Thursday, January 29, 2009

PMG on the stage. What do you think of what he said?

Around here, we generally try to keep things on the light side. But yesterday, Postmaster General Jack Potter testified before a Senate subcommittee on the financial health of the Postal Service. Read it here. Watch it here.

He presented options for working our way through the current economic downturn. His biggest priority was to call for relief from the prepayment of retiree health benefits. The 2006 Postal Law makes us prepay future retiree health care costs. We are the only government agency that is required to fully fund all projected retiree health care costs.

A modified schedule of payments would allow the Postal Service to focus on current financial needs during this crisis. This change would neither increase the health benefit premiums paid by current or future Postal Service retirees, nor would it affect their benefits. And neither proposal would involve tax subsidies.

As an alternative, the PMG offered a 5 Day Delivery plan that could save roughly the same amount of money. It would be a temporary solution only during periods of low mail volume, possibly once or twice a month.

So, good readers of Your Postal Blog, what do you think of what he said?

Click here to comment.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

What would the USPS gain by doing this. How much money would we save versas how much would loose to the competitor.

Anonymous said...

I think this is crazy. The public wants six days a week delivery. I don't understand why the executives gave themselves a raise and then want to cut back on the work force pay. This is a very sad time.
With all the companies that have wasted funds and the government bailed them out why not help ferderal employees who don't waste money.

Anonymous said...

I think a 5 day week would be a very good idea. However, we should follow other companies by closing on Saturdays not mid-week.
Most official holidays occur on Monday and produce a tremendous amount of mail on Tuesday--what a mess we would have on Wednesday! In addition, most businesses are closed on Saturday so are not available for delivery anyway. Most individuals I have asked would not find this an incnvenience or if they did felt it would be minor.

Anonymous said...

I am a level 11 office Postmaster and I can't find anyone to work that two hours on Saturday. PMR don't get the respect tnat they deserve. If we could use a temp person from a larger office to fill in during the week I would not have to worry about Saturday's

Anonymous said...

I think eliminate a Saturday would have a major impact for business customers. They need the mail during the week to operate. By stopping Saturday delivery, we lose our competitive edge. Neither is ideal, but of the two, Saturday would be the easiest. I just hope they would still have some Saturday pick up for parcels that can not be delivered while residential customers are at work.

Anonymous said...

I am a level 13 Postmaster. If a 5 day delivery is what they want then I believe that the day to be eleminated should be Saturday.
Alot of businesses are closed and don't get delivery on Saturday any way. Another reason is the smaller Post Offices are only open for 2-4 hours on Saturday's and only have PO Box delivery, if they do away with Tuesday what do we do in these offices stay open 8 hours on Saturday so that us Postmasters get our 40 hours.

IdahoPM said...

My vote is for eliminating Saturday delivery to route deliveries only. We could still offer mail deliveries to Po Boxes, so people who want 6 day deliveries, could still have that option by renting a box. This would increase revenue, while cutting the cost of fuel. Carriers could then have the option of getting an early start Monday, since the mail would be sorted from Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Eliminating Saturday delivery would be alot better than eliminating Tuesday. It would still keep us in line with the competition. If we drop Tuesday delivery we are going to lose a lot of business to the competition. The corporate world will not support us if we aren't getting them mail on a weekday. We have to do something though, we can't continue to lose money at the rate we are and still expect to be in business.

Anonymous said...

Oh for pete's sake close already on Saturdays and let it roll. The customers in level 18 and above offices have the real concern, but just clerk that office for delivery only of express items and parcels. Play up the E postage out there to others who need to stop and shop or put out more Automated postal Centers everywhere like WallMart.

Anonymous said...

Very informative, realistic and to the point. He didn't ask for a money bail out like other industries have, he asked to have the handcuffs removed so we can show what we can really do.

Anonymous said...

Close Saturday. No Brainer. Put everyone on an insignificant detail back in their bid position, see what is vacant and consolidate or revert those positions. Stop paying out out of schedule perdiem, and travel. Take back the ridiculous bonus' at the top before freezing salaries. Get real. Central offices for rural delivery with a PTF to cover days off same as city delivery. Centralized cluster box for rural delivery. Cut mileage on these kind of routes. Wow so many ways to get there and still be productive and viable.

