on Sep 21st, 2009 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 90 comments
 
Keep Sunday Operations?

We’ve all heard the bad news. Mail volume in fiscal year (FY) 2008 totaled 202.7 billion pieces, a decline of 9.5 billion pieces or 4.5 percent compared to the previous fiscal year. Mail volume has declined even further this year. At the end of the last quarter, mail volume was down more than 12 percent from the same period last year. Most recently, the Postal Service lost $2.4 billion in the third quarter of FY 2009 and projected a net loss of more than $7 billion for FY 2009.

As a panelist during the August 6 Senate subcommittee hearings on the Postal Service, Postmaster General Jack Potter once again focused on the need for 5-day delivery, greater flexibility, and the elimination of some network infrastructure. During the same hearings, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended urgent action to streamline the mail processing and retail networks as the Postal Service no longer has sufficient revenues to cover the cost of maintaining its large network of processing and retail facilities.

End Sunday Operations?

The reality of the current situation is that in many areas the Postal Service has an excess of equipment, staff, and facilities to process a declining volume of mail. Given the harsh economic conditions faced by the Postal Service today, looking at opportunities to cut costs by streamlining inefficient operations or eliminating unnecessary ones makes good business sense.

One area for consideration is the elimination of Sunday mail processing operations. In many Processing and Distribution Centers around the nation, mail processing activities are run on Saturday night and into Sunday just as they are the rest of the week.

With mail volume declining, should the Postal Service reduce mail processing operation to 6 days a week, rather than the traditional 7 days, and allow employees to have Sunday off?

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Comments

What is USPS waiting for? Time to cut back on employee workhours, consolidate facilities and functions, and reduce delivery days. How many of us leave the mail in a pile by the front door until someone finally goes through it, days later? Yes! Do what it takes to run USPS like a business, and do it now.

I also think auxiliary routes should be absorbed by established routes. Rural routes can handle much more territory, now, that volume is down. How foolish, that routes are cut to H Routes when my office has 3 Auxiliary Routes. My Salary is down $600/month. Yet, I can touch all the auxiliary boxes and wave to that carrier, when doing my own route. Management inflates their offices to maintain THEIR rate of pay,and keep extra supervisors and 204B's on the floor, while our pay decreases. It makes sense, that if everything is declining, why isn't the number of supervisors in an office declining? I want to have a company to retire from after serving 19 yrs and counting!!

If the Post office really ran as a business. Management would try to find ways to expand and make revenue instead of taking the easy way out and "save money".

If five day delivery and six day processesing will help the Postal Service improve their financial position,I say do it. It does not have a negative effect on employees and our customers understand our predicament.

This seems like a no-brainer. Sunday processing could start again if future volumes justify it. Private companies add and delete shifts continually as volume rises and falls. Why can't the Postal Service?

As a person that use to work in mail processing on Sunday evenings, I say eliminate this processing day. The mail volume was always low that day and we were assigned tasks in other areas. The Postal Service needs to take action now to deal with this financial crisis and I am sure that the mail volume is so low now that eliminating this work day is no longer a real issue. The Postal Service is paying for work that is no longer being performed.

Me being a RCA I say we need to keep 6 day delivery because Saturdays are the days I make descent money on the regular route.. yes I run/carry an Aux. route every day .. one week I do the aux. route 6 days and the next week I do the aux. route 5 days and the regular route 1 day (Saturday) and when needed. But if I were just a RCA being a Saturday sub. or every other Saturday sub. then I wouldn't have a job and like most ppl I need that money to pay my bills and provide for my family. If things are so bad then Potter shouldn't be getting big raises and the price of stamps shouldn't be going up along with other products sold by the postal service,, if anything that just makes the customer want to do business elsewhere. On the Sunday thing.. that wouldn't be so bad I suppose because the carriers don't work on Sunday anyway but will most likely be more work for the mail handlers/processors on Monday mornings. I just can't see anything good coming out of this.

Please don't do this. The day after a holiday is a carrier's worst nightmare. Mondays are bad enough with no Sunday delivery. BTW-quality is going down the tubes in the frenzy to save money-since when do we ignore 2nd class mail status and ignore store sale dates? These acts are just going to foster more mistrust in the usps.

do you work sundays for twenty years? stop being so selfish!

We have been getting bulk Mail everyday which is past the requested delivery dates printed on it. How humiliating for the carriers to deliver Mail to thier customers with a requested in home date a week or more ago! Meanwhile, all we hear is how our service is the highest ever. Huh? Not sure how eliminating Sunday would affect this, but it sure wouldn't help. Management just can't understand that holding Mail does not save time. It has to be done sometime, and takes the same amount of work hours to process. They just are shifting the work to management, because they send the clerks home, and then the PMs spend the rest of their day sorting bulk Mail. What a waste of talent! Use the highest skilled person in the office to perform the least important work. What a plan for financial recovery! Obviously the same thinking must happen in the plants and all thrpough the process, and that is why we get dated Mail after the requested dates, it has been held all hrough the system.

As a carrier, I have to agree that is embarassing, to deliver dated sales flyers when the sale is over. All I can tell them when questioned is that "they just got to me today". From what I hear this is problem thoughout the country.

WNY Clerk & Carrier comments both have hit a BIG nerve for USPS. (Portion of comment below" from "Periodicals", August 28 for you're consideration.

note: the applications in these devices literally
have time sensitive dates included in the
component. This means, the flyer is delivered like a text message to the persons "cell phone", "Blackberry", or other
PCD, and the store cashier simply scans the
coupon from the customer device. How Climate Green is that?
No more printing the flyer, no more transporting the flyer, no more delivering the flyer.

