Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mail Volumes Have Declined Faster Than The Postal Workforce, But That Might Change

The U.S. Postal Service’s workforce reductions did not keep pace with declines in mail volume the past two years, but postal officials indicate that may change this fiscal year.

Mail volume was down 13% and revenue was down 9%, but the number of career employees declined only 6% in the fiscal year that ended September 30, postal officials revealed this week. The previous year, volume declined 4% while career employees decreased 3%.

Postal officials revealed their projections Wednesday that both mail volume and the number of career employees will decrease by 6%. Revenue is only projected to decline by 3%.

With labor constituting about 80% of the Postal Service's costs, it has been scrambling to reduce its workforce the past couple of years in light of decreasing mail volumes. As the economy shows signs of climbing out of the recession, the Postal Service's cost decreases this fiscal year might actually exceed its revenue reductions.

A lot of numbers have been flying out of L’Enfant Plaza (USPS HQ) and elsewhere this week regarding the Postal Service. Here’s a summary of some key ones:

20,150: Employees, as of Oct. 31 who accepted the early-retirement offer made in August. USPS had planned for up to 30,000 to accept. Please see What the Postal Service Left Out of the Early-Retirement Deal and The Postal Service's Early-Retirement Snafu for more information the offer and its flaws.
40,110: Decrease in career employees during the past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30 – a reduction of : 6%. Of the major categories of career employees, the decreases ranged from 3% for those in or related to headquarters to 9% for supervisors and managers in the field and also for clerks. Postmasters were down 6%, mail handlers and city carriers each decreased 5%, and rural carriers and building and equipment maintenance personnel were down 2% each.
12%: Decrease in the number of career employees since 2005, ranging from 2% for headquarters to 20% for clerks.
13%: Decrease in the number of non-career employees in just the past year after several years of relatively steady levels.
53,000: Projected decrease in full-time equivalents this fiscal year. That suggests another big cut in work hours for non-career employees.
36: Number of deliveries per hour in FY2009, up from 30 four years ago. Delivery operations are a productivity bright spot for USPS: There were 8% fewer career carriers but 4% more delivery points than there were four years ago.
13%: Decrease in number of mail pieces last year – including drops of 8% for Periodicals, 9% for First Class, and 17% for Standard.
223: Increase in the number of post offices, stations, and branches during the past year. At 36,946 facilities, the total has decreased by less than 1% in the past four years.
-0.3%: The likely change in the average monthly Consumer Price Index for 2009, which sets the ceiling for annual increases in most postal rates and is used in determining some cost-of-living pay increases. Even before release of the October CPI, which was lower than a year ago for the seventh month in a row, postal officials had aalready announced they would not increase most rates in 2010.
25% to 30%: Projected decrease in paper consumption for JC Penney catalogs next year as a result of discontinuing its “big books”. No word on how much less its postage bill will be, but the move can’t be good news for the Postal Service.
1,869,168: Number of October 26 issues of Newsweek that were mailed in the U.S., down at least 600,000 from a few months ago and more than 1 million from two years ago. As it has reduced its circulation this year to match its lower ratebase, the weekly magazine has cut back drastically on free copies and low-priced subscriptions, according to a statement it filed with USPS. And its annual postage bill has also decreased by millions of dollars.
34%: The increase in U.S. credit-card solicitations during October versus the previous month, according to Mintel Comperemedia. That’s the first significant monthly increase this year, though October levels were still lower than a year ago.


Anonymous said...

From Indiana: Any "service" organization spends most of it's income in salary and benefits. My local school corporation spends over 90%. We don't produce a product, service is our product. 80% is more than likely the norm.

Anonymous said...

The Postal Service has reduced the craft employees but not supervision who are supervising less and less employees. They manage employees who have a lot of seniority and know the job better than the supervisor. Supervision is where the real waste is. My current supervisor just stands around with his hands in his pockets and watches us work. All of us have over 20 yrs seniority and know our job better than he does. Management is a waste.

Anonymous said...

Fire them all.

Drewk86 said...

Cutting carrer employees has also led to the USPS reducing service in many areas and attemtping to close as many as 500 local post offices.

Since 2006, the USPS has eliminated over 100,000 career full time positions all of which came from the ranks of craft employees who move, sort and deliver the mail.

These massive reductions (almost 20% of the 2005 workforce) have not been matched by equal and corresponding reductions in management positions.

Don't think that the 80% labor costs is all going into craft worker pockets. That 80% figure includes management salaries, bonuses and perks. With the craft workforce reduced by 20% and the multi-layered management infrastructure remaining mostly unchanged the percentage of costs attributed to employees who actually perform the work is shrinking.

The employees of the USPS want to serve the pbulic. We want to do a good job. If only the beauraucrats in the District and Headquarters office would stop trying to sink the ship

Anonymous said...