Anonymous said...

Close on Saturday. Save the money. People shop on Saturday not mail. Change is upon. Just do it. Oh yes I heard on Paul Harvey from the younger generation. Mail? Whats mail?

Anonymous said...

I believe they should be able too eliminate Saturdays and have carriers work four 10 hour days.

Anonymous said...

Another way to save big money is get everyone back into their bid positions. The money being spent on per diem and mileage and overnight stays is incredible. Only fill truly vacant positions. Use local people for vacant positions, not 50+ miles.

Anonymous said...

PMG makes sense in the fact that we need to reduce the amount we pre-pay into the retirees benifits program until we are on our feet again. I am a level 13 postmaster and have already heard several customers come in and say that they think this is just a ploy to get the cost of a stamp raised again un-nessesarily. I, of course, know this is not true and take the oportunity to tell each customer what we are facing as a company.We need to be very outspoken with the media in order to get the message out there .

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that the US postal Service is sincere about 5 day delivery,(especially a Tuesday!) I think it is an attempt to alarm our business partners into complaining in order to have more clout to pursuade Congress to lighten the financial obligations we are currently under. I certainly would agree that closing Saturday would save money, relief employees, fuel ect. With the drop in volume I think it would be a wise move.

Anonymous said...

Being open 6 days a week is the edge we have over our competitors. No Saturday delivery would mean additional OT on Monday and curtailed mail. No delivery during the week would decrease revenue we get from the businesses, they will find another source and why should they only use that source one day a week.

Anonymous said...

I think eliminating Saturday delivery except for Express mail and Del Con priority,is more effective than no delivery Tuesday. We have Monday Holidays where our customers would have to wait 5 days for mail. Also if marketing is not doing a good job of selling mail (presort and BBM) to businesses, then they may need to go to part commision and lower levels to motivate them to find new business in this slow period. There are still several untapped sources of revenue, but we must not just accept a recession or slow economy as a reason to not aggressively drum up business. We should model XeRox and get a think tank of postal life long employees who have a vested interest in making our business survive who LOVE the USPS and the quality being a postal employee adds to their life, they may collectively come up with better ideas for changes if involved from various levels then just business men at the top.

Anonymous said...

If we are closing Saturday delivery, customers have to pay more to get what they orders or go to competitions who can delivery for them on Saturdays. We should put people first, then money, then things.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh this is ridiculous!!!! Simple steps to saving money. Stop paying per diem's. There is absolutely NO need for Postmasters in smaller offices. Let the clerks run them. At the processing plants there is no need for 6 MDO's and 12 Supervisors on the graveyard shift. We do the SAME thing every single day. I think we know our jobs. Get rid of your Non essential work force.
Mail flow coordinators. Our supervisors have to be some of the most ridiculous ignorant people. We need help and sure maybe stopping delivery for Saturday or Tuesday may save some money but there are sure a heck of alot more places to save. The cuts need to start at the TOP. Come on Mr. Degree in Organizational Business look and listen to the EMPLOYEES.

Anonymous said...

I think we could do for now with out Saturday delivery. As a rural carrier union member, I just wonder if the PMG asking congress for permission to act on these cost saving issues, would over ride our union contract.

Anonymous said...

Congress needs to be persuaded to lighten the financial obligations that have been placed on the USPS...along the same lines SOMEONE needs to monitor USPS's spending and projects

Anonymous said...

I think that eliminating delivery on Sat. is a good idea. I believe though that we should still deliver mail to PO Boxes 6 days a week. Then people would still have an option of getting their mail 6 days a week and we would increase revenue with box rents. I think we also need to ask Congress to lift the mortorium on Post Office closings and let the post office decide on whether is viable for us to keep some of the small post offices open.

Anonymous said...

If the PO really wanted to save money they would stop leting DM's and POOM's bring their friends in from all over the country as OICs and pay out all the travel money and per-diem. There are plenty of qualified EAS employees in their districts that could do the job. I believe that Saturday delivery should be a thing of the past. The mail volume does not support the time and energy that it takes to process the mail.

