USPS’ solvency plans eliminate overtime, may delay mail delivery

To bring the U.S. Postal Service back to financial solvency, the postmaster general is rolling out some big operational changes, according to recent news reports.

First off, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy plans to eliminate overtime, even if it means the mail is not delivered on time.

“The USPS will no longer use excessive cost to get the basic job done,” according to a PowerPoint presentation of DeJoy’s talking points at a meeting in Ohio posted by the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. “If the plants run late they will keep the mail for the next day. If you get mail late and your carriers are gone and you cannot get the mail out without OT, it will remain for the next day.”

When it comes to overtime generally, DeJoy’s plan is to eventually eliminate it. “Again, we are paying too much in OT and it is not cost effective and soon will be taken off the table.”

Additionally, use of scheduled days off will be decreased dramatically, according to the slides. “The [Post Office Operations Managers] and only the POOMs can authorize SDO. Any [postmaster] from this point on that uses and SDO on their own will have to answer for it. There is NO SDO USAGE WITHOUT THE POOMS APPROVAL… PERIOD. If you are one of the many leaders that assist me and feel I will not mind, you are wrong. 100% follow up will be taken for using and SDO without permission from me.”

Post Offices with customer service windows open more than eight hours must close for lunch to bring them back to eight-hour operations.

Also on the chopping block are detail assignments -- those that the USPS inspector general defines as “the temporary placement of a career employee in another established position that is vacant or from which the incumbent is absent.” Detail assignments are intended to be made for short periods to meet emergencies caused by an abnormal workload or unanticipated absences.

“Non approved details will be discontinued. This is all of them. We have people in sales, call centers and so on, they will all be terminated,” the slides said.

As to the consequences of fewer staff and curtailed service, DeJoy said, “If we cannot deliver all the mail due to calls offs or shortages of people and you have no other help, the mail will not go out and you will have to report this in the [customer service delivery reporting system].”

DeJoy was named postmaster general in May. He was previously in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte and is the first postmaster general in 20 years who has not come up through the agency’s ranks.

USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer provided EcommerceBytes with the following statement:

“The Postal Service is developing a business plan to ensure that we will be financially stable and able to continue to provide reliable, affordable, safe and secure delivery of mail, packages and other communications to all Americans as a vital part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. While the overall plan is not yet finalized, it will certainly include new and creative ways for us to fulfill our mission, and we will focus immediately on efficiency and items that we can control, including adherence to the effective operating plans that we have developed.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) reacted to a Washington Post’s report confirming the changes detailed in the slides. “Attacks on USPS not only threaten our economy and the jobs of 600,000 workers. With states now reliant on voting by mail to continue elections during the pandemic, the destabilizing of the post office is a direct attack on American democracy itself,” he said in a statement.

Reader comments

Mon, Sep 7, 2020 Anne

The USPS has been in financial trouble for, literally, YEARS. At the heart of it, a requirement for funding 75 years of its pension. No one anywhere does that. USPS makes bad contracts with commercial companies for prices that are less than cost. I sent a priority package out for 3-5 day delivery and it showed up over a month later, damaged. There are a myriad of times a postal worker left packages in a truck or threw them in a dumpster. With unions in place, getting rid of these people is way too hard. USPS has been under fire through the Obama administration and years beyond for financial problems. This isn't a Trump problem. This is something trump is trying to fix. This means looking at USPS' commercial contracts to see if they are reasonable in price and other contract requirements, changing the pension plan requirement, making employees accountable for their actions with better repercussions, and streamlining it to become efficient at what they are supposed to do. None of this is bad and people need to recall/research decades of USPS problems before making it political and all on Trump. That's just dumb.

Sat, Aug 29, 2020 Patrick New York

Here is the Big Picture. This is all privatization rape that has been going on/planned for decades. Were it not for the restructuring after the Strike it would all be in place today and not piecemeal posing as reform/profitability. In the present COVID crisis it was accelerated and Trump appointees(one already close to indictment)dominate ALL the appointee governance bodies. All this before DeJoy(with business interests in USPS competitors) came on board. My opinion is that Trump will accelerate(even if he loses reelection)the privatization of most brick and mortar assets and leave the public(including businesses!) to make a few richer billionaires, with higher postage/less service and the local letter carrier infrastructure that is inherently unprofitable because it is a universal service. For once, in the face buffoonery removes the mask but win/win chaos is still succeeding to distract the public just as the "Russia thing" keeps the inherently insecure electronic voting system and campaign financing disaster intact. The machines were being removed/deactivated before the brouhaha for some reasons not discussed like preparing for new "super" replacements that will consume most of the pleaded for dole out and decrease jobs. if these are the giants, they will likely reduce speed of service and time reliability for several practical real world reasons.

Wed, Aug 19, 2020 Stan Pennsylvania

As a Postal employee, it is amazing to watch the utter lies and misinformation being reported in the media. It truly stokes such misguided comments like the ones i read in this Reader's Comment section. And the political comments on both sides are out of touch and out of control. Mail-in ballots and absentee ballots will be delivered within the service standards paid for by the election committees of each state. Fist Class mail has a service standard and so does marketing mail. If States use a mail service provider that doesn't put first class postage on a ballot, and uses marketing mail instead, it is not going to get the same service standard as first class. that simple folks. Postal Inspectors will enforce all laws pertaining to mail handling internally with postal employees. If States follow the guidelines outline by the USPS, there is no reason, other than politics, to believe that mail-in ballots are subject to fraud. There, I said it, and I'm a conservative, thru and thru.

Tue, Aug 18, 2020

If you want a safer work environment, get rid of the repeat felons working at the postal service that are hidden from the public, who pay their salary with bailouts; especially, the criminals in management, who violated their oath of office. Since, repeat background checks are not done to save money and maintain the big boys club this will never happen,but it would help with the low morale and the useless Union representatives, who only care about themselves.

Tue, Aug 18, 2020

I know private drivers that work for private carriers for the Post Office. You may not be aware but most carriers between offices and facilities are private carriers that bid on their services competitively. These carriers were constantly asked to jump through hoops because mail was not ready for pickup when scheduled. They often came back for multiple pickups or even loaded their trucks for the postal employees who did not have the mail ready. They worked additional OT beyond contract because of this. Also many times mail was found on the floor or behind bins where it was dropped. Sure it was found but often late. Now the mail is ready on time. If not it is not picked up until the next day. Almost in all cases the system is now working better than it did before as the computer info is accurate and can be believed. This is exactly what a private carrier would do. Learn to perform and be held to standards. Anybody who doesn't think this is good is unfamiliar with how good computer scheduled systems really work. Our manufacturers would fail to compete if they handled their Material Resource Planning systems like the Post Office. Kudos to Dejoy. It is about time. Quit making everything political and let's start achieving continuous improvement to make sure our mail is delivered both accurately and cost effectively.

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