First-Ever Layoffs Loom at Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service faces a serious financial shortfall that is accelerating reductions in its workforce and raising the possibility of the first-ever layoffs of career employees.

Reduced mail volume, rising costs, and a newly enacted cap on rate increases all have taken a toll on the Postal Service’s finances. A gradual shift to electronic communications and bill payment is shrinking the number of first-class letters, a mainstay of postal revenues. And the current economic downturn has led to drops in advertising mail volume.

Increasing fuel prices have been a big factor in worsening postal finances, compounded by a legal restriction enacted two years ago against raising the price of most services beyond the rate of inflation. The cap on rate increases was a major victory for the big mailing industry, but combined with rising costs, it has seriously squeezed the postal budget.

Unionized postal workers have not yet experienced layoffs, which have been confined to casual employees, a small percentage of the workforce.

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But Postmaster General John Potter, after reporting losses of $2.3 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, informed the unions that 16,000 craft employees (out of approximately 600,000) are not protected by contractual, seniority-based no-layoff clauses.

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The Postal Service is offering early retirement which, based on acceptance rates thus far, will have around 7,000 takers. In early 2009, when the number of early retirees will be known and income can be assessed for the traditionally profitable fourth quarter, there’s a chance that the first layoffs of craft employees may occur.

DAY SHIFT ENDANGERED

Cost pressures are having other effects. Most of the sorting and processing of mail already occurs between 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. But, without notice to the affected unions, postal plant managers have been told to plan for ending day shift operations. If implemented, this would force thousands of clerks (represented by American Postal Workers Union) and mailhandlers (National Postal Mailhandlers Union) out of the more desirable day-shift assignments.

The elimination of daytime jobs would disrupt the family lives and the physical health of those displaced, mostly high-seniority workers. APWU President Bill Burrus has speculated that this action is partly aimed at pushing them to retire.

One proposal to recoup costs would be to ask Congress for an exception to the rate cap, pointing to the cost of fuel. However, one union president has cautioned that too big an increase might further reduce business and drive the shift to e-communication.

The situation may encourage management, or the U.S. government, to push for more subcontracting or privatization, areas of longstanding battles with the unions. For example, the Postal Service recently asked for bids from private companies to outsource work carried out by its network of bulk mail centers. Unions have responded by pushing for favorable legislation, and by pointing out the disagreements on privatization between major-party candidates in the presidential and congressional elections.

Postal workers have been relatively immune from the concessions that have hit other industries. We now face a set of circumstances, termed “a perfect storm” by Burrus, that will challenge the ability of the unions to protect postal jobs, pay, and working conditions.


David Yao is vice president of the Greater Seattle Area Local APWU.

Comments

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/28/09

1st of all, I would like to know how much money John Potter and those immediately under him make. Maybe a pay-cut should be in place for certain areas. Not that I believe employees shouldn't be entitled to fair compensation for the amount of work they do.
2nd Cutting out Saturday delivery only temporarily solves the Postal Services money issues, WHILE creating more problems for the U.S. Government. By cutting out Saturday delivery you would be laying off thousands of workers that would be entitled to unemployment benefits. Our economy is already struggling, do you think more jobless people is really going to help our situation.
3rd Hold people accountable for getting their job done. I am an RCA in a small office with only four rural routes. We have two PTF's and a Postmaster. We all manage to get our jobs done in a timely fashion without many problems.(with exception to the occasional hair-brained rules, that never work but you have to follow.) However, the same can not be said about all offices. For example, on one particular Saturday we received a second delivery of mail to our office from the Distribution facility. On this second truck was one Postcom containing the outgoing mail that had been sent from our office the evening before. (all of which had been properly tagged) This is where money is being wasted, sending people out to do a job that wasn't necessary or should have already been done by someone else. Our distribution facility is also sending out express mail after our carriers have left on their routes, making it necessary to pay someone else to go out to deliver them. Make the mail-handlers, clerks, and carriers accountable in being able to complete their tasks in a timely, efficient, and correct manner.
4th if rural routes have an evaluated time, so should city routes. I have seen and heard of city carriers taking their time just to make more money. An evaluated system for city routes could help save money. All routes, city and rural need a better evaluation system than the ones presently used.
5th Management is not all to blame. Sure there are some people in management that are useless. Some management jobs should be cut. Supervisor positions should be reduced, there are no need to have as many supervisors as some offices do. Postmasters, however, are often under-appreciated. Their jobs are often difficult, trying to keep peace between their employees is hard enough. Many postmasters do more than one task in their office, often they are found running the retail window, breaking down and sorting the mail, and counting stocks and cash drawers. Also, a postmaster's pay is based on a performance evaluation, which factors in revenue, sick leave and annual leave used within the office, grievances and a number of other factors. Most Postmasters work really hard and deserve every bit of the pay they receive.
6th A better evaluation is needed for the amount of EMA carriers receive. Now it is based on a quarterly evaluation. Most complaints I hear is how when gas prices go down we are making too much. That is not true though, you also have to think of how long it took us to get those raises after gas prices rose. EMA should be evaluated monthly in order to make carriers happier as well as making an attempt to save some money.
7th If everyone would quit complaining about their job and do it to their best ability, more work could be done in the same amount of time. I can not begin to tell you how many times I have seen a person complain for 5minutes or longer about rule changes or about the work in general. If they would just get to work and stop wasting their time and do the work the Postal Service would become more efficient.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/28/09