Anonymous said...

If the USPS goes to 5-day delivery, we should eliminate Saturday street delivery while maintaining PO delivery. However, Saturday parcel delivery gives us the edge over UPS, especially during the holidays. The PMG mentioned that 5-day delivery would be temporary during low mail volume times, maybe 1-2 times a month. How would we keep the public abreast on that? I hope Congress takes a look at holding back on the pre-payment benefits instead. The post office is a international icon. I hope it doesn't go the way of Howdy-Doodie and drive-in theaters.

Anonymous said...

IdahoPM makes sense. Thank you for your wise suggestions.

grannybunny said...

The PMG's presentation was excellent. The threat of 5-day delivery should get Congress' attention, but probably will never come to pass; I don't believe the American public would stand for it. The real relief needed is the elimination of the requirement to pre-fund retiree health benefits. No other government agency is required to do so. If we do go to 5-day delivery, Saturday should be eliminated, except for P. O. box service, retail and mail processing.

Anonymous said...

Eliminate Saturday on a trial bases. However it's done small post offices will lose a days pay

Anonymous said...

Most specifically, I do not see how the 5-day delivery can be on a "temporary" basis as needed. We all know the incredible time and effort that will be needed to work with unions, etc, in order to make even the smallest change. Not easily or quickly done, nor lightly undertaken.

Anonymous said...

Times are difficult, I believe closing the service windows on saturday would help the financial picture. Full timers would still have their 40 hours. Mail could still be delivered into boxes on saturday.

Anonymous said...

I cannot disagree with some relief on the funding issue, but it has been offered. It just wasn't what the bosses wanted. I hope Congress doesn't see this alternative as a veiled threat to get our way. They will certainly see that not enough other ideas have been tried before jumping to this typically impulsive conclusion by management.

CHLOE said...

PLEASE, take a moment to listen to the employees. It is very simple. The U.S.P.S can save money by eliminating 1/2 of the Supervisors it currently employees. We (the clerk craft) (mailhandlers) do LITERALLY the same thing every single day. We know our jobs. In the smaller post offices there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED for Postmasters. Let the clerks handle the job. It is FRUSTRATING to observe all the Blogs and see that ONLY the Postal employee can identify the Problems and that is MANAGEMENT!!! The general Public has NO clue. Someone has to HEAR US. Why are we paying Managers to go on a detail 50+ miles away and then pay their mileage. Managers are only concerned about ONE thing. Productivity and Scores. Little does the PUBLIC know that when it comes down to 6:00 in the morning the only mail we care about is anything coming from and going to Denver. That is the TRUTH!!! The Media needs to realize all the Postal employees have the same UNIVERSAL complaint. We can cut cost very easily. They just do not want to hear it. Our Postal Motto.

"If it makes sense we dont do it" "If it aint broke, break it"

Postal Employees it is TIME "VOICE OF THE EMPLOYEE" MAKE IT COUNT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Let's see... The government is bailing out private businesses and banks, but doesn't give a crap about a government agency. So now with this wonderful "change" all of the unions and associations voted for, we are marching right through socialism and into being a third-world nation. You all wanted change. You got it.

Delivery should not be cut.

Expenses could be cut hundreds of other ways. If the company is in such a financial crisis, why are there still NPA increases? Some folks are getting upwards of 10% increases (or more). Why are there still people on details? Why does the company still pay to relocate managers instead of promoting locally? Why are there still so many light duty employees? Why do we still waste money on videos, service reviews, meetings, banquets and silly safety training? Why are there places with three money-losing post offices within 5 miles of each other? Why why why...? The list goes on and on.

We stop delivering on Saturdays and our competition will pick up the business. Then THEY can claim service is their premier product, unlike the irrelevant, antique postal service

Anonymous said...

Stop delivery on saturday when most customers are closed and more continue to close to save costs. The APC in the lobbys will still serve the customer 24/7.
If the craft and unions are concerned about saving costs and jobs they shoud work 8 hours for 8 hours of pay and not continue working 5 hours of work in 8 hours (or more) because they think they are entiteled. It's sad when a TE works 6 hours and delivers twice what a regular carrier delivers, and they would be the first to go. It shows who really wants a job!

