Excerpts from PMG John Potter letter regarding Pilot test on Five-Day Delivery:
From an operational standpoint a pilot test conducted on a regional basis would increase some of our costs in the short term. For example, we either would have to make manual changes to mail processing sorting schemes and payroll or utilize information technology to program such changes for a limited time or geographic area. We believe that our information technology programming changes, estimated to cost $10 million-$12 million for a national, full-time implementation, would grow significantly to accommodate a test, as would administrative costs if we decided to forego programming changes in favor of performing manual processing for the defined test period. We also would have to communicate the pilot’s parameters to the public and employees. During such a test we would be unable to make the permanent, necessary changes to our delivery workforce, transportation networks, and mail processing operations that would yield the projected $3.1 billion savings. The largest financial impact of a pilot would be the fact that many career employees in the pilot area would have to be paid not to work or be relocated, white many of our non-career and part-time employees would see their wages reduced or eliminated. Any savings in wages that the Postal Service would realize during the test would immediately disappear at the test’s conclusion.
It may be helpful for me to offer a distinct example of the internal challenges that a test would present. In City Letter Carrier operations, full -time, regular City Carriers generally are assigned to a single delivery route that they service five days per week. These Carriers are scheduled to have Sunday off as well as one other day of the week. A category of full-time Carriers, known as Carrier Technicians. also are scheduled to work five days per week; but instead of servicing the same route each day, they cover the day off- and the route–of five different carriers. The five-day delivery proposal anticipates the reduction of approximately 25,000 full-time City Carrier assignments and $2.2 billion in annual savings in City Carrier operations. The savings are generated primarily by the fact that under a five-day delivery model, regular Carriers assigned to a single route would have Saturday and Sunday off, eliminating the need for the Carrier Technician and Relief Carrier assignments. We plan to transition full-time Carrier Technician assignments into Carrier positions (that cover a single route) that become available through attrition (a significant percentage of our current workforce is eligible for retirement between now and 2014). Under a pilot test we would be unable to carry out this Carrier alignment, and during the test itself, we would have a surplus of Letter Carriers for whom we would have to find productive work within their craft, and if unsuccessful, pay them to perform no work because our contract with the National Association of Letter Carriers guarantees full-time, regular Carriers a 40-hour work week. Under our national proposal for five-day delivery we Intend to preserve the employment of our career City Carriers.