If the post office were to eliminate Saturday delivery, they would have to do route adjustments. Can you get your route done in 8 hours every day during a week that there is a holiday? No. They would do away with T-6's, but they would surely have to create new routes.
As far as not being able to work your SDO... Too bad! get a part time job somewhere else if you don't enjoy having a day off to spend with your family!

USPS Hubby (not verified) | 01/26/09

My wife is new (less than 1 year) with the Postal Service. She has trained as a clerk in addition to dispatching the mail. She is a PTF (Part-Time Flexible. She schedule can put her starting work as early as four a.m. and working for stwo to four hours, being sent home and haveing to show up again in the afternoon for another two hours. She is able to be worked anywhere from two to eight hours in a twelve hour period, is guaranteed only 12 hours a week and has only Sunday off. For a part time job, the wages are good, but the job is already taking its toll on her health.

Anonymous (not verified) | 04/24/09

Wow, that doesn't sound too good. Not many hours guaranteed, being available Monday - Saturday and rushing 2 times a day to work... I hope she is at least told in advance what hours and days she will be expected to work... Anyway, maybe it would be better to find something different, more stable and predictable.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/26/09

I've been carrying mail for 30 years. I have 2 years to go. The management is horrible. I know i'm getting old, but I deserve to be treated with respect. I'm a middle aged woman and the 30 year olds that run the office hate older women. They don't like hearing me talk. I got a letter for mis-deliveing a piece of mail. They are supposed to give me a chance to correct my error. PDI one day next day letter. I had quadruple bypass in August and I never got one minute of aux help even after a holiday. I work trough my lunch most day cause of the bad weather. I can not afford to get fired. I have 2 years to go. They treat me like sh+*. People are so mean to the older worker. I'm not as fast as I was when I was 24, but for goodness sake, I'm not 84!! I can only hope they get old someday. When my Dad was dying, I had used my vacation time to go back and forth to the hospital and help my Mom. When he died my boss denied me bereavment until he was forced to by the union to let me use sick. He wasted alot of resources because it is in our contract we can use sick leave for a parent's death. 3 days. I hate him I think he is unfit and he should be lay off. He wastes so much money it is a sin.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/29/09

Unfortunately, horrible people are everywhere. If it's any consolation, just keep telling yourself that "WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND" and its just a matter of time before horrible people pay a price for their behavior in some or another. It's inevitable!

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/29/09

I know what your talking about its just un-american the way we are treated I wish someone would start a class action and sue the ********. I sorry that you had to be treated the way your were when you came back from sugery my sister had the same operation but that was years ago and different climate and the bosses were older and they treated her with respect. I not saying that's has always been true. We both have been treated badly at the post office. I've got two years and can't wait I would go sooner if I could afford it. Good Luck

JOYCE WOODS (not verified) | 01/24/09

if the postal service is doing so bad and want layoffs.Then why have more ASP programs for new sups? with talks of layoff/ the workforce would be gone. Who are they going to supervise? things cant be all bad.because sups make more money than the ones they want to lay off. we have so many sups and mgrs walking doing nothing.thats where alot of the money is.those are the lazy ones that need to be laid off first.i work in a plant and we as clerks knows our job, its the same every day. all we need is one sup to manage lunches, breaks,and turn over times. we have aleast 3,walking around lazy all day,glad that they became a sup so they dont have to do the work themselves.i work in automation.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/10/09

i have been with the post office for 4 years now only 1.5 years that count. i work at a plant and they are talking about cutting all ptf(that is what i am now) back to 20-25 hours a week. i am personally asking local ao postmasters if they need any help. i am the only breadmaker in my household of 5 and cannot survive off of 25 hours a week. the only good thing about layoffs is that the post office will have to pay unemployment. i am terrified of getting laidoff, there are no other jobs out there that pay what the postal service pays along with all the benefits.

