CBO Report on S.1789 Could Kill Postal Reform in the Senate

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate on S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011, will most likely kill Senate action on postal reform.   The National Association of Postmasters – US (NAPUS) posted that S.1789 was bumped in the legislative queue until a date uncertain.    By bumping S.1789, the Senate leadership indicated that even though the Postal Service faces the prospect of shutdown this September, there is now enough opposition to the bill that protracted debate is not only possible, but likely. The “21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011” was bumped by the “Stock Act,” a bill to end insider trading by members of Congress. The [...] Read more »

Why Mail Matters: Political Attack ads Can be Tougher

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The Plum Line in the Washington Post provides another example how mail outshines broadcast media in political campaigns.   Mitt Romney’s campaign is currently running a mail campaign challenging Newt Gingrich’s emotional stability.  As Greg Sargent Points out: This the sort of attack that’s probably too hot for the Romney campaign to be directly associated with on the airwaves, which may explain why it’s being pushed via mail, which is relatively under the radar. An example of one of the tough attack ads is below. Pieces like this hit voters who don’t read the columns in the National Review and other news sources by establishment Republican pundits and columnists that have been attacking Newt Gingrich relentlessly since [...] Read more »

How the USPS is Using Its Flexibility Under the APWU Contract

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The most recent Postal Service Active Employee Statistical Sumary for pay period 26, FY 2012 has some early indication as to how the Postal Service is using its new flexibility under the APWU contract.  The statistics suggests that the Postal Service is adjusting to the new employment options slowly.  Here are the statistics APWU Clerks                       The statistics for clerks would indicate that the Postal Service has minimized its use of full-time employees as allowed under the contract.  (Full-time and non-traditional full-time total over 80% of clerks.)  However, if the figure includes some seasonal hiring of part-time flexible employees, it would seem that [...] Read more »

Chairman Issa Really Wants the Postal Service to Cut It’s Workforce by 225,000

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Yesterday’s post,  Chairman Darell Issa Says USPS is Committee’s Priority; USPS Should Cut 260,000 Employees, implied that the Chairman’s statement overstated the head count reduction that he felt is needed at the Postal Service.   At the time, I thought he was talking only of full-time employees and the number of full-time employees is less than the 660,000 he mentioned and, therefore, the job reduction would be less as the number of Postal Service full-time employees is less. A conversation with a member of the House Oversight and Govnerment Reform Committee majority staff clarified Chairman Issa’s comment.  The Chairman was actually talking about a reduction in total full-time and part-time head count [...] Read more »

Chairman Darell Issa Says USPS is Committee’s Priority; USPS Should Cut 260,000 Employees

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In a broadcast interview on CNBC’s Squawkbox, Chairman Darell Issa, Ranking Majority Member Elijah Cummings and Representative John Tierney discussed the need for reform legislation in the second session of the 112th Congress.   The headline that CNBC reported is Chairman Issa’s claim that the Postal Service has 260,000 too many employees, a claim that I am sure Chairman Issa would have to admit is based on an overstatement of the Postal Service’s current head count.  Even if you adjust the employee count reduction to reflect current head counts, Chairman Issa still suggests that the Postal Service needs to cut 174,000 employees. [A conversation with a member of the House Oversight and [...] Read more »

Six Day Delivery and H.R. 2309

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On Friday, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) announced that a majority of the House of Representatives signed on as sponsors of House Resolution 137 (H.R. 137) which expresses the House’s support for 6-day delivery.   The resolution states that the sense of the House of Representatives is that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its 6-day mail delivery service. As such, the resolution only expresses the sense of the House.  It does not have the power of law to prevent the Postal Service from implementing 5-day delivery.   Ensuring 6-day delivery will require that the House of Representatives approve an amendment to  H.R. 2309 that [...] Read more »

Postal Service Self Sufficiency, Financial Viability and the Business Model

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No stakeholders and few members of Congress argue that the United States should provide postal services through a mix of user fees and tax revenues in a manner that highway, air, and rail passenger transportation are provided. The Postal Service and its supporters point with pride that since the passage of the Postal Reorganization Act, the Postal Service has covered its costs through postage revenue. For many years, no one questioned whether the Postal Service could be self-sufficient or financially viable as long as revenue just covered costs over the long run. The Postal Service’s current financial crisis illustrates the failure of this lack of curiosity. The current postal reform [...] Read more »

Postal Services on Holidays

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The Martin Luther King Day Holiday is one of ten Federal holidays on which the Postal Service is closed, along with the rest of the Federal Government. However, most private sector businesses are open today,  just as they are on President’s Day, Columbus Day and Veterans’ Day. While the Postal Service is closed because Federal law requires that all federal entities be closed, its private sector competitors are open because they know that their customers demand service on all but the six most universally celebrated holidays. (i.e. Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day) In a tweet today, United Parcel Service highlighted this difference: U.S. [...] Read more »

Retirement Incentives at the USPS

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Mike Causey has a story in his column on Federal News Radio in which he discusses buyouts in a number of Federal Agencies, but not the Postal Service.  His story indicates that all other Federal agencies can offer incentives up to $25,000, while the Postal Service is limited to a $20,000 maximum incentive.   Earlier posts in this blog have used a $25,000 limit in calculating how many employees could get incentives if the Senate Postal Reform passed.   (See: “Senate Bill:  Indications of the Scale of Early Retirements Expected” and  ”Clarifying retirement incentives” The $20,000 limit would allow the Postal Service to pay incentives to 85,000 employees, instead of 68,000 as [...] Read more »

Who failed, Amazon or the USPS?

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Note:  A number of readers identified a serious error in the original version of this post.  The post has been modified to reflect a better understanding of why the Point of Sale System limited the products that the clerk offered to Mr. Jarvis. 1/12/2012 17:47 Jeff Jarvis, an influential social media evangelist and author of the Buzz Machine, had a problem. He bought a book from Amazon and wanted to return it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, when he went to the Postal Service, he was told his only option was Express Mail, the most expensive service the Postal Service offered. So what did he do? He took the parcel and [...] Read more »