Mailhandler and Other USPS Separation Incentives

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The Postal Service has now announced separation incentives to the second group of employees in a month. Just as was the case with postmasters, the Postal Service is offering these incentives to all mail handlers including employees that would not be eligible to retire under either normal or voluntary early retirement conditions. However, the decision facing mail handlers is different as they have less information about what jobs will be available after August 31, 2012 than postmasters did when their early retirement announcement was made. Why is the Postal Service offering the Incentive to All Mail Handlers? The Postal Service’s separation incentive to Mail Handlers is broader than what might [...] Read more »

A Long Term Vision for the USPS

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Over the past week, the Postal Service announced significant changes in its business focus and management structure that could have significant impact on its ability to both serve customer needs and improve its financial position. The changes that the Postal Service is making suggests a vision for the Postal Service that goes beyond traditional postal services could include many non-traditional ways of meeting needs of its communication and parcel delivery customers. Competing Visions for the Future of the U.S. Postal Service The Postal Service’s vision for the future of a national postal operator in the United States is not the only one competing for attention. Congress has two distinct visions [...] Read more »

It’s Time for Postal Unions to Find New Owners for the USPS

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In a column in the April 29, 2012 Washington Post, Steven Pearlstein discusses how American Airline unions may have turned the tables on American Airline management’s plans to restructure the airline. American management’s plan focused on cutting costs, and in particular labor costs. Right now it appears that management is unlikely to implement their plan as American’s three largest unions have come to an agreement with US Airways that will involve fewer cost cuts and will focus instead on marketing synergies between the networks of US Airways and American Airlines in a way that will expand the merged airline’s ability to compete for business customers with United and Delta Airlines, [...] Read more »

Sony and the Postal Service

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For most of my lifetime, Sony was considered the premier inventor of electronic gadgets.  This is no longer the case and today Sony is just one of the pack company selling consumer electronic devices with little to distinguish what it offers from its competitors.  A story in Forbes about the downfall of Sony focuses on Sony’s shift from having an innovation focused management to an MBA and numbers driven management. The Forbes article on Sony suggests that Sony’s problems came when innovation was removed as the primary focus of management. Mr. [Howard] Stringer’s Industrial strategy was to be obsessive about costs.  Where Mr. [Akio] Morita’s meetings were 85% about innovation and market  [...] Read more »

Impact of USPS Consolidations on Employees

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Last week, the Postal Service provided employees significantly more information regarding the scale of the changes coming to its operations and for many employees whether the facility they now work at will remain open. While this information has provided employees with some indication as to what lies ahead, the details as to what will happen to individual employees remain sketchy. The following set of questions and answers provide information contained in the Postal Service’s “Our Future Network” website, presentations to Postal Unions, bulletins of Postal management associations and press reports from both national and local news sources. When Will the Postal Service Start to Make Changes? Based on information provided [...] 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’s Future Beyond 2013 Cloudy Due to Severe Capital Constraints

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Right now the Postal Stakeholders, the Obama administration and Congress are focused on the here and now. Mailers are railing against an above inflation rate increase in January of 2013. Union members are demonstrating, trying to stop cutbacks in service that mean rapid reductions in jobs. The Obama administration proposes legislation that gets the Postal Service through the next two years without impacting the Federal Budget. Congress has written legislation that prevents any impact on the budget in the near term with the minimal amount of changes that could raise constituent ire prior to the 2012 election. No one is thinking long term. Unless someone starts, it is unclear if [...] Read more »

Coming Changes in USPS Health Benefits

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Currently Postal Service employees are offered the same benefits that all other federal employees receive. While the employee’s share of premiums may differ, Postal employees, just like Federal employees, each year chose from a wide range of health benefit options, including plans offered by all four postal unions. This will soon change. For at least five months, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe has promoted moving the Postal Service out of the federal health benefit system. More recently, National Association of Letter Carrier President Frederic Rolando has stated that the NALC and the Postal Service are negotiating a new approach to health benefits. The approach has three components: adoption of best practices [...] Read more »

How the Business Model and Congress Failed the Postal Service

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Adam Hartung in Forbes magazine has an article that reaches the nub of the problem with the Postal Service and why the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) failed. Basically, PAEA did not give the Postal Service the tools to make the shift in its business strategy as the market for mail shifted. The Post Office didn’t really do anything wrong. The market shifted. The Post Office value proposition simply isn’t as valuable as it once was. So how does an enterprise deal with market shifts? It transforms itself or it dies. Two Rochester, NY based companies illustrate the alternative paths. Xerox, the creator of the office copier, realized that competition [...] Read more »

Negotiating Early Retirement Incentives

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If the Postal Service as expected is given funding to offer early retirement incentives for postal employees, the respective unions and management associations will want to ensure that ensure that the process is as fair and generous as possible.  There are some obvious concerns that the leadership should consider. When should the the separation date be? Eric Zurndorfer has written an article in My Federal Retirement that lays out the criteria for picking an optimal separation date. Basically he concludes the following:  Separation dates ideally should be the last day of a pay period. – This maximizes the lump sum annual leave payment. CSRS must retire by the 3rd day [...] Read more »