15 yrs postal (not verified) | 01/01/09

Listen, out of 15 yrs working at the post office never in my life have i seen things this bad and it will get worse, so if u are on the hiring list good luck keeping your job IF they call u in. If u need more info i will be happy to fill u in but seriously if you can find something else I will encourage you to do so. It real bad and Im trying to keep a good attitude but now I am forced to work in an office that was originally run by 3 people by myself now. I am overworked and exhausted but I have to keep on keeping on. My customers dont understand how I smile and be curteous everyday with a line out the door and nobody to help me. On top of that if you work here there is nobody that is not going to care if u dont have sufficient child care so you have to get that straightened out. If you work in the plant more than likely u will have the same hours wvryday and the same drop days (days off). But if you work in an AO like me (neighborhood post offices) forget it. Its like legal slavery and u are at the mercy of your supervisor. Your schedule can look like this

mon 5am-12pm
tues 10am-230
wed 1am-6am
thurs 12pm-630pm
fri non sched
sat 830am-2pm
sun 11am-3pm

*notice how this schedule isnt even giving 40 hrs of work spread across 6 days
yes we do work on sundays and holidays just not open to the public.
do u still want to work at the post office?

Anonymous (not verified) | 04/02/09

i just called the hotline thing yesterday, and the lady was talkn real stuff...like its a great opportunity for me and it has great benefits and also great pay. i asked my dad for money to buy the study guide and he told me dat he saw on the news that they were laying off big time. and i was like...they must want to get ppls money knowing that they aint gon get hired. and whien it comes time for the guaranteed refund, somethings gonna come up so i wouldnt get my money back. im glad my dad warned me about it..! GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE ELSE THAT APPLIED..!

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/03/09

It is true that having enough help is a big issue. I guess January is the suppose to be the month where we learn whether there is going to be layoffs or not. However, I see in the rural carrier magazine where mail count is having some big changes where the carriers are going to get screwed again. I fear there will be more people that will just get frustrated and leave the postal service and then the lack of help will really be an issue. The postal service isn't known for making wise decisions. Anyone remember the key chain? It was suppose to be a better way for safety on the routes. The key chains kept getting wound up in the steering wheel. The key chain rule lasted one day. That is just a little idea they spawned, now look at some of the ideas they have floating around. The person that said they were on the hiring list will more than likely remain on the hiring list. But the reality of it is, there is NO hiring being done. It is true that the workloads are bigger and we are expected to do the work of two or three people. No excuses.
The word I hear going around now is even though the postal service is stating the lay off rumors are not true, the employees have such a lack of trust in the system that it is believed that the rumors are true simply because the Postal Service is making efforts to say they are not true.
I personally do not think that there will be any layoffs in January as has been rumored. I think that the layoffs, if any, will take place after mail count. That way they will have the necessary ammunition to prove their actions. And what better way to acheive those actions by changing a lot of the figures for mail count.
I feel the pain of the overworked personel. We are bothered with the same thing in our area.
If someone knows any new information concerning the layoff situation would you share it with the rest of us?
Thank you.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/30/09

I am a recent hire at the post office. I just ran my new RCA route for the first time this week. They may not be hiring right now, but not too long ago they were. I'll be glad to keep the job, but if I must go, which has not even been brought up yet, then so be it. Good luck to everyone.

DRKing (not verified) | 12/15/08

We could save a lot of money, and the automakers id the Post Office went to electric vehicles. The Post Office has the largest fleet of vehicles. Imagine the automaker who contracts with the post office to manufacture all electric vehicles for the fleet.

We would save money because there would be no fuel, no oil changes, none of the petroleum products that choke down an engine.

The vehicles would have no emissions, so our air would be cleaner.

The vehicles would spend less time in the shop.

We would still be able to deliver mail six days a week, which would save many jobs, not just clerks and carriers, but plant personnel, RCAs, dispatch drivers, et al. There is more to Saturday delivery than what really meets the eye.

Right now, the technology exists to run a vehicle solely on electricity. 400 miles to a charge, speeds up to 80 MPH (not that we need that on a route, but its there), and power to climb even the steepest hills with a full load of mail.

