NPMHU Contract Update: USPS Suggests Sweeping Operational Changes Are Necessary

In addition to the recent Finance Presentation discussed in last week’s update, the Postal Service has provided the NPMHU bargaining team with an Operations Presentation. During this meeting, the Postal Service highlighted key changes that the agency wants to make to the current operating model in order to reduce costs.

Underlying the presentation was the notion that in the past, the Postal Service’s question was typically: “How can we expand operations to stay ahead of the growth in mail volume?” Now, however, the principal question for the Postal Service has transformed into: “How can we shrink our expenses to keep costs in line with declining revenue?” According to the Postal Service, this paradigm shift will mean significant changes in the way that the Postal Service runs its operations around the country.

The Postal Service is convinced that the most appropriate course of action is to “shed excess capacity.” This means a combination of reduced work hours, reduced service hours and, as USPS Vice President of Network Operations Dave Williams emphasized, a “reduction in our operational footprint.”

To make these adjustments, the Postal Service is currently conducting more than 250 Area Mail Processing feasibility studies in which it plans to assess various options for consolidating – and possibly closing – many mail processing facilities across the country. The Service believes that such efforts will result in a “dramatic contraction” of its current operations.

In addition to consolidating and/or closing facilities, the Postal Service has proposed to change its Service Standards to allow more flexibility in its operations. The Postal Service believes that its existing Service Standards dictate service requirements that are rigid and that control the entire operating model followed by the Postal Service. Instead, the agency is looking to design a lower-cost operating model, which will be formulated through the aforementioned facility consolidations and closures, and will require an adjustment in the Service Standards to comply with this revised model.

In short, the USPS goal is to create a 20- hour daily operating window, with all of the processing work being accomplished during these hours, leaving only 4 hours of downtime for maintenance of the machinery and similar functions. In order to implement this plan after the facilities have been consolidated, the Service Standards for most First-Class Mail and Periodicals would need to be adjusted from overnight or one-day delivery to two-day delivery.

Employee flexibility also was mentioned repeatedly as a key concern for the Postal Service. The USPS believes that under the new model it will be able to determine by 8:00 a.m. each morning exactly how many work hours will be necessary to complete the day’s processing of mail, which would now begin at noon each day. Given that the Postal Service believes it will be able to make this determination before the work begins, it seeks the ability to make adjustments in working hours as needed to maximize its ability to respond to daily volume changes.

Another way that the Postal Service will attempt to cut costs is by scrapping any plans in the near future for technological innovation. Instead, management will be seeking to maintain, sustain, and prolong the life of current equipment and technology. The current financial squeeze means that the little money the Postal Service has available must be used for other more exigent purposes.

The NPMHU is skeptical that the proposed model will help the Postal Service achieve financial solvency. In addition, the NPMHU is of the opinion that such a vast realignment of postal facilities and operations under such a plan would be likely to cause unwarranted hardships for many members in the mail handler craft. Thus, the NPMHU will continue to advocate for alternative solutions to the Postal Services financial distress, and it will continue to oppose proposals that fail to uphold the interests of all mail handlers. This process will continue to play out over the coming weeks during main table bargaining sessions, as well as during informal subcommittee discussions.

source: National Postal Mail Handlers

10 thoughts on “NPMHU Contract Update: USPS Suggests Sweeping Operational Changes Are Necessary

  1. nc mailhandler .
    Only an idiot or a scab would contribute such BS, to this forum . I’m a steward , with 39 yrs Gov’t service and I’m on the workroom floor DAILY, as an advocate for younger / junior mailhandlers , such as yourself. WHO JUST DON’T SEEM TO GIVE A SHIT, about the crap, that management pulls on them. Yet ,in a mili-second, you run your mouth about SENIOR mailhandlers, needing to retire and get out of your way . WHAT A TOOL, YOU ARE !

  2. Lets start at the top in congress with those been around so damn long, they come to work on auto pilot and really don’t do shit anymore.

    By the time we work our way down to you it should be time for your been around so damn long, come to work on auto pilot and really don’t do shit anymore ass to be gone.

