Postal Service Considers Cutting 120,000 Jobs

Postal ServiceBy Randolph E. Schmid

WASHINGTON -- The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is considering cutting as many as 120,000 jobs.

Facing a second year of losses totaling $8 billion or more, the agency also wants to pull its workers out of the retirement and health benefits plans covering federal workers and set up its own benefit systems.

Congressional approval would be needed for either step, and both could be expected to face severe opposition from postal unions which have contracts that ban layoffs.

The post office has cut 110,000 jobs over the last four years and is currently engaged in eliminating 7,500 administrative staff. In its 2010 annual report, the agency said it had 583,908 career employees.

The loss of mail to the Internet and the decline in advertising caused by the recession have rocked the agency.

Postal officials have said that they will be unable to make a $5.5 billion payment to cover future employee health care costs due Sept. 30. It is the only federal agency required to make such a payment but, because of the complex way government finances are counted, eliminating it would make the federal budget deficit appear $5.5 billion larger.

If Congress doesn't act and current losses continue, the post office will be unable to make that payment at the end of September because it will have reached its borrowing limit and simply won't have the cash to do so, the agency said earlier.

In that event, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said, "Our intent is to continue to deliver the mail, pay our employees and pay our suppliers."

Postal officials have sought congressional assistance repeatedly over the last few years, including requests to be allowed to end Saturday mail delivery, and several bills have been proposed, but none has been acted on.

In addition, the post office recently said that it is considering closing 3,653 post offices, stations and other facilities, about a tenth of its offices around the country, in an effort to save money. Offices under consideration for closing are largely rural with little traffic.

And in June the post office suspended contributions to its employees' pension fund, which it said was overfunded.

In its 2010 annual report the post office reported a loss of more than $8 billion on revenues of $67 billion and expenses of $75 billion.

And even while total mail volume fell from 202 billion items to 170 billion from 2008 to 2010 the number of places that the agency has to deliver mail increased by 1.7 million as Americans built new homes, offices and businesses.

The latest cutback plans were first reported by The Washington Post, which said a notice to employees informing them of its proposals stated: "Financial crisis calls for significant actions, we will be insolvent next month due to significant declines in mail volume and retiree health benefit prefunding costs imposed by Congress."

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Chazcliff1, you are incorrect in saying that cutting delivery service to every other day would result in reducing the USPS work force in half. You have to remember that the mailing public, business and residential customers are mailing everyday. The collection and induction of mail to the USPS continues, transportation continues daily and mail processing would need to continue dailt in order for mail volumes to reach the delivering offices. Too, while mail volumes are low, delivery routes are evaluated so 8 hour delivery days and because there would be no delivery one day, there would be twice as much the next delivery day. That can equate to over time costs.

August 14 2011 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

why when i assert that we could do just as well with every other day service with half the workforce, why does everyone ignore me? am i right? why would we waste all those billions delivering every day when every other day is just as good?

August 12 2011 at 11:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chazcliff1's comment

because small busness would like to rec. payments

August 13 2011 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Given the crap @@# service I think they should reconsider SERVING the American public. It feels like I am paying to take crap from Postal workers when ever I go to the Post Office.

August 12 2011 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Please folks, go to the near bottom of these posts and READ MINE? There is alot of bad information being tossed out by posters like its the truth. MOST is of it is construed and wrong assumptions, incomplete information and downright lies, not to mention simple backbiting, whining by obvious uneducated illiterates and people who just feel the need espouse hateful commentary. Even those who currently work or have worked as non management employees within the USPS have made personal comments based on their part of the world within the USPS and don't understand the larger picture. As a former Manager, I always tried to make sure they were given as much information as possible to explain the why, how, when, where of changes coming onboard and impact to both the employee and the USPS as a whole. But almost every USPS employee or recent retiree will agree that the USPS is a hostile working atmosphere from the top, down. Please continue to read and support my posts.

August 12 2011 at 9:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Mailman 778 the coward likes to hide behind his computer screen and hurl rude insults. Big mistake.

August 12 2011 at 9:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

USPS pension overpayment is a myth.

August 12 2011 at 9:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The USPS congressional pennsion overpayment is a myth. The union clings to this myth in order to hide the true nature of their failing business model.

August 12 2011 at 9:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Most mail these days is junk mail. It often goes right into the trash or recycle bin. A money loosing organization that exists mainly to move trash mail and keep people employed with above average wages...I DON"T GET IT.

August 12 2011 at 8:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I am insulted by some of the comments people have made. Ive been a USPS employee for 3 and a 1/2 years and their are alot of educated people that work in post office's. The new people who have been hired to work for the postal service are the ones taking the hit. I pay 500 dollars a year to be in the union and they wound not do anything for me if i had a problem. I DO NOT get health insurance or retirement and dont even have an option for it. They cant even tell me if i will ever become full time ever. I definately have seen things that need to change. Alot of the problems we are having are due to being understaffed and over worked. They are paying alot of overtime due to cutting routes up and add them on to the other carriers routes. Then we call and tell the supervisor that we are going to be late and get yelled at half the time. I dont know what the best solution is but something needs to happen. I can honestly say their are alot of people who do their best to make peoples experiance a good one. The postal service is a corner stone of our nation.

August 12 2011 at 8:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MIKE L.'s comment

Cornerstone or not, most of the mail these days is junk that VERY FEW people want or need. It most often goes right into the trash or recycle bin. How is moving all that junk mail so important???

August 12 2011 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I was a union member for 31 years and feel I earned my pay and benefits , twice in those years our contract expired and we did not ask for anything because the money was not there and if we got a raise the less senior members would face layoffs , the Idea of Unions is to protect their members and we did .

August 12 2011 at 8:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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