPS ended FY2015 with nearly 492,000 career employees and 130,000 non-career workers, both numbers slightly higher than a year earlier. The payroll continues to grow: The Postal Service ended December with 7,000 more careerists and 4,600 more non-career workers than it had a year earlier.
An e-commerce-driven surge in package deliveries, plus the addition of such new services as Sunday delivery, are fueling the hiring binge and employment growth. It’s a huge turnaround for an organization that cut an average of 21,000 workers annually between 2000 and 2013 and rarely had to hire new ones. And it runs counter to government and news-media reports predicting further USPS cutbacks.
The growth is also causing new headaches for the USPS.
“Recruiting for City Carrier Assistants (CCAs) is a challenge in some regions due the physical nature of the position and extreme outdoor environments, as well as local economic conditions,” the report said.
The wave of new hires has been blamed for everything from higher work-related accident rates to increased problems with delivering poorly addressed mail. The USPS has struggled to orient, train, and equip the new hires – sometimes, for example, failing to provide cold-weather gear to rookie carriers.