Postal Service Still Paying Thousands Of Workers To Do Nothing

idle work time united states post officePlenty of Americans would like to get paid to do nothing while at work, and it seems that workers for the U.S. Postal Service already enjoy that perk, although fewer of them are doing so.

The deliverer of the nation's mail paid $4.3 million for nearly 171,000 hours of standby time during the first six months of the year, The Washington Post reports, citing an audit released earlier this month by the Postal Service inspector general's office.

The amount is down substantially from 2009, when Postal Service employees racked up 1.2 million hours of standby time at a cost of $31 million.

What's more, the standby hours are a "mere fraction" of the millions of hours worked by postal workers each year, postal union officials tell the newspaper.

Postal workers have long been eligible for standby-time payments under the terms of their union contracts, but supervisors rarely used them until 2009, when mail volume began to plummet, the Post notes.

News of the payments comes at a time when the Postal Service is expected to lose about $9 billion this fiscal year and is planning thousands of layoffs and shuttering thousands of post offices.

In response to the audit, the Postal Service said it will begin cracking down on reporting of standby-time payments, beginning later next month.

But, as Jim Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letters Carriers union, tells the Post, idle time is inevitable.

"This is a network industry," Sauber says. "And workers sometimes have to wait for trucks that are stuck in traffic to arrive with deliveries."


Next: Post Office Closures Could Stamp Out Up To 5,000 Jobs



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madre

What's a "standby hour"? I bust my butt everyday, all the time (except sunday). I break a sweat on a regular basis. I barely take a lunch (which I clock out for). Everyone else at my station works hard, ALL the time. If you think you hate junk mail, imagine having to deliver every piece of it. The only thing that makes it OK is seeing how happy people are when they get their package or check. BTW, when the work is done, I clock out and go home. If this is about our measly little breaks, I'll explain. Most of mine consist of washing the black off my hands and getting a drink of water. While I'm doing that, I wipe the sweat off my face and neck. I can't speak for all the workers, but our little office works hard.

November 09 2012 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
majbjb

The USPS is just another in a long list of gov't agencies (Amtrack, Medicare, Medicaid, SS) that are "poster children" for bankrupt, corrupt and disfunctional organizations. And yet we are being asked to subsidize and keep them operating because "that's what gov't does". And the libs see nothing wrong with this and want to further increase the clueless gov't buearucracy by creating Obamacare and "gov't jobs programs". More money thrown into the bottomless cesspool of gov't corruption.

September 06 2011 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sgentilejr

Hello__Does anyone still have a FUNCTIONING brain??? Hello, Hello, Hello,
The deliverer of the nation's mail paid $4.3 million for nearly 171,000 hours of standby time during the first six months of the year,
The post office has 500,000 workers on the payrolls. 171,000 hours works out to less than 1/2 hour of standby time over a 6 month period. Which works out to about well under 1 minute per day per worker.
WITH 500,000 WORKERS ON THEIR PAYROLL IF EVERY WORKER SITS FOR ONE MINUTE PER DAY DOING NOTHING IT ADDS UP TO 500,000 MINUTES PER DAY OR 8,300 HOURS PER DAY. So in reality just 171,000 hours over a 6 month period in only a small part of 1 minute per day each.

September 01 2011 at 5:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maurice

Why is it there is always 1 behind the counter and 10-12 customers waitng in line whenever I goto the post office? Why dont they put them to work there?

September 01 2011 at 2:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
blazeslilbandit

Personally, I can't complain about USPS. I live in the north and these guys deliver my mail even on days when I wouldn't want to be on the road. If I have a choice, I have my packages sent with USPS. UPS takes over a week to get anything to me. I have nothing but respect for the USPS workers here. And no, I don't work for them.

September 01 2011 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
csmjwoody

How much are they spending for the Muslin 44 cent Forever Stanp to put on mail from Americans?

September 01 2011 at 2:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
watsonkbsj

Gee, and they are losing billions per year? What a shock?

September 01 2011 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pappoed

Here is yet another fiasco that can be traced back to our incompetent CONGRESS. The Postal Service has been losing billions for at least the past 3 years that I know of. They want to cuts costs by shutting down 'money-losing' Post Offices.....good idea! They want to cut their work force...good idea! They want to stop Saturday mail service...good idea! BUT.....Congress must approve before any changes can occur! Guess what Congress is doing........NOTHING! By the way; does anyone besides me think it is rather STUPID to spend millions on TV advertising for 'Flat Rate' Parcels when they are losing so much money?

September 01 2011 at 1:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Tye Edwards

I work for the Postal Service and this is propaganda. Managers enter the time as stand by time even though the employees are gainfully employed. They have been caught numerous times and have had to correct their accounting for these hours. Most processing plants are short staffed and can not hire to back fill for losses. Many of these people they claim to be on stand by could be offered a transfer to affected plants. That isn't happening management is just trying to spin the story to help them fleece congress into making unneccesary cuts. We do need some relief from the pre funding of retirees health care cost. The P.O. has overpaid by about 75 billion dollars. A correction in the funding terms to actual cost and a return of that money would put the P.O. in the black for over 20 years. They refuse to push congress because they know it will hurt their negotiations if they can't claim poverty.

September 01 2011 at 1:02 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Hi Den

Just wait unitil Obama care kicks in.

September 01 2011 at 12:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hi Den's comment
majbjb

Oh, don't worry!!! Obamacare will be soooo different from USPS, Medicare, Medicaid, SS, Amtrack, etc.... This is what the clueless libs want you to believe. Just another way to seperate people's money from their pocket and increase the bloated, inefficient and easily stolen from gov't coffers. And it's them and thier criminal freinds who will be doing the stealing.

September 06 2011 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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