  3. this is nothing more than a push for the two tour system that was started in 2000. would wipe out tour 2 all together which is fine with most mail handlers except for those CRS die hards that need to retire of which 99% of them are on tour 2. hell, for the most part they have been around so damn long, they come to work on auto pilot and really don’t do shit anymore.

  4. pretty clear to me that the mailhandlers and carriers unions would
    best serve their members by going to arbitration. donahoe has proven himself untrustworthy, just look at his actions after the clerks “agreement” was signed.
    seems like the best time to go to arbitration and the m/ handlers union and carrier unions are not in the bad shape the clerk uinion was when negotiating. by that i mean the clerk craft has been hit by staggering member losses for years mostly the fact that clerk jobs were just being eliminated left and right. this whole clerk contract was centered around the apwu’s desire to preserve itself from declining membership in the foreseeable future. that is why the apwu sold this horrific contract to its members, because it gave the apwu the opportunity to unionize the casuals and maybe also grow their membership again because with the low entry wage management may be inclined to award all new jobs with new technology to the clerk craft. we saw this for years as every new job was awarded to the mailhandlers because they could do it cheaper. now, the clerks will be able to do it cheaper relating to labor costs. in my opinion this was the biggest mistake the apwu made for about ten years..that mistake was not
    taking the most aggressive position and going to court if neccessary to regain the jobs that were awarded to the mailhandler craft. would they have won the fight in court? i don’t know. but the fact is they lost every fight regarding “awarding of work” because they basucally did nothing but wait and let the system grag out any decision for years and even decades. justice delayed this long is justice denied. guffey and bargaining apwu committe have attempted to turn the tide on losing jobs with this contract but at a very high price. so be it, life goes on.

  5. Operations must be cost effective. The demand for USPS products and service has declined resulting in decreasing mail volume of all classes resulting in declining revenue. Changes must be made that do not contribute to a breakeven point. 6day, Sat. delivery, street delivery to physical street addresses is a total waste. The American public could care less as to receiving advertising or junk mail on SAT.. Personal communication and business transaction are now conducted electronically via online. Americans use of written communication via pOSTAL MAIL is becomming a thing of the past. New apps are being marketed constantly; the younger generation only know this process in communicating. The Internet, texting, I phones, Android-Smart phones eliminate the USPS in the communication process. Business entice customers to go paperless with benefits for doing so.
    USPS has a place in the market in delivery of parcels and advertising mail BUT operations must be cost effective by closing offices, restructing management, and reducing Sat. delivery. USPS should setup a business model based on successful companies such as UPS, FED X, DHL, and others in transport and delivery.
    Bottomline unless operation are adjusted to meet generated revenue who is to pay? Customer use of products and service should generate revenue to meet cost.
    Price for services operated by USPS must be competive with other firms providing same services. USPS needs an early out to reduce employees; employees 60+ WITH SERVICE YEARS should be retired. OPM should notify as to effective date and opitions available. Employees with years of service but lack age should be given opportunity with no penalty. Automation results can only be maximized with a reduction in number of employees.
    USPS can be left as is and called a service for American public to use if desired and taxpayor pay the bill to maintain a useless need that politicans and unions ignore the real truthful financial disaster as operating in present mode.

  6. I agree there should be a merger of the Unions to what they were when the USPS began, but you are correct it is far away as the territory ma be the demise or failure of one or more of the National Unions. The USPS can’t force it but the unions should recognize this may be what’s best not only for the usps but for the nalc, apwu and npmhu, nrlca can be in as well. Delivery/Sales and Processing.

  7. I think it will be very interesting to see what happens with MH contract. They really don’t have a “me too” situation this time. Unless they want the provisions of the APWU contract, and I don’t think so. It would make sense to me to merge the MH’s and clerks. It would make sense for the USPS and the employees. Doubt it will happen though. It’s a territorial type of thing. Mail handlers should make as much as the clerk craft.

  8. after all is said and done, message reads……….we must protect the PFP criminal bounus plan at all costs-now you know why they call him PMG Down-the-Hole!

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