Anonymous said...

there will not be a big difference closing one extra day to cut cost custormers use the postal service every day its those annual award money they have to do away with that they give postmaster for cuting hours to people that really need even a income and are just plain greedy

Anonymous said...

I agree with so many comments previously made that there are areas that could be cut back on and not cut service to 5 days a week starting at the top but what I see is the fact that postmasters are paid certain salaries but there is no accountability as to how many actual hours they put in. I see this being abused big time and while they "watch" all our hours especially during Christmas overtime, where is the accountability that postmasters are actually in their offices working. Most keep banker's hours.

Anonymous said...

How can some of your suggestions be taken seriously? Centralized cluster boxes for rural delivery. Why do you think it's called rural delivery?

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read the comments and hear that it is still all about "me". The times they are a changing and we need to change with them or we will go the way of the typewriter. None of us is "entitled" to anything. We are all employees and if there isn't work there will be no paychecks. I believe that the time has come to look at 5 day delivery. Most of the businesses in my community do not want their mail delivered on Saturday. Customers want us to survive and if that means no delivery on Saturday, they are fine with that. We can't continue doing the same thing and getting the same result of lower volumes, higher gas prices etc. The one comment regarding NPA, that it should be taken away. If NPA goes away then give back the COLA to these employees and everyone should be happy.

Anonymous said...

The PMG makes some good points. What we really need to do is be allowed to operate like any other business and if cutting service one day is what any other business would do than we need to do that too.

Anonymous said...

We'd be playing right into the hands of Fedex and UPS if we discontinued Tuesday delivery.

Anonymous said...

I realy don't think our customers would mind if they don't get mail on Sat. How many people even check there mail every day.

mattifcam said...

YES CLOSE THE POST OFFICE ON SATURDAYS. SO MANY PEOPLE PUT THEIR MAIL ON HOLD OVER WEEKENDS ANYWAY. AND THE WINDOWS ARE OPENED ONLY FOR SHORT TIMES. THEY CAN USE THE APCS ON SATURDAYS. THE MAIL VOLUME HAS TO BE LIGHTER ON SATUDAY, DUE TO THE AMOUNT OF CLOSED BUSINESSES. AND EMPLOYEES WOULD HAVE WEEKENDS OFF, AND BE MORE RESTED AND READY FOR MONDAYS.

Postmaster Kincaid said...

Eliminate Saturday deliveries to the city, and rural routes. The P O Box service is a good idea for saturday. Eliminate some of these LOGS and let us just do are jobs.

Anonymous said...

To have a Tuesday non-delivery is not an intelligent choice. Stations are already off on Sunday so to split the days off would be rough on all employees as well as the hassle the plant would have in providing DPS where they hold over for two different days. If your going to delete a day make it Saturday or Monday.

Anonymous said...

Half the rural boxes delivered to on Saturday still have Friday's mail inside them, probably 30 percent of the city mailboxes on Monday still have Saturday's mail in them. Tell me again how important we are??? Obviously our organization has an inflated view of our importance to the customer. It makes sense to align our delivery pattern with (a) the rest of the real world and (b)the falling mail volume. 17% of our fuel costs and labor costs disappear by ending six day a week delivery. There was a time in our past that mail was delivered twice a day, there was a time before that in which EVERYONE had to go to the post office to pick up their mail. That we even deliver to houses at all represents a change to what came before! What about huge box sections offering free delivery to the customers, taking away virtually ALL home delivery of the mail? Roll with the changes folks, what's over the next hill? Who knows?

Anonymous said...

A five day workweek would mean many PMRs would only work when the Postmaster is on annual leave. It is already difficult to get and keep a PMR. This would make it impossible. If a PMR goes for long periods without working how is the PMR expected to stay current?

Anonymous said...