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/14/08

I'm 48 years old and have 27 years service (counting 6 yrs military time). I started as a city carrier in Binghamton, NY (8 years and was a regular), and then transferred to a level 18 where I was a clerk/carrier. I've been a Postmaster since 2001 (level 15, 18, currently 16--salaried, no OT). Here's my take:
*There are too many supervisors. When I was carrying, there was one for every 15-20 carriers. However, let's face it...there are that small percentage of employees who will do the least amount of work that they possibly can (used to be called slugs). And who got punished for it..the good workers. Sure, we got the pivots and OT, but occasionally you would like to get home on time. I almost missed the birth of my daughter because of a supervisor (yes he was a useless 'slug'). However, I have often found that for every 'slug' employee, there is a great one not too far away.
*Management & Union need to meet halfway. Sounds easy, but no one wants to blink first. Greivances will be the downfall of the postal service. Doesn't matter who wins, the money lost is postal money.
*Postal employees need one Union (ok, two with the Rural Union--what a strange contract they have). As a clerk/carrier (PTF) I was considered Postal putty....used wherever I was needed. That was fine by me. I'd rather do any job rather then sitting at home not making any money. We need to get back to this mentality. Let's stop worrying about 'crossing crafts', and get the job done by working to get the job done. Most clerks, carriers, and plant workers that I've talked with would like to get 40 hours a week.
*Here's one that will get stanch hearted NALC Union Stewards blood pressures up. Make the city routes evaluated. Not saying that carrier's wouldn't be compensated for pivoting. Give all full regular routes a FAIR (hear me route evaluators?) evaluations using a year's worth of data. That year's worth of data means using bad weather data and yes, even heavy volume days. While rural evaluations are not perfect, my rural carrier's don't complain when they have the 7-7 1/2 hour days in the summer, and are heading home around 2:00pm.
*Offer a VER with an incentive! I received one....$1200 a month with no review when I hit 55! C'mon. I can barely survive what I make now. Surprisingly I don't make 6 figures....nowhere close. If HQ wants to ensure the older generation will bite for it, make it worth while. However, realize that losing the older employees means losing valuable working knowledge. Younger (the me) generation needs to step up to the plate and continue the work of keeping the postal service as the #1 government service.
*Have rural EMA looked at every month to 6 weeks. Let's pay the carriers for the abuse on their vehicles and the fuel prices. Hold on, that works the other way as well. Now that prices are under $2 a gallon, EMA needs to be dropped substancially. I would also like to see CBU units at the end of a lot of streets (thereby eliminating mileage).
Just long hours (50-55)for a job that for the most time I do enjoy. Even on the worst day it's still the best job.
Oh, and yes, keep the window open for retail delivery/acceptance, but let's get rid of Saturday delivery.

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/24/08

Get rid of Saturday delivery has got to be the best comment I have heard. Who really can not deal without their mail on saturday. If you have to have it there Saturday, pay for it in Overnight charges. No lay off then!!!!! I am not even a postal employee. I vote on no saturday delivery. Monday mail comes soon enough for me.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/04/09

With no saturday delivery there will still be lay-offs. There is a carrier that is scheduled to cover a route on the regular carriers scheduled day off due to our six day work week. These carriers are called T-6 carriers. They have 5 different routes, one for each day, to cover the regular carrier because they are off. Lets say there are 60 routes in an office, that would mean 12 T-6 carriers. With no saturday delivery these T-6 carriers would not be needed because there will only be five working days and no need for someone to cover the regulars spot for that sixth day. You multiple this by every post office in the country and that means tens of thousands of carriers.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/30/09

you are so right. i am a rural route carrier sub. have been for 23 years. and if the saturday delivery goes away so do i and the other subs in our office. so i guess the post office would rather pay me unemplyoment than have me work. well i guess there is always standing on a street corner with my sign, unemployed postal worker need job or your cash..I want to work, i love my job,, I hate it when the public thinks that we postal workers are just a bunch of lazy people.. wish they would walk in our shoes for a day. they would stop bitching then.By the way today was the worst work day for me in 23 years. one of my customers committed suicide last night. and i found him dead in his bedroom today when i was taking his mail to him on a hardship delivery...think the bitching customers ever think that we are humans and care about our customers.. this guy was a wonderful person and this just sucks..but my supervisor were great about me being out so late talking to the police. they told me to take my time. so see not at supervisors are bad..

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/14/08

i beleive the post office can save alot of money, by reducing the number of postal employees who claim they cant do their job and are on light duty. they sit around and get paid to do basically nothing. i feel if you cant do the job you get paid to do, then you should go home, also if the p.o stops giving surpervisor yearly bonuses, also paying these employees who cant pass the test for supervisor, supervisor pay. and last i would like to comment on carriers who are on the clock to do work for the post office 10-12 hrs a day but not doing post office work. they instead are on the street doing their own personal business ( cleaning and catering business) and managment allowing this and falsefing clock rings to cover this activity up

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/18/09

That's called fraud, waste and abuse and is a prosecutable offense...you need to report it, but make sure you have documented proof...good luck.

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/13/08

Since I was injured on the job and am now a rehab clerk, I've been told if I am laid off that I would still receive my regular salary--This seems hard to believe.
I've been told that the projected layoff time will be in January. Has anyone else heard this?
I may be on limited duty status, but I do my best to do my job the best I possibly can. The last thing I want is for someone to think I am not doing my job well using my lack of physical capabilities as an excuse. As I mentioned in an earlier comment I go home every evening with a painful swollen leg and each morning wonder if I will be able to make it through the next day.
I've also been told that the entire layoff scare is just a big untrue rumor. There is no way the postal service would conduct a layoff.
So the big question is, Is the layoff rumor true or one big fat ugly lie to get people upset enough to do their jobs more efficiently?

