Thursday, December 6, 2018

USPS Workers Are Overpaid and Should Lose Collective-Bargaining Rights, Trump Panel Says

Claiming that U.S. Postal Service employees are paid much better than workers at FedEx and UPS, a presidential task force wants to de-fang the postal labor unions.

"USPS employees enjoy a pay and benefits premium over their private sector counterparts, although the size of this premium is likely falling,” the Trump-appointed Task Force on the United States Postal System said in a report released Tuesday.

“Based on Treasury [Department] staff analysis of 10-K filings, in 2017, total per-employee cost at the USPS was $85,800, compared to $76,200 and $53,900 at UPS and FedEx, respectively.”

(A Dead Tree Edition analysis of a USPS report largely corroborates the claim about Postal Service compensation: Average base pay for postal employees in Fiscal Year 2017 was $25.23 per hour, which works out to nearly $53,000 annually. Benefits and overtime added about $31,000 per full-time equivalent employee.) 

The panel recommended that “the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act be amended to apply to the USPS and its employees,” which would ban collective bargaining for postal workers’ compensation. The vast majority of USPS employees are represented by one of nine labor unions or two management associations.

Not in the mainstream media
The anti-collective bargaining proposal, which has gone mostly unnoticed by the mainstream media, “would enable the USPS to address the costs and complications with its current labor system, and allow for better workforce planning and cost control within its rapidly evolving business model,” the panel’s report says.

“USPS employees should not be afforded protections and rights not enjoyed by other federal employees."

The Postal Service spends 76% of its budget on compensation and benefits, which the panel said is “a much higher share of . . . costs when compared against other private courier companies.” That’s despite postal officials achieving “limited labor reforms” in recent years.

“Postal salaries have risen at slower rates than those in the private sector, collective bargaining agreements have gradually transferred a portion of health premiums from the USPS to individual workers, and the USPS has been able to lower the number of employees, from a high of over 905,000 in 1999 to around 634,000 in 2018, relying more heavily on non-career employees.”

But the panel noted that the postal workforce has actually increased by about 4% in the past three years because of the rapid expansion of package deliveries.

 “Given the expected growth in package delivery services, personnel costs are expected to continue to increase in future years, offsetting the increase in the corresponding revenue,.” the panel wrote. It didn’t address the extent to which productivity gains or package-delivery price hikes could reverse that unfavorable trend.

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43 comments:

Randy Fox said...

How can that panel fudge numbers like that? 76% of expenditures are for benefits? How much of THAT is due to Bushes law of prefunding by SEVENTY-FIVE years?? Remove that and re-do the costs.
Talk about figures lie and liars figuring...

Wendy Doherty said...

This is bullshit. My husband has worked for the USPS for 45-years. He makes less per hour than Fed Ex and UPS employees.

D. Eadward Tree said...

Randy Fox, it's 76% for compensation AND benefits. It takes a lot of people to move the mail. And delivery for USPS is inherently more labor intensive than for UPS: Think about how many stops a letter carrier has to make versus a UPS driver. (That's why UPS and FedEx pay the USPS to make a lot of their residential deliveries.)
















Anonymous said...

I'm lost on the 9 Labor Unions in the USPS plus 2 Management Associations. There are at least 3 management Associations and only 4 labor unions. The fact they cannot report even on that easily found information accurately throws out the rest of the article/report.

D. Eadward Tree said...

Wendy Doherty, what the panel didn't analyze is what UPS and FedEx pay versus COMPARABLE positions at the Postal Service. It's possible the USPS's AVERAGE cost per employee is higher because it has a higher proportion of highly paid supervisors and managers. Also, the panel didn't say whether the USPS costs per employee were higher because of salary or because of benefits. USPS probably pays more for pensions partly because it's so restricted as to how it can invest its pension funds.

Ron Lucas said...

You also have to factor in that the USPS has to deliver to every address in the country. The USPSlso delivers parcels for UPS and Fed X does not want to liver due to their costs to deliver. You should have done much more rest so you were comparing Apple's to Apple's. Numbers can say whatever you want them to.

Unknown said...

How about you come try my job for a month, then tell me if I am overpaid. Until then, shut up. You have no clue how hard we work.

Unknown said...

I worked as a letter carrier for 34 years in Springfield, IL. In 1991 I carried my walk out route from downtown to my residential area in 60 below wind chill. I would like to see these pencil pushers try this. I almost froze to death but did my whole route.


Jack D said...

How about compare what the total compensation for a FULL time UPS and Fedex worker! Their averages would be driven way down if you include all their part timers.

Unknown said...

This report is all smoke and mirrors. Remember they didn't finalize our union contract yet,so they need to make the situation look dire for them. Get rid of that prefunding retirement bullshit and everything will be fine.

Chuck Hawkes said...

Part that they forgot to mention how much the USPS has to pay the federal government, blaming on the employees instead of the real problem of having to pay the government when the private sector doesn't.

The maillady said...

Try doing my job for one month and tell me I make to much !! This job is hard on your body and your brain is tired every evening when I get home

Anonymous said...