If Saturday delivery was eliminated, I believe a large number of small offices would lose their PMR. It's hard enough to keep one now, if the only hours they got were for leave and illness, they would not stay, or be aware of the constant changes that occur. That goes for TRCs and RCAs, too. There would have to be an adjustment during the week in the number of hours the PM worked, or the carriers worked, to keep from starving out the subs. (Good luck with that one) The employees that would quit are the lowest paid, usually non-career, and the ones you really need to show up when the regular is unable to.
Also if mail is still processed on Saturday, but delivery is suspended, every Monday will be like the day after a holiday. Future holidays be a nightmare. A lot of things seem like no-brainers at first. I think we will lose Saturday eventually, just get some input from the employees on the reality of how it will affect their office before cutting us off and dealing with the problems later.

Anonymous said...

I am a level 11 Postmaster and I am the clerk, cleaner and everything else. I know of no Postmaster that puts in less than 40hours. Most Postmasters put in a lot more without pay. I think 5 day delivery of Business routes is only common sense. I also agree with using local people to fill vacancies and cutting the per diem and mileage..thats a big waste of thousands and thousands of dollars.

Anonymous said...

Over the years our sales people have won business because of having 6-day a week delivery. To go down to 5-day a week delivery would hurt our business opportunities. Now more than ever we need to focus on gaining new business and the 6-day a week delivery is one of our strongest selling points. There are many small businesses struggling right now and we need to provide them all the information and postal access that we can. They will eventually become multi-mllion dollar companies who can say the Postal Service was there for them when they were just starting out.

Anonymous said...

To save money, the company could do away with plant management postions, district customer service and sales and freeze management salaries along with suspending its match for its employee TSP plans.

Anonymous said...

Drop Saturday delivery. We as small office Postmasters, even those of us that are non-exempt, donate many hours of work w/o pay.
Leave retail window service but drop Saturday delivery.

Anonymous said...

I believe we must also look at top Managment people as greedy just like all the others who took bailout money and thought nothing of the people on the bottom who actually do the work. Cut out all the bonuses, 10% raises, pre deim, mileage for what purpose if we are hurting. Stop paying yourself big bucks and work with the rest of the work force. We all need jobs to survive this so isn't it time for "Change". Stop the greed at top and work it out cause most managment people don't even stay at the office for 8hrs a day but yet talk about the craft people like we are "dogs" or someting of that nature. Stop making all these programs with the same information on them, what a waste the all say the same thing just in a different format "who's big ideal was that" reports reports that just repeat themselves over and over again time after time. But if we must go to five days then Saturday should be the day for closer of all craft. Save the whole day, we have 24hr offices to support saturday so lets put them to use.

Anonymous said...

We are a business. We need to make good business decisions at all levels. We do not need unions. We need dedicated, talented employees who take ownership in their company every single day. We do need the handcuffs removed at all levels to be the best company in the world. It is an exciting time for the USPS to evolve and restructure itself to make a great place to work and serve our communities and our country and our world. We can do it, but not structured as we are presently.

Anonymous said...

I think this was a wake up call for all those people that take the USPS for granted. I hope we never have to resort to a 5 day week, but to keep this organization viable, I say go for it.

Anonymous said...

It was my understanding that they will only be looking at 5 day DELIVERY. It seemed to me that the retail part of the postal service would continue 6 days. Maybe I am wrong about that. Regardless, I think the 6 day delivery is one of the great things that sets us apart from the competition. I agree with doing more training by computer, using local, competent indivduals for OIC, and thereby lowering the high cost of per diem and travel reimbursements.

Anonymous said...

The PMG should stop making us run Walk sequence mail on the machines. We give a huge discount to the mailers for this and run it anyway. It is not saving us any time and is costing us a fortune.
HQ managers should stop with the micro managing or roll up their sleeves and do some work.

Anonymous said...

I think that closing on Saturdays makes alot of since. Another Idea is all 800,000 of us POSTAL EMPLOYEES take a DOLLAR an hour pay cut. you do the math 40 hrs a week 4 weeks a month 12 months a year X 800,000 = $1,536,000,000.00 a year. In the end how many of us would really miss that dollar for the greater good? Not me. Quit whinning. We ALL loose our jobs or we get weekends off. Its a no brainer.

Anonymous said...

If no delivery on Saturday , Can save money, do it. We are all cutting back in our every day lives We all need to sacrifice,if we are going to get through this crisis. ...








,

Anonymous said...