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/13/08

I was injured in an accident while on my route, crushed leg, broken arm, and concussion. I spent a long time in the hospital and eventually made it back to work on limited duty. I am not able to go back to my mail route due to restrictions. I am presently reassigned to another post office as a rehab clerk. I have been told that if/when layoffs occur that the rehabs are on the list to be eliminated. I have also been told that since I was injured on the job that even if I do get laid off, the postal service still has to pay me my salary. That would be fine except knowing how the postal service operates, there would have to be a catch to it. I do my best to work hard and to do a good job at what ever I am told to do. I do not want anyone to be able to say that I don't do my job very good because I have a physical problem. Because of that I go home every night with a swollen and very sore leg and every morning I start the day wondering if I will be able to get through another day. The only reason I would welcome a layoff for me would be the relief of the pain. It just seems totally unbelievable that they would lay me and others like me off and still pay us. Then again, it is the Postal Service. They are not known for their management skills. If anyone knows about the layoff situation with any certainty, I would sure like to know(I can hear others saying, yea you and 2 million others). I know other rehab clerks are wondering as well. If I am going to be laid off I would like to have some sort of knowledge of it so I could apply as a door greeter somewhere if I need to.

Lisa P (not verified) | 12/09/08

More and more people are turning to payday loans in these trying times to meet their bills on time, like the mortgage, credit cards, or keeping the electricity on, the cars running, and food on the table. Things have been made even worse with mass layoffs going on. Adobe laid off 600, Viacom let go 850, NBCU let 500 go, and then telecommunications giant AT&T clipped 12,000 people off its workforce. These are despicable things, but they are the lesser of evils, if they keep these companies afloat. In the wake of this downturn, the banks, which were in part to blame for this turn of events, have also taken measures. Consumers have been bearing the brunt of most of these actions, which is ironic because it is precisely the consumers whose tax dollars were used to keep the large banking institutions out of trouble. Banks have been making credit more and more difficult to obtain, even to those with good credit. Fees for ATM use and overdraft or late payments have increased, in essence taking to the cleaners the very people who paid to keep these institutions out of the tank. However, some good may come of this, and it is a hard learned lesson. We, as a culture, have to learn about being more responsible with our debt, and with our credit use.

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/09/08

Not again. We are destroying our planet. Global warming, beaches and the whales. What's next?

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/28/08

Continue to run the company into the ground then ask the Government for a $25 billion dollar bail out. Heck, everybody else is doing it.

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/26/08

Look, WE have nearly 600,000 employees! Average pay $50,000 (which is conservative). Instead of laying OUR co-workers off, and adding to OUR nation's problem! Have a pay cut of 10% across the board, until OUR nation gets on it's feet again. 10% X 50,000= 5,000. $5,000 X 600,000= $3,000,000,000 (that's $3Billion). Let's be a role model not the problem!

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/28/08

written like a postal employee and not postal (or anyone in) mgmt. thanks for you point which mgmt will not understand.

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/27/08

If you take into account that most people live off the the 50,000 on paper not cash. We already pay 7% tax in the state of NJ, 7.65% for Fica, 25% to 35% Federal tax then we still have health care and debt that has interest on it so we should just say that we pay anywhere between 45% and 55% of our pay (50,000) to taxes and interest on debt.
So if I make 50,000 after all the taxes and interest on debt my actual take home pay would be anywhere between 22,500 and 27,250 now many people still have car payments, mortgages, creditcards, loans, kids, and everyday household expenses and after all that the majority of people have a negative income so how can you say give up another 10% when we already dont have it.

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/19/08

It looks to be inevitable that gas prices will not stay down for the long haul. If the USPS cannot get the authority to make (at least temporarily) some sort of agreement to lock in prices on the futures market as private companies are doing then $4.00/gal. gasoline in a deep recession will be a disaster.

Are we forever to be at OPEC'S mercy? Talking about alternative fuels is critical but it that's no solution at crisis time.

