Postal Employment in the Federal Government

Occupations at the Postal Service represent four of the top 31 occupations in the Federal Government in May according to the Occupational Employment Statistics Program data released today.   These figures represent career, non-career, full-time, part time, casual, and temporary jobs at the Postal Service and may differ from figures that the Postal Service presents based upon differences in definition of occupations by the Postal Service and the Department of Labor. Largest Occupations in Federal Government, May 2009 Occupations Employment Percent ofFederalEmployment Mean wage Hourly Annual Postal service mail carriers     339,030        12.73   $23.53 $  48,940 Business operations specialists, all other    170,450          6.40     36.71     76,350 [...] Read more »

Putting the Subcommittee Vote in Context

Most postal stakeholders are please that the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, the PostalService and District of Columbia approved H.R. 5746, “the U.S. Postal Service CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010.”  However, anyone who listened to the arguments against the bill made by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would quickly see that this bill could quickly become part of the partisan fodder that infests nearly all legislation in Congress. Even though the Democratic majorities in the full committee make it likely that the bill could reach the House floor, there are potential landmines in the legislative process that could still derail its passage.  These include:  The limited number of days [...] Read more »

If UPS can do it why can’t the USPS

In its conference call discussing its 2nd Quarter 2010 results,  UPS explained that the growth in its profitability this quarter reflected the fact that while volumes grew slightly, both labor hours and miles driven were down.    The decline in the use of labor and transportation assets reflected a more streamlined network than what existed a year earlier. The streamlining put downward pressure on the total work hours of its Teamster employees. In addition to streamlining its network, the total complement and work hours of Teamster employees, UPS also made major strides in cutting layers of management by eliminating a significant portion of its district and regional management.   Elimination of middle [...] Read more »

Markup of USPS Retiree Benefits Bill

On July 21st at 1:30 pm, the House Federal Workforce, Postal Service and District of Columbia Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a mark-up of H.R. 5746, United States Postal Service’s CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010.   The subcommittee will mark up this bill at a meeting when it is marking up 4 other bills, three related to the District of Columbia and one related to supervisor training in small agencies.   Assuming the subcommittee passes the bill, the next steps are as follows: Mark-up and passage by the full committee Committee report written Referral to the Rules committee to set the rules for floor debate Debate [...] Read more »

Fixing the Retirement Liability Calculation

Congress has begun to move on the Postal Service’s retiree obligation issues.   The House Committee on Oversight and Oversight and Government Reform will mark-up H.R. 5746, The United States Postal Service’s CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010 on Wednesday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m. Given the limited number of legislative days involved, any action on retiree issues has to move at a pace far faster than what is common in Congress.  While passage in the house in an expedited fashion would appear possible, passage in the Senate in a timely fashion is less certain.   Senator Carper has indicated that he is preparing his own comprehensive reform bill which may go [...] Read more »

A 8-Point Plan to Save the Postal Service

The Blog Tongue in Cheek has produced an innovative 8-point plan to save the Postal Service.   All 8-steps are actions that individual citizens can take to improve the financial condition of  the USPS.  They are: Point 1 – We are applying for as many opportunities to receive junk mail as possible. To speed up the process we are also helping our neighbors get the picture by ordering junk mail for them as well. Point 2 – We play chess… via postcard. With an average game lasting 40 moves, and the price of a postcard stamp currently set at 28 cents, that’s $11.20 handed back into the very capable hands of [...] Read more »

Cutting Delivery One Day a Week

The Globe and Mail has reported that the Montreal Gazette is eliminating its Sunday paper.  This decision leaves the Montreal metropolitan area without a Sunday paper.  The Saturday paper, which already has the week-in-review and other features that are commonly found in Sunday papers in the United States will pick up those features that are now published on Sunday. The decision to end the Sunday paper also reflects a far different competitive market in Canada for the delivery of saturation advertising than is found in the United States.  In Canada, newspapers do not distribute nearly the number of inserts they do here.  Newspapers in Canada have not effectively competed with [...] Read more »

The Exigent Rate Case: Rethinking Price Regulation

Yesterday the Postal Service proposed a major change in its rate structure through an exigent rate case.   The general and postal press have focused on 1) the rate increases themselves with particular attention to the impact on First Class single piece mail; and 2) the exigent process itself, a rate setting process that is being used for the first time.  Mailers have organized a major effort to stop the changes through a new group the Affordable Mail Alliance.   With only 90 days to press their case mailers have a major challenge in their effort to argue that: the conditions necessary for invoking the exigent process had not been met;  the [...] Read more »

First Mover Advantage

My most recent post looked at the possibility that a private sector firm would decided to offer pick-up of items in automated lock boxes.   Looking over how these boxes are being used in Europe has identified what the real advantage could be: allowing Amazon and other internet retailers with multiple distribution centers to offer same day delivery. Amazon offers same day delivery in seven cities with orders placed in most cities before 10:30 am.   Barnes and Noble offers same day delivery in Manhattan.   The growth of this same-day market is limited by both demand and the cost of home/business delivery relative to the cost of the item sold. Same day [...] Read more »

Could the Postal Service Lose its Niche in Parcel Delivery?

The Postal Service’s parcel delivery business have a limited competitive advantage in serving customers that send three types of shipments. Items under 2 or 3 pounds shipped to households.  These customers either ship these items themselves or use a consolidator like FedEx Smart Post. Items shipped  to rural areas and in particular rural households. Infrequent shippers who find retail services offered by the Postal Service more convenient or lower in cost. The Postal Service serve these markets because they have a competitive advantage due to its ability to deliver light weight items cheaper over the last mile than FedEx or UPS could using its own contractors or employees and due [...] Read more »