Who’s More Concerned About the Future Of USPS?

Who’s More Concerned?

I recently attended a District Labor-Management meeting with a very interesting agenda: Locals, for the most part, were concerned with what were traditionally considered managerial concerns, not labor issues. All of their complaints were legitimate and reflect a deep concern about our industry’s viability, which makes one wonder: Who’s more concerned about the future of the Postal Service?

One local discussed how the USPS is being ripped off by customers using the “Click and Ship” program: A customer can intentionally undervalue the weight and corresponding cost of mailing a product using Automated Postal Centers (APCs) or large collection boxes. If a postal employee isn’t required to check postage before bringing it to the mail processing area, the USPS loses a great deal of money. The local union representative described specific examples of radical revenue loss because the Postal Service failed to establish a check-and- balance system.

Another local union complained about the long wait in lines due to management’s poor scheduling of window clerks, leading to customer frustration. They outlined a better plan for staffing the windows.

Still another local discussed containers of standard mail that should have been sorted to carrier route at the Processing & Distribution Center, but instead was received in the office as a five-digit sortation. The mail was clearly marked showing a delivery date the same day it arrived in the office. Regardless, the manager ordered employees to ship the containers back to the plant for sortation to the carrier route.

The containers of mail — now sorted to the carrier routes — arrived back in the office two days later and missed the deadline for delivery. The local insisted that the clerical staff in the office could have manually sorted the mail with a little overtime and met the deadline for delivery for the customer. Another local discussed a recent article written by a major mailer that appeared in a local newspaper. The mailer explained that the company was no longer going to use the Postal Service; instead, the firm announced it would put mail in plastic bags and throw it into people’s driveways, because the company could not rely on the USPS to provide timely delivery.

All of the locals’ concerns were well-founded and make it clear that the Postal Service needs much better managerial oversight. The loss of customers, the decline in revenue, and inappropriate discounts to major mailers add up to a recipe for disaster. Management must immediately re-evaluate its system from top to bottom in order to ensure that our industry can get back on sound financial footing.

Bill Sullivan, Former APWU Southern Region Coordinator

4 thoughts on “Who’s More Concerned About the Future Of USPS?

  1. In the article dated Nov.14 2010 it signed by Bil Sullivan. For the record I am the former Regional Coordinator and I never wrote that article or authorized anyone to write it for me. Therefore I would like you to write a retraction for this and any other article that bears my name

  2. I suspect at the highest levels, USPS managers know they will make more money w/ less accountability if the USPS is privatized. Look for Potter to be a well paid lobbyist or consultant within two years of his retirement. The “goals” of the USPS have turned into chasing numbers on a chart to the exclusion of common sense (as the examples above point out…) But hey, meeting goals & getting performance bonuses makes for a real good management resume…

  3. I believe that this is a plan by the USPS to “break” the Postal Service. When “doomsday” Jack Potter started saying that the USPS business model was broken about a year ago; no one kn ew what he was talking about. We were in sound financial shape, continuing to downsize, by attrition, as the volume decreased, as were in the black for the previous 4 years. Then Potter appearde to make it a “self-fulfilling prophecy” by wasting time and money on the inside. Window staffing is poor, blue collection boxes wre removed from the street, automated self-service postage machines were removed from postal lobbies,and the letter carriers now work an absurd amount of overtime.
    The plan seems to be working.

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