Li Li (not verified) | 11/16/08

I have been in the postal service for a little over 10 years. I was a clerk for 10 years and just recently switched to carrier. I have worked in all types of facilities, plants, large stations, and now a small AO. One thing is consistant, lack of window clerks. I keep seeing management abolishing clerk positions saying there is no need for them but yet they will only have one clerk on the window with the customers lined out to the door. You cannot make money if you do not sell a product, since our revenue is earned from stamp sells you would think the first thing they would do is staff the window, with knowlegable salespeople to sell our stamps. I cannot blame a customer for walking out the door as soon as they see our lines and going elsewhere. People want to be able to mail a package with someone that can guide them and make sure they are doing everything right. Now that the new APC is in action they eliminated the small one stamp machines(because of a deal they made with IBM) so our loss is starting to add up. All those tour 2 jobs, cfs units, decoding clerk that are looking for a home should be placed on the window and sell the heck out of the stamps. Its simple, the more stamps sold, the more letters mailed the more profit we make,which make customer and employee happy. The post office can have a chance of survivng if who ever the embezzling, money hungry upper management is would step down and let an experienced sales person walk in and emplement selling out product.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/22/09

Take the postage purchasing ability back from the "at home business" customer. They are the ones that short pay on just about any and every thing they mial. They pay 42 cents for a large envelope, they short wiegh pieces, they use OUR priority and express mail tyvek envelopes, turn them inside-out and then go with the chepaest rate.
They amil things via the media mail rates and yet the contents ARE NOT media!! Thank God I have the capability to inspect these packages. Nothing gives me MORE joy than making them up postage due. Yes, I've told them nicely the error they made/are making and nada happens. They continue. Yes, I've told my PO about "them" and he seems like he can't be bothered to do anything about it. So take back the ability to use click-n-ship, et al.

Then the district sends me a nice little postcard asking me as a window clerk to "sell the product", share the info with family, friends and business associates. Yeah right, I'll do that as soon as I get the same 2% raise that the Post Master General gave his staff after he got his mega bonus.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/01/09

OMG u said a mouthfull!! I am working like a SLAVE at my post office. We used to have 3 of us there now we are down to two people and NO lunch coverage so during the busiest time of day there is only one of us on the window!! I am sooooo tired and dreading going in tomorrow! I am so close to an anxiety attack it aint even funny. But I still have a pleasant demeanor with the customers and bang out 110percent of work every transaction and I get NOTHING for it except my paycheck that mgt continues to mess up every pay period. Its a disgrace!!

Don Jones (not verified) | 11/17/08

To improve efficency, all apartments should have centrallized mailboxes. The small 4 unit pull down boxes are just too time consuming plus they can't handle the magazines and advertisements in larger metropolitan areas. This can cut delivery time in half or more. What leverage does the PO have to force apartment complexes to install centralized mailboxes?? Another money saver is to own the postal buildings. Leasing is fine for short term, but post offices stay for decades which ownership gives far more fiscal benefit than leasing.
The way the union has contracts set up there is no incentive to excel. As a T6, a couple of my regulars are notorius in leaving me their third bundles. I can deliver the mail, third bundle, and normally have an hour left for an 8 hour day. A job should not be paid on putting in time, it should be paid for the amount of work done. Those that do more should get more, but unions want to spread the wealth around, even to the slugs. It doesn't take long for any incentive to do more is quashed.
The same is happening with supervisors. At my post office, management wants the capable supervisor to do full office minor route adjustments to get rid of five routes while running his 29 route unit. When he says no to doing both, management gives it to a less capable supervisor and has someone else run his unit. Should I bring up which is the minority? That the less capable supervisor will take more that twice the amount as the more capable and still not be done as well? That management brought in an independent auditor to evaluate the more capable supervisor which the auditor commented that he hadn't seen a better unit yet that was not reflected in the report. So why should the capable supervisor try to excel when management is trying to submarine him? Oh, management already sent the least capable of all supervisors on detail to screw up minor adjustments throughout the district. But this incompetent guy is one of the protected from the chosen minority for this West Coast district.

Kieth (not verified) | 11/15/08

I have been reading most of the comments at this web site concerning postal lay offs and the current situation with the post office losing money.
Many of the suggestions made are clearly from the viewpoint of self preservation.(Make cuts, but not in my area.)Types of comments.
I too beieve that some cuts are warranted in all levels of the post office.
On the management levels there are too many managers and quite a number of them are redundant. They perform the same function as the other managers in the immediate area,and therefore are not needed. Worse yet, they often assume that the other managers in the area are already covering something that needs to get done, and therefore do not check on it until 10 minutes after it needed to be done or a craft person brings it to thier attention. Also in many cases, 204B's are being used to manage and push the mail through when managers, who are supposed to be doing that job already, aren't.
This takes away from the craft workforce available on any given night to get the work done, and increases the management numbers, of which there are already too many.
Management, however, is by far not the only problem.
In the areas of waisted gas, routes, space and equipment, many benefits could be achieved.
In the area of deliveries, mail delivery on Saturdays should be suspended, NOT DISCONTINUED, until the current economic crisis has passed. It could then be resumed as normal.Thereby saving fuel costs.
Currently when I am loading trucks, I see many containers half full of mail or less. I also see many of these same containers going to the same locations on trailers that are far less than fully loaded.
To address these problems I would suggest that CONSOLIDATION UNITS should be formed in all locations that process the bulk of the mail for thier surrounding areas.
All the mail in these facilities, before being shipped out, shoud be brought to a central area to be combined with other like kind mail being shipped to the same locations. This way trailers could almost always be shipped 100% full with each container, likewise, being filled to capacity. This in turn would reduce the number of trailer routes necessary to move the same amount of mail. This would also reduce the number of routes contracted out and the amount of gas used in shipping the mail.
I believe that it might also protect some postal employees jobs at the same time by useing those people who were in danger of being layed off, to start up the consolidation units.
This plan protects postal worker jobs but still saves the post office money in the areas of fuel costs and outside contracting.
Lay offs may save money in the short term, but they do nothing to address the problems that have caused the current situation. Until these are addressed lay off's will only be the tip of the iceberg with ,I fear, eventual privitization being an ever more present threat in the future.

