USPS has posted some frequently asked questions on its Human Resources website. Some of the questions and answers:
Note: An updated version of the 2011 Redesign FAQs will be posted on or soon after the March 25th announcement.
1. Why is the Postal Service going through an organizational redesign – are these changes necessary?
The shift to digital communications coupled with the recent recession resulted in the most dramatic drop in business in Postal Service history. Mail volume peaked at 213 billion pieces in 2006 and dropped to 170 billion last year. By 2020, volume is expected to drop to 150 billion. This business won’t come back.
To remain competitive, it’s critical that we adjust our workforce to match America’s changing mailing needs while continuing to fulfill our mission of keeping America connected and maintaining high levels of customer service. The new redesign will create a smaller, more efficient structure with the resources necessary to lead significant change.
2. Who does the 2011 organizational redesign affect?
The 2011 Redesign affects every administrative function within the Postal Service at Headquarters and in the Field.
3. Is there a way USPS can avoid position reductions and office closures?
Our business has changed and will continue to do so in the future. We must continually look for any means to be more efficient, streamline and reduce costs. This is the time when we must make significant changes to manage our current and future business.
4. Could we avoid making changes if Congress agreed to amend the annual retiree benefit $5.5 billion prepayment and/or give us immediate relief on the $75 billion overpayment?
No – issues that Congress needs to address are beyond our control and will not address all facets of our need to streamline for operational efficiency. Getting this money back is a short-term solution to a long-term issue. From 2006 to 2020, mail volume is expected to drop by 30 percent. 150 billion pieces of mail is still big business, but it’s a financial reality that we adjust our workforce to our workload.
5. What management actions are taking place to streamline the Postal Service?
On Jan. 7, PMG Donahoe announced the beginning of an organizational redesign that will help streamline the Postal Service. His announcement resulted in a 16 percent reduction in officer ranks and the impending closure of the Southeast Area office. All districts previously reporting to the Southeast Area now report to the Southwest Area office, with two exceptions: the Tennessee District reports to the Eastern Area and the Atlanta District reports to the Capital Metro Area.
The Postmaster General, the Executive Leadership Team and Area and HQ Vice Presidents are currently examining the existing organizational structure, recommending how USPS can be realigned to better match resources to workload. Officers are working with their PCES managers to design a more efficient organization.
6. When will the new organizational structure be announced?
USPS will announce its new, reorganized structure on March 25 along with District closures. If applicable, information about a voluntary early retirement (VER) and/or reduction-in-force (RIF) will also be part of the information provided at that time. Your management team will provide information about specific changes to your organization and will communicate directly with all employees at that time. There will be numerous national and local announcements during this time detailing changes and options for employees.
7. Will there be an incentive offered with the VER?
Plans for a VER offering as well as any possible incentive have not been solidified but all new information will be announced with the new organizational structure, posted on this website and communicated through various internal messaging channels.
8. Is USPS offering a VER before a RIF?
Information on the sequence and process for any potential VER and/or RIF activities will come with the March 25 announcement. Depending on the new structure, it is possible a RIF will occur.
9. What happens AFTER the announcement and how will the redesign continue to be implemented?
After the new organizational structure is announced, additional information regarding possible RIF and VER activities will be available via various internal messaging vehicles, including the Organizational Changes website. In the event of RIF and/or VER, guidance, timelines and assistance will be provided, once those processes have been solidified. We will continue to provide as much information as possible in the weeks and months following the March announcement so employees can make informed decisions.
10. How and when will I learn if the USPS 2011 Redesign affects my work location?
Your management team will deliver information about the new organization and how it affects employees when the new organizational structure is announced at the end of March.
11. Will there be fewer jobs – is there a targeted number of position reductions?
These actions are the beginning of a much larger process that will involve every level of the organization to include closing an additional 10 districts and eliminating about 7,500 positions. If applicable, RIF and VER processes may be initiated by the end of this fiscal quarter. We will provide as much information as we can and will be as transparent as possible about goals and objectives throughout this time.
12. How is this different from prior efforts – particularly, the 1992 restructuring?
The 2011 Redesign is different as we have unprecedented changes in our business. Reduced mail volume, coupled with the unique burden of prefunding retiree health benefits is creating enormous financial pressure on the Postal Service. These pressures have created a situation the Postal Service hasn’t faced before – the need to adjust its entire infrastructure at every level.
Unlike the 1992 restructuring or any prior efforts, there will not be an across-the-board percentage job cut throughout the organization. The cuts will eliminate duplicative positions and positions that do not focus on our four key strategies:
* Strengthening the business-to-consumer channel
* Improving the customer experience
* Competing for the package business
* Becoming a leaner, faster, smarter organization
That said, some functions may see fewer cuts than others.
13. Would it be prudent to explore my options from a retirement perspective?
This decision is entirely up to each individual employee. It’s always a good idea to review all options, including retirement. Eligible employees can immediately view and/or print an annuity estimate as well as begin the retirement process and schedule a retirement information session through eRetire.
14. Change is often difficult for many people. What is the Postal Service doing to provide support?
The USPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers assessment, referral, short-term counseling, and work/life consultation for postal employees and their families. The EAP is designed to assist in the identification and resolution of personal, family, and workplace concerns. Among other things, the EAP can help you with: work stress, coping with change, family issues, relationship problems, anxiety, depression, grief/loss, anger management, elder care, financial concerns, parenting issues, or substance abuse.
Employees need to know that the EAP is not just for crisis situations, it is a life management tool. Call the EAP when you need a new perspective on things or when you need help identifying your options and making informed choices. Remember, the EAP counselor will help you clarify the problem, identify options, and make a plan.
15. How should I prepare for the 2011 Redesign?
There are several steps employees can take now to prepare for future changes:
a. Make sure your mailing address, electronic personnel folder and eCareer profile are up to date.
b. Read all upcoming articles on 2011 Redesign efforts via News LINK and other internal messaging venues.
c. Check the Organizational Changes website on LiteBlue for 2011 Redesign updates.
16. What options do I have if my office closes or my job function is consolidated?
While some employees may see no change to their role, others will face significant organizational changes and office closings. When the new organizational announcements occur, each employee should evaluate his/her role and/or options. Please review the Organizational Changes website on LiteBlue and watch for related articles in News Link that provide guidance on preparing for change.