Postal workers react to USPS long-term plan
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Mar 26, 2021
The Postal Service has been hammered with criticism especially hard over the past year, as over a decade of struggle over legislative mandates, technological changes and workforce cuts blew up under its new leader’s sharp—and politicized—slowdowns in mail delivery.
To recap, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy—a newcomer from the private sector and controversial donor to the last president—cut overtime hours and equipment, slashing on-time delivery to less than 50 percent in many areas, in an already beleaguered organization—amid massive complaints from consumers, voters and workers alike.
Service, if not labor relations, has inched back up a bit since. But the controversy rages on—and analysis and recriminations are ongoing. DeJoy meanwhile maintains his only motive was long-term savings, while many experts still see partisan motives.
However murky the argument over changes so far to staffing and equipment remains, now the Postal Service has moved the debate into a new phase, releasing a proposed 10-year plan for the future—with postal workers and their unions issuing their early responses. In brief, the reviews are a mixed bag.
The largest postal labor organization, the American Postal Workers Union, commented on March 23.
“There are elements of this plan the APWU will support and there elements of the plan we will oppose,” APWU said in a statement.
For example APWU said it supports management’s anticipated expansion of package delivery and related revenues. “We share management’s optimism in the Postal Service’s potential to grow new lines of business, capitalize on the booming package market.”
But APWU opposes other parts of the plan—including continued cuts in retail hours, staffing and facilities in some locales “[P]roposals that would slow the mail and reduce retail services—such as changing service standards, plant consolidations and reducing operating hours at post offices—will only have a negative effect on postal workers and the public,” the union said.
The National Association of Letter Carriers likewise offered mixed reviews of the plan. For example, the organization said it supported the new plan’s “credible growth strategy” and maintenance of 6- and 7-day per week delivery services, among other bullet points.
“We have obvious concerns with certain operational elements of the plan,” NALC said in an emailed statement to FedSoup. “[But] we look forward to engaging the Postal Service in productive discussions regarding any changes to ensure that our members’ contractual rights and career interests are protected and that we achieve timely and reliable service to the American people.”
NALC concerns appear to cover some of the same spots in the plan spotlighted by APWU. For now, NALC said it looked forward to engaging USPS leadership, to “ensure that our members’ contractual rights and career interests are protected and that we achieve timely and reliable service to the American people.”
For the public and consumers, the plan’s more welcome points might include its call for preserving Saturday delivery. But the more criticized spots are steeper rate increases and, in some areas, slower first-class mail delivery.