Kieth, Minneapolis

yvonne (not verified) | 01/28/09

I like your suggestion on suspending Saturday delivery until the economy picks up. Potter is so worried about which day of the week to
pick which I think is ridiculous, when Saturday is the most obvious and makes sense, but when does the PO run on common sense.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/14/09

It amazes me that no one in these posts has mentioned one of the biggest financial cancers on this great company. How many billions could we save if the unions would quit protecting the lazy dead beats that are costing the Postal Service millions in overtime to make up for either the work they don't do while on the clock, or the work they should be doing while they are off on supposed "sick leave"? We want to constanty point the finger at management. Maybe the unions need to step up and own some of fault?

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/13/08

The P.O. needs to hire more temp employees and eliminate all the o.t.

bill (not verified) | 11/14/08

I have over 30 years of service. There will never be a fix to the problems at the po. It just will not happen. I am sick of being punished for doing a great job for this outfit by having an unfair route count done, forced to carry more and more mail and always into ot these days. The early out offer was a joke to say the least. So we can cry all we want about the problems we face but understand the problems will never ever be fixed. I hope the layoffs talks are the po just blowing hot air to get what they want and to scare people into an action the management wants to happen. Take care of yourself first is how I feel today. Everyone would feel better if you take care of yourself. Protect yourself and carry smart.

Anonymous (not verified) | 01/02/09

RIGHT ON!!! YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/13/08

Too much work is being wasted in maint. We are sent to school then told we can not work on the equipment, for example, elevators. We also have way too many duplicate routes. This work represents hours wasted that could be forth on repairs that are now being contracted out, for example, chiller servicing. Our building mechanics are slowly being contracted out of their jobs. The sad part of this is that most of the building mechanics are close to retiring and therfore enjoy sitting around on their butts all day and sleeping at night as their work is being given to companies like KONE and Johnson Controls. I am dumbfounded at this logic, why pay a contractor $90 or better an hour plus their parts that are marked up over cost when we have able and knowledable bodies just sitting around that can do the work in house. Might I also point out that proper preventitive maintenance is not happening on millions of dollars in building equipment. Chemicals are not being allowed to be used in the chillers and boilers therfore shortening the life of the equipment. Fork lift batteries are having unfiltered tap water put in them when the idustry standard is to use distilled water. roof leaks are let go till further damage happens increasing the final cost of repairs. Powered industrial trucks are let given any attention until major costly issues arise. Employees are not held accoutable for damage done by carless drivers both in and outside of the buildings, light poles and barriers hit, door knocked off of hinges, elevators damaged, walls and overheads damaged,etc... We need to do a major overhaul in maintenance and begin to hold employees accountable for their actions. Management also needs to be reduced and those that are over maint should have a maint. background. Those in tool in parts should also have a mechanical background. A technician should be able to tell a MOS clerk what he needs by name and the clerk should have some type of idea what the part actually is instead of saying "if you don't have a post office part number I cannot find the part." I am also amazed at how much waste is generated instead of reusing or repuposing materials when equipment is changed out. I can continue to satte all the waste that I have witnessed in the usps from the maint side of the house but that would require a full 50 page minimum report. I guess I see all this because I am one of the few who came straight off of the street into maint and have yet to be corrupted by this system.

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/12/08

So here we go

#1 for the people who say that we should cut Saturday delivery what about about monday holidays. I suppose that means that on Tuesday we would have what four days worht of mail now thats not to bright is it. Also cutting one day out of delivery means a reduction of 20% of all carriers after all why do carriers need a U-man.

#2 To the people who are saying that "keying out is bad" that leaving routes vacant is bad. If your route is down in volume and your going to have less case time what do you expect that your just going to be able to sit around for however long that duration is and not have any work. "pivoting" helps keep jobs period.