In the Seattle district, our plant has cut 1/3 of the workers but only lost 1 supervisor even though two had their jobs eliminated last winter. We have one supervisor who walks around with a clipboard doing Soduko puzzles all night. They need to cut some of the unnecessary manangement who do not touch the mail.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the reduction of management. They are the waste of the USPS. They throw away money in various ways. I'm sure glad the USPS doesn't balance MY checkbook, I'd be broke! It's the craft employee who does all the work, yet management and all the VPs get all the bonus's or Pay for Performance as they now want to call it. Stealing is what I call it.

Anonymous said...

I can think of three management officials in Riverdale Georgia, that I would like to nominate as the first to go. They do nothing but cause a bunch of problems and don't know what they are doing. PLEASE give them an early out FIRST!!!

Anonymous said...

Supervisors were invented because unwatched employees are less likely to remain productive. Like them or not employees created them.

Anonymous said...

You all complain about supervisors 9% left this fiscal year. Are you going to handle complaints from customers if a supervisor is not there? Somebody has to be the boss and you have to be the hoss, that's the way of the world idiots!

Anonymous said...

If supervisors did their jobs it would be okay to have so many , but they do not they sit by while the lazy people do not do much and expect more out of the people that actually do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Those that can deliver the mail do it............Those that can't supervise the ones that do

Anonymous said...

The fallacy, dear blogger, is that you started your posting based on "postal projections". I can't remember ONCE when any projection from the Postal Service ever approached reality.
Like others have said, there hasn't been a corresponding reduction in management with all these other staffing issues. The workers are leaving, but the fat boys playing pocket pool are just as numerous as ever. Our own in-house "projection" states that within the next five years, every postal employee will have their own personal supervisor.

Anonymous said...

Maybe supervision is different from city to city. In my city they work crazily.

Anonymous said...

"the decreases ranged from 3% for those in or related to headquarters to 9% for supervisors and managers in the field and also for clerks".

I like how they threw in "and also for clerks" at the end. I think it's 9% for the clerks and 0% supervisors and managers.....fucking conniving dick bags!

Unknown said...

"36: Number of deliveries per hour in FY2009, up from 30 four years ago. Delivery operations are a productivity bright spot for USPS: There were 8% fewer career carriers but 4% more delivery points than there were four years ago."

36 deliveries per hour is NOT the number of deliveries per delivery operations hour. It is the number of deliveries per hour worked by ALL postal employees combined.

Delivery operations are NOT a bright spot for postal efficiency.

Over the last 2 years---
Total mail volume has declined by over 16%.

Mail Processing work hours have declined over 20%.

Customer Services/Retail work hours have declined over 18%.

Delivery Operations work hours have declined 7%.

Mail Processing is the bright spot in terms of productivity. Delivery is the biggest drag.

Thus the reason the PMG is so adamant about 5 day delivery in an attempt to align delivery productivity gains with those of the other major postal service operations.

D. Eadward Tree said...

Clarification: The declines were 9% for clerks and 9% for field supervisors and managers -- two different groups.

SiriusNews said...

Anonymous said...

previous comment that says, who is going to take customer complaints if supervisors are cut. i don't know about your office, but our css is deaf and can't answer the phone and our oic is so rude an doesn't care about the customer. i wouldn't want him to talk to anyone, he would do more damage than good. craft employees answer the complaints on the street or at the window of horrible management is and how hateful they are in our office

Anonymous said...


Don't think that the 80% labor costs is all going into craft worker pockets. That 80% figure includes management salaries, bonuses and perks

Congress needs to AUDIT the numbers and take a look behind the scenes.

Some of those jobs lost were not in the nicest way either.

Very little concern for individuals or their families.

WAKE UP AMERICA your infrastructure is being dismantled right before your eyes.

WAKE UP CONGRESS and take a look at these bonuses programs and incentives and see just what extremes people will go to and what tactics they will use to achieve them.

If Congress and the American public truly knew the $$$$ the USPS pays out for abusive, harassing and unlawful practices they would be astonished.

What ever happened to Honesty, Integrity, customer service and a fair days work for fair treatment and a fair days pay?

Anonymous said...

i file a grievance every time i see a supervisor doing our work.....they want to excess me from clerk to carrier but i see them doing our work evey nite.... loading sweeping doing first pass doing second pass....getting paid too heck i am thinking of getting of the ot list........

Anonymous said...

They need to get rid of the supervisiors, most of them anyway. The craft employees have seen significant decreases but not supervisiors. Get rid of them, then assign group leaders from each work section. That is only one pay grade higher for somebody thats' actually going to work the mail. All you need is one work floor supervisior and one to do attendance, TACs, etc.