The usps employees do not do the same type of work as other federal employees. Try being on your feet for 8 to 12 hrs every day or longer...12 hrs every day in December...walking 12 to 20 miles everyday carrying heavy loads. And in a plant, hand processing thousands of parcels in one shift, bend down pick a few up, scan each one, deposit in bag for each town, then pulling down bags that weigh 10 to 70lbs each, averaging 40lb each, picking them up and piling them into shipping containers...then pushing out each heavy container sometimes a pallet sized wire container filled with magazines...imagine how heavy that is...pushing them out to the dock over 500 ft on other side of building.... or lifting trays and tubs of mail weighung average 30lbs each...hundreds of them each night and putting them in shipping containers and out to dock...working nonstop, trying to get them mail out to the truck by dispatch time...in a plant my fitbit averages 12 to 15 miles per night...all this in just one night of work, with 3 small breaks and a 30 min. Lunch... usps employees ARE NOT OVER PAID!!!

Michael Quinney said...

so we get paid more then fed ex n ups well I hope so, since they dont do a quarter of the work we do. let alone have to work the hours we work. I would love to see anyone that thinks they can handle carrying mail, come carry my route especially during the holiday season.
working 12 to 14 hours a day.
working in every single weather condition.
ups drops off packages everyday at the usps , so we basically doing there job.

not to mention we doing this with no help.

while ups and fedex both get helpers every year.

Anonymous said...

Why does the Postal Service have to pay millions of $$ every year to prefund retirement for employees not even born yet. No other government agency has to do this.

Anonymous said...

You nailed it!

Mfreeman said...

Exactly! Absolutely clueless ��

Anonymous said...

As a carrier for 30 plus years I don't feel overpaid. I've witnessed the USPS over the years continue to become as dysfunctional as any organization. Most in management were former carriers or clerks that didn't want to do the work. One in particular was such a bad carrier that the supervisor at the time was not going to keep him after his 90 probation period. The OIC at the time was a "friend" and blocked the other supervisors decision. Now we have a boss that harasses, clerks, carriers, rural and city, into doing more in less time at over 100k per year. The craft employees who actually come in and do their work are expected to do more and more in less and less time. Some craft workers cozy up to management and do less and less. Carrier jobs have become more and more dysfunctional with advent of scanning mail every 5 minutes, managers catering to the "high maintenance" public. Safety of carriers is not an issue as evident with some of the ridiculous delivery points. Those who think we're over paid should come out in 100 degree heat or 0 degree cold and deliver, with limited heated and No A/C vehicles. I'm set to retire next summer and for the 32 plus years I will have put in my "pension" will be less the 20k per year. So don't sit in judgement until you know what your talking about. The newer hires are not staying because their time doesn't count until they get full time, which could be years. Their forced to work 6-7 days a week, they could be sent to other offices at a moments notice 15 or 20 miles away. Clerks and carriers don't make nearly as much as the multiple levels of managers. That's where the money is going. So maybe if management respected the work force by streamlining delivery, not letting the public call the shots because they're "entitled", and making the workplace more enjoyable, maybe service would improve. Then again their "bonuses" would suffer

Anonymous said...

The Great Postal STRIKE?

Anonymous said...

Rurals.

Bobcats75 said...

This job is hard. We deserve every penny. We earned it.

Mjlassi said...

Exactly!!! They have no clue what we do to deliver our customers!! You nailed a lot of it but we do even more than that! We are not over paid!! I’d love to see them try to do the work we do and to mention we do the last mile for fedex amazon speedy ups and other delivery services 🤔 we are not just a package delivery service as well

D. Eadward Tree said...

Regarding the number of unions and management associations, there's a USPS report of "Number of Employees by Labor Code" that lists the following organizations (ranked here from most to least employees), but there's a catch:

National Association of Letter Carriers
American Postal Workers Union
National Rural Letter Carriers
Mailhandlers Union
National Association of Postal Supervisors
National Association of Postmasters
National Alliance of Postal Employees
Fraternal Order of Police
National Postal Professional Nurses
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
National League of Postmasters

The catch is that the last 3 on the list are shown with no employees. I believe they stopped representing USPS employees years ago but that they still show up on the report -- and that Trump's panel counted them anyway. I would appreciate any corroboration my readers can provide.

Anonymous said...

Ups and USPS are both hard in their own ways, ups drivers get paid more the USPS drivers, plus we don't have to pay for our benefits, you think your job is harder because you've never done ours, you walk alot but try delivering 500 pieces that aren't dinky little letters or Amazon packages and picking up 500 the tell me my job is easy

Unknown said...

As a USPS Letter Carrier this article is so bogus it is not worth my time to comment on. Please will someone in government be honest for once. Can we please get a new President with some integrity? Most USPS employees (not management) are over worked and under paid for what we do. This kind of crap just makes me so angry!!!! (: (: (: (: @%@%@%@

D. Eadward Tree said...

Hey, Unknown, don't blame the article, blame the task force and its report. The article just tells you what the task force said. I thought its comments about the USPS labor force were important enough, even though the MSM ignored them, that they should be highlighted -- especially so that postal workers could know what was going on inside the Beltway. I left my own opinions out of it -- except for noting that the panel overlooked the possibility of improving productivity rather than cutting wages.