#3 This one would help the P.O. out alot. Hold people accountable. Its to easy for someone to just take their time. When I was a PTF I was given the worst of the worst and yet I still came back to the P.O. on time. Why is it that regulars couldnt do this. Yes I may be younger but you make more money.

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/12/08

I am a postmaster--in a small office. Everyone is saying that management is not doing anything--let me tell you, I start my day at 630am, and end at 6:00pm, 5 days a week, I am exempt, I get paid for 8 hours a day. I do not have a supervisor at this time. I have 2 carriers if I do not go out on the street and look them up daily, they could be anywhere but on the route--these are supposed to be experienced carriers---with the union's support, they are the worst carriers I have ever worked with. I too started off as a carrier, and still carries mail as needed. I also have two buildings, my rural carriers are in one building and my city carriers are in another, 2 finance units---which means that for every report I do 2, every service/safety talk, I do 2, with separate finance units, I count 2 sets of stamp stock. I can only speak for myself, but my days are long, I have enough to keep me busy, and I earn every penny I get paid---I have been in management for the last 9 years, and do not get the bonus that you guys keep talking about. As a postmaster, I do not get COLA, but we get a performace increase that is based on how the office meets the goals, including sick leave, and my performance. I'm sure you are all away of how some employees abuse the sick leave, so, that eliminates a percetage of what I have to look forward too. With revenue in my office down, that eliminates more--there is also no contractual increases. You talk about micro-management---it does not stop at craft level, I believe that management is truly micro-management by upper management. I do agree that the need to trim the fat in the postal service, in management and in craft. I have quite a few members of my family that works for the postal service through out the country, in craft and management positions, and when we get together, we all seem to be on one page-- with the same complaints---the bottom line is that most postal employees take their jobs for granted---so, now we are discussing layoffs---some are needed both in management and craft.

15 yrs postal (not verified) | 01/01/09

I know you guys (postmasters) are overworked that dont have supervisors. I was an OIC once at a level 17 office so I was Postmaster and worked the window and sorted the letter flats and parcels and had 3 rural routes. But he majority of the supervisors and postmasters in my district do nothing.
In my office I am the stock custodian so I do my own counts and Im a clerk. Another clerk does the drawer counts for my office and the other offices we have. We have 1 postmaster 3 supervisors and a 204b and they are just glorified babysitters nothing else.

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/01/08

If you are an exempt employee, you do not get paid overtime (time and 1/2.) However, this does not mean you don't get paid for the hours you work. That is what a time badge is for. If you are working more than eight hours a day, you should be clocking out when you leave to get paid straight pay. You should not be on the workfloor if you are not on pay status. If you stay past your eight hours, you must clock out with you badge. If you don't, then don't complain because you should be clocking out when you leave. About the two carriers, if you cannot control them, ie. LOW's for performance. You should receive one for not performing your duties. Scan points are placed so you should know when they scan that scan point.

Anonymous (not verified) | 12/08/08

Perhaps you missed the first part of that post. This is a Postmaster in a small AO. Being an exempt EAS employee, they do not get paid more than their yearly salary. They are allowed to take comp time to make up for extra hours worked, but if there's no supervisor in that office, I imagine it's not easy to take a day off. Also, I believe the carriers in question are rural carriers and I'm not sure they are required to have scan points on their route. However, if this postmaster has caught the carriers in question deviating from their route, then a LOW for route deviation would be more than appropriate.

Anonymous (not verified) | 11/15/08

suck it up to many details are given to supervisors they supposedly cover other jobs bull fill the job eliminate these details also all higher management receive 20 to 30 thousand dollar bonuses they say we didn't get a raise well they give plant managers mdo's and supervisors 2 to 3 percent raises and reap their bonuses on their work! heck i would not take a 2 or 3 percent raise and take 20 to 30 thousand cash who wouldn't!also retirement all above peces level receive full medical benefits free they accumulate all sick and annual leave no cap! they can be moved in the continental U S 3 times in the first 5 years of retirement for free! the government pays for it! right now they are telling people they are going to excess people in different facilities especially in ny nj metro area the kicker is they have no where to put them!! meanwhile these fat cats are going nowhere! they want people to take early out packages!! a joke min retirement 55 and 30 years is 58 percent retirement if you have 25 years and age 50 they take 2 percent for each year you are under minimun in this case you lose 20 percent so now you get 38 percent! if you take spouse death benefit that's another 10 percent so you go with 28 percent!! they will not give incentives and they wonder why not many people are taking the early out!! meanwhile they are going nowhere and until the BONUSES STOP!! they will stay themselves!!if the post office is losing billions why pay bonuses!!

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