Several years ago when Marvin Runyon was the PMG, he believed that anyone who did not directly handle the mail and affect it's delivery was basically non essential. If this were still the attitude within the Post Service, and we "trimmed the fat" from the top we may not be in such poor financial shape. There are too many decisions being made by people who no longer have a hands on knowledge of what's really going on on the front lines. These policies are made and agreed upon (Sarbane Oxley (spelling?to name one) without consulting people who actually have to reach these goals, when, they may not be achievable within the time frames mandated. Let's get back to the grass roots of the Postal Service and do what we do best, deliver the mail. (six days a week)

Denise Pennington said...

The post office should keep Saturday delivery to keep one up on our competition against FED-EX since they don't deliver on the weekend. This will really increase our Express Mail and keep the people happy. Also, it would be good to not deliver on Tuesday because of the Monday holidays. That way the T-6 carriers could come in and case all the mail that's worked at the plants.

Anonymous said...

It's a great idea to take a pay cut for ALL employees. We benefit from a wage greater than many of our neighbors. The problem is less than half would be willing to do it. I have come across people in the Postal Service who would sooner let another employee lose their job than lose even a penny of their pay. Also,the unions would certainly have an issue with it. It is a great thought that we could all come together as an organization and collectively help out the Postal Service. It just doesn't seem feasible.

Anonymous said...

No Saturday delivery should be the First option,and cutting other cost, if USPS wants to slow down the funding for our retirement now what makes them think they can pick it back up in the future?? We all need to stop and think, this is a Gov. agency and when they get there hands on money what do they do with it, they spend it. Look at our SS it has been spent by the Gov not YOU, and it wasn't for them IT WAS FOR YOUR RETIREMENT. So do you want them spending your retirement or do you want to spend it????

Anonymous said...

Definately, go to five days, cut Saturday delivery out. This will save fuel and cut postal costs, not to mention what it will do to eliminate the emissions put out by not driving postal vehicles on Saturdays.

Anonymous said...

Why would we consider non delivery on Tuesdays? With all the Federal Holidays we have on Mondays we would have 3 days of mail waiting on Wednesdays! Not good. If you think about it for one minute, Saturdays are the best bet, cause not all businesses are open anyway and the public is so busy on weekends they wouldn't even miss it.

Anonymous said...

My goodness there sure seems to be alot of clerks voting to ax the Postmaster jobs in smaller PO's but where are these "clerks" when these jobs are open for bid? Our jobs involve "responsibility" when things go wrong, and yes we shoulder the blame everytime, so clerks don't dis our job until you've done it, you should be ashmed of yourselves. This blog is to address possible 5 day delivery, not bash fellow employees, with that said I believe Saturdays could be eliminated, not all busninesses are open and the public is too busy on weekends to even miss their mail.

Anonymous said...

To stop delivery on Tuesday would be a disaster. We would loose 1/5 of package revenue.

Stopping delivery on Saturday would be a great cost savings, and would reduce scheduling problems, sick leave abuse, and rural hiring issues.

Anonymous said...

for those who want to use clerks instead of Postmasters in small offices, you might be interested to know that a level 11 Postmaster at the top of the pay scale makes less than a window clerk at the top of the pay scale. A level 13 and window clerk make approximately the same salary. The clerk has a grievance procedure. A Postmaster does not. A clerk gets a COLA a Postmaster does not.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of the prefunding requirement for retiree health benefits would give us the breathing room we need to implement additional cost saving measures that would not require cutting a day off our delivery week. This amounts to a stamp tax and always has since its implementation and places our bottom line in the red.

Anonymous said...

Five day a week delivery should be a last resort; it would cost us customers and hurt our image-we go everywhere, everyday. I always felt requiring the USPS to pay nearly 10% of our revenue each year over a 10 year period toward retiree health benefits was not fair or realistic. It should be repealed. The postal employees I have worked with are very hard working and care about their customers and the postal service. The idea of giving up $ 1.00/ hr pay is excellent; I would change that to a percentage to make it more fair. We could help substain the USPS and gain customer goodwill. Of course, it would have to voluntary; you can sign me up. The USPS has been very good to me and is a tremendous asset to our country.