USPS’ solvency plans eliminate overtime, may delay mail delivery

At a meeting in Ohio, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy outlined his plans to bring the Postal Service back to solvency, including elimination of overtime -- even if it means the mail is not delivered on time.

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.

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