Monday, November 29, 2010

$8.5 billion loss -- but there's more to the story

Last week, the Postal Service announced that the year-end loss was, gulp, $8.5 billion.

But there's more to the story:

If we didn't to have to pay $5.5 billion to prefund Retiree Health Benefits and we were not impacted by changing interest rates for Worker's Compensation, our controllable, operating loss would have been only $500 million.

That puts things in perspective, don't you think?

The Wisconsin State Journal wrote a story on the loss and said this:

"It's time for Congress to get serious about stabilizing the service — without jacking up the price of stamps yet again.

        "Congress should:
• Let the Postal Service reduce payments of retirees' health insurance premiums.
• Grant the Postal Service authority to reduce delivery from six days a week to five.
• Let the Postal Service close more of its offices and outlets.
• Lift the Postal Service monopoly on letters and mailbox deliveries to allow competition.
• Allow the service to develop more competitive products."

So, what do you think? Comment here.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is an office that services only 25 POB customers, so I can see where we need to close some offices. Problem is, once that cat is out of the bag...closing could be rampent.

Before they go to 5 day delivery, I would like to see some test sites (6 months at least) to see actual savings versus crunched numbers. These sites would operate as normal without the big hammer making them show "good" numbers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, PMG Potter took home a $237,000 bonus this year. His total salary and benefits hit nearly a million. Several contracted employees have contractual bonuses of at least 25% of their pay. So, there is still a lot of work to do in HQ.

As far as cometitive products, I would like the USPS to allow the smaller offices to offer packaging services (like USPS) and other services the office could offer.

PostMuse said...

I am not a postal employee. My heart goes out to those who are because I am a HUGE fan of USPS. I know times are tough, and I know that the USPS staff has a mostly thankless job, but I do want to see the business thrive because I rely on it for my daily joy. I send, and receive, about 50 pieces of mail a week. I am atypical, I know, but there are LOTS of mail enthusiasts out there, and the Internet has made it so much easier to send mail. I want the USPS to do whatever it takes to streamline operations, even if it means no Saturday delivery, less post offices, or even an increase in domestic postage (not international though ... that is already so expensive). It is time for change and I think the people at the USPS can make the world sit up and notice that mail is something we NEED and need to support and use. Think about the last time you got a piece of mail in your mailbox that wasn't a bill or advertisement. It was probably something that brought a smile. I want to see MORE mail smiles!

Anonymous said...

The Wisconsin paper is wrong. Do you want eveyone to just deliver your letters. Right now it is a federal offense to steal letters from the Postal Service. If just anyone could deliver them there is no federal offense. The only thing that could happen is the person delivering your letters could get fired. Nothing worse. Also if everyone had access to your mail box the Postal Service could put a check in there and the next person who delivers mail to you could take it out. If you needed seperate mail boxes for each deliver person you could end up with having to have 10 or more mail boxes. On the closing of the smaller post offices would not save much money. The Postal Service needs to cut upper management. They have not done as much of a percentage as what the cutbacks have been for the people that handle the mail. They used to have over 700,000 people that worked for them. They are now below 600,000, but not many management people have been let go. There were a reduction of 100 post offices in one state and still the level of upper management has stayed the same. Get rid of the people that do not handle the mail. I am retired from being a Postmaster. I and my employees suggested many things and all we ever heard was they already were doing it. Ha Ha. That was said so the upper management people could take the ideas and get a big bonus for it. I know of one that got 10,000.00 for an idea and it wasn't even his idea. There are too many chiefs and not enough indians. From 6 to 5 days would work, but it won't save as much money as the think as Mondays will take longer to deliver the mail from 2 days than 1. Oh well the upper management will do what ever they can to save their jobs and make everyone below them look bad and cut more jobs where they are really needed.

Joan said...

I agree with all but two issues. Do not take away the USPS exclusivity of the mail box. It would destroy the USPS ability to be the house to house delivery vehicle. 2) Do not allow indescriminate closure of PO's. If the office can be better serviced by NDBCU's or a rural route great. But we must take into account that most of our rural areas still regard the USPS as the gathering of the town. PO's mean something to everyone. My point is be careful of the offices you close just because it makes Fiscal Sense!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous posters on several points. Management needs to take a long hard look at all positions, from HQ down, that do not handle the mail or directly serve customers. These positions are more highly paid than the clerk, mailhandler, carrier, and postmaster positions that have already been cut. Also, closing the small, one-man post offices will not save as much money as has been suggested. Cutting Saturday delivery would just be shooting ourselves in the foot. We'd be paying the carriers OT on Monday to deliver the mail we didn't let them do on Saturday. No savings there.

I would like to see more services added in order to keep us viable and relevant in the eyes of the public, rather than cutting services and having people feel that we are no longer necessary.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Joan's comments. Keep the mailboxes for security of the mail and did you know that closing the small offices would save much less than 1% of the costs that USPS has. That's not enough of a savings to take away the service that is sometimes the only connection that some have in their communitties.

Anonymous said...

Do we truly want to "open up" to other companies, the ability to come in contact with our mail which contains our personal information; why not just give up your personal information to just anyone for ID theft? We'll lose track of which company is handling the mail and where do we go when/if the mail piece is not delivered??

The USPS has been in the business of mail delivery with, considering the amount of mail being processed daily, is above average. Even now with electronic capabilities; don't those who pay be "computer" worry about hackers who can get into the computers and gain access to everything you owe/own?

Yes, by all means, LOWER the pay of those up there in power! I think they make as much as the President of the USA! Continue assisting the postal employees retirement; as they gave over half their lives for the USPS!!!

Anonymous said...

No question about it, scrape the frosting off the cake (upper management) and leave the folks that handle the mail and deal with he public alone. Closing small, rural Post Offices is wrong on many counts. Not only will it save less than 1% of the USPS budget, but we will lost loyal customers. My PO is 60 miles from the nearest mid-sized town and, if they succeed in closing this office, my customers will ship UPS.
I can't express the anger and sadness I feel at the thought of this community losing their PO, the only link many of them have with government and the outside world.

Anonymous said...

Stop prefunding retirment benefits? I don't think so! This is our retirement benefits people. What is to stop them from saying, "We have run out of money to pay your retirement benefits, sorry?" We should avoid this solution.

Anonymous said...

I say...simply stop paying in. The benefits will not be cut off as long as the employee pays their portion. The federal government would be on the hook and look to us for pay up. When we don't they can take us to court...then let the judge see the OIG report on over funding and let the court make the ruling.

Megan said...

I live in a small town that has started to grow again, so many of the new customers were surprised but very thankful that we still had our Post Office. As far as retirement goes if one can't save up money on their own then they will have to end up working about half of their retirement anyways because of our now extremely long life spans and the downward spiral of the economy. A 5 day work week would put me down to working maybe 5 days a month at the most and none at the least, whereas right now I have minimum 4 days a month.
I don't think a single Post Office should ever be closed unless the town in which it resides becomes a ghost town.