Unknown said...

You're right Wendy! Ive worked for usps for 20yrs and I've talked to the UPS & FedEx people in the city I deliver in and they make more than I do!!

Unknown said...

Since when is UPS and FEDEX delivering letters and selling postage stamps . Apples and oranges compare by privatization-hungry corporate anti-amazon hatred motivations as directed by trumptards

Anonymous said...

They want to talk about us being overpaid? Let's look at what Congress and the Senate is paid. They do absolutely nothing but point fingers at the other side and bicker about everything. Yet they get a retirement even if they only serve for 4 years. How long does a postal employee put in to get full retirement? What about their benefit plan, hell of a lot better than ours. By the time we retire, our bodies are broken down from all the heavy lifting we do! As usual they think they know what is best for us even though they have no clue about the job we perform. After 27 years at the post office, I make $70,000 a year before taxes and other deductions, which is about 35% of my pay. The only time I get overtime is the 3 weeks of Christmas and that is rare. The postal service trys to prevent rural carriers from getting overtime, but will pay city carriers and mail handlers overtime all year long!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure why the USPS has not gone to the combination mailbox system for every house and business - it's where several mailboxes are located in one large station - some newer residential developments already have them. That would take care of their money problem, and thru attrition, could reduce the workforce. You may have to walk a block to get your mail, but so what. If you are disabled, a neighbor or friend can pick up your mail, or maybe a special courier could deliver that mail every other day.

Antman383 said...

I work for USPS and only make 13.06 hourly I wish I got paid 50,000 annually

Anonymous said...

D. Edward, didn't you publish an article a few months back about the horrible retention rate for new hires? Something like 50% nationwide within the first six months? We have a training office here, and the trainer says that's about right. Lots will quit within the first two weeks because everyone thinks postal workers have gravy jobs, but find out real quick how physically demanding the job is, with crappy hours and working conditions. Of course temp new hires are lower tier wages with some vague promise of 'making career' eventually. 95% of new hires are temps, in every craft. So how will USPS be able to find anyone with even lower wages?

A large percent of current career employees are mid-fifties or older, and will be retiring soon (including me, yay!). And a fun fact: postal workers are paid less and die sooner than any other group of federal employees.

Anonymous said...

Salary is too high!If you do not work overtime, our pay is better than UPS.High intensity work overtime is the so-called high salary!No overtime pay, my salary is: 17.85 / H.Excuse me, where is high!

Anonymous said...

If the government cuts our pay, most emoyees will quit or retire and the post office will become unsustainable. The new generation of work force isnt as hard working. Good luck with anyone getting mail. They say to bring your pets inside when there is extreme heat or cold but, we as humans, are expected to indure the conditions.

tropicdave173 said...

The other thing the panel needs to consider is that the USPS funds itself, while other government employees are paid through taxes. If the Postal Service didn't have that ridiculous pre-funding to deal with it'd be in much better shape.

Not to mention that if it's a Trump panel, there's no way it's ever going to be anything like friendly to unions.

Anonymous said...

How about some oversight on management? A good number of these people couldn't their daily job, let alone run the place. Who's keeps track of supervisors who continuously cost the USPS grievance time and money, with the same violations over and over?

Unknown said...

I agree with 99% of my brother's and sister carrier's comments. Until you do our job and beat your body like the rest of us, you shouldn't have any say in our compensation. This job is tough, both physically and mentally. I go home exhausted year round, worse during the month of December, understandably. Those of us in our 40s, 50s and even 60s are the last true hard workers because those we hire now just can't hack it. Sorry millennials....

Jeff said...

We're not overpaid. Just that others aren't paid enough.

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling that the USPS included management and executive pay in their figures when determining "average employee costs", while it was excluded from the private sector comparison?


“USPS employees should not be afforded protections and rights not enjoyed by other federal employees.". When other federal agencies start actually putting money into the US treasury, as the postal service does, instead of existing solely on tax dollars leeched from the citizens then maybe that statement would have some merit... Until that happens, the uneducated pencil pusher who authored that statement, and remained anonymous in the process, should learn to keep their uniformed, opinionated rhetoric out of an a officially congressionally funded task force report.

Padawg said...

Lol, ok what about front line supervisors who make $80.000. Basically a warehouse foreman in processing plants. LMFAO

Anonymous said...

The American people will not allow that change. You are apparently living under a rock if you think the entire population of the US will accept cluster boxes versus door-to-door delivery. It works for new developments but it will not work for anything else because people will not allow something to be taken from them.

Unknown said...

I love it how we show up in morning and run parcels for 3 hrs just to fit the mail in the truck only to come back to 10 tubs of mail house to house 6 trays of letters and more parcels, ups and FedEx do not have a clue, I have 31 years in and I have been hearing bad news every year,I can't wait to collect my pension at 56 and do something more fulfilling,post office is a very depressing job

Anonymous said...

The post office is responsible for the up keep of these cluster boxes which is an expense and you can not rewuirr elderly or handicap people to go to a cluster box. It is also illegal for someone to enter your box to deliver the mail to your door and people can't afford this extra expense.