*************

Does the term “Lemonade”, mean anything to any of the OIG’s technical staff?
Hint-Hint….
Mobile Internet Applications i.e., Black-BERRIES, I mean mobile application PCD’s.
(PCD-Personal Communication Device)
I mean wireless apps…. inferred as paperless media..
Consider the electronic medical records (EMR)
a reality within 24 months. (est.)
Of course, Congress must first approve any current
legislation.
Also, lets look at the facts 08/29/09 “I-Phone
sales increase 34 million units 3rd qtr. 2009.”

How's this for "saving money" - In Trenton, NJ Our Plant Manager eliminated the day shift (Tour 2) that was processing junk mail and moved the operation to evenings.

Only now they are paying the employees an added "night differential" in their salary to do the same work processing junk mail.

Talk about waste, fraud and abuse? Where are the investigations of these idiot Plant Managers?

they are too busy prosecuting all the thieving managers all around the country, especially the one that was running your place for awhile until he got kicked out and forced to retire and now he is going to jail, there are a lot more of these hypocrits around!!

How come OIG never considers the obvious savings that could be realized by cutting the overstaffing of Management positions? Any need to have a Supervisor for a hand full of employees? With your time and attendance enforcers monitoring absences, why the need of tripping over break room monitors?

people that have lousy days off would love to lose the sunday premium just to be able to do what ever normal familys do on sunday! especially tour two employees! AB

I agree!

if you don't like tour 2, then how about bidding on another tour so someone who appreciates those hours and are hard to come by can spend quality time with their families the rest of the week!

you got that right brother, but the problem that they face is the consecutive days off in the CBA, they would have to redo everything in the plants and would need more people to staff the rest of the week.

The "advantage" of giving the employees may sound desireable, but it will also mean split days off for many...

not allowed in the clerk craft CBA!read your contrast!

Absolutely. Sunday is notorious for having little work to justify the payment of premium pay.

elimnate or outsource oig much more better

I think mail should be delivered every other day or Monday / Tuesday then Friday / Saturday only. why does it always have to be no delivery on saturday? Process mail on Sunday for Monday delivery. No processing on Saturday> T he mail doesn't get delivered the next day.

I agree...cancel Sat. operations in processing plants...mail doesn't get anywhere and would make more work for Sun premium pay

Before considering such a move, Management needs to honestly, and I put that word in here with all sincerity, look at operations and service to the customer. Of course there is less mail, but there is still mail that needs to get out. Management has cut staffing so drastically that in my plant, mail processors are forced to run machines by themselves while their partners go to lunch or breaks. Additionally, S:DOs on both tours 1 and 3 fill in the staffing gaps by feeding DB's themselves when the clerks are on break.

Over on the Flats side, staffing on the AI prep operations are in such disarray, that the S:DOs are forced to prep mail while the Mail Handlers are on break or lunch, in order to keep the ACTs coming to the feeder stations. Because of course the clerks are now not allowed to prep their own mail, even though they did it for years on the 775s and 881s, and even on the first generation 100s. So the clerks must shut the machine down, stand there with nothing to do until the prep side (either Mail handlers or supervisor) catches up. Its a disgusting waste, and all because staffing has been so screwed up.

And none of these supervisors, or the M:DOs that supervise them, have the guts to tell their Plant Manager or District Manager that the mean lean staffing plans coming out of Engineering are not realistic. Because they are as intimidated as the bargaining unit employees. Instead, they put their heads together and "get creative" in order to deal with the shortfall of bodies, especially on holiday periods. As such,

Management is Violating the holiday pecking order, as well as cheating and fudging overtime hours by forcing encumbered clerks to change their days off during holiday weeks, in order to avoid the payment of overtime to cover that 3 day holiday period.

With all the excessing of employees into other installations and/or crafts, it is shocking that only 1 S:DO that I know off had to leave our plant to go into another EAS position up the road 50 miles. Many others were given what appears to be "make work" positions in the mahogany row section of our building.

If Management does away with Sunday processing, the mail will not go away. It will be there. And what they will do to get it worked up is:
1. Force clerks to change their days off in order to get it processed, and/or:
2. Report to the DBCS Principal Assignment Area and start processing the mail themselves.

Both of these will result in multiple and repeated grievances being filed. And with the blatant disregard of the Contract being quite obvious, Management will pay twice to get the mail processsd.

And if you realistically and yes, honestly, look at the overall picture of the business over the last 25 years, you will realize the the Agency is bloated with too many at the top, these people taking advantage of the generous relocation benefits, trailing spouse rules, etc. There have been many bonehead purchases made over the decades, the current boondoggle these days being the excessively expensive FSS machines, that are not working up to standard, will be extremely labor intensive (a maintenance nightmare) and will require trucking of local mail to huge sites for processing, using extra fuel.

Other mistakes include level upgrades and the end of PTF employees in 200 or more man-year offices. Why would an Agency screaming that they are broke agree to such things? It all boils down to very bad Management, at the very top. And this bad Management is what is going to destroy what our only responsibility is: to provide universal postal services to our customers. I believe the Agency has lost sight of that. And that is why they now are discussing the idea of ending Sunday mail Processing. This would be just one more nail in the Agency's coffin.

Yes, close all P&DC's on Sunday, it would save the PO hundreds of millions of dollars in saving without having to pay Sunday premiums and in OT savings.

I have a hard time understanding questions like this, to be honest, the mail dropped off what 2 years ago? and just now the post office is trying to cut back on some operations? the post office needs to be proactive instead of reactive, just like now, i dont know about anyone else but our mail has picked way up, and here is the postal service saying hmmm should we cut now? well not now, the time to cut was a year ago, and now they offer and early out, and again we will end up short staffed. not only that but as someone above stated, we have too many clipboards walking around that just "avoided a rif" aka. they changed pay locations or added/changed duties on jobs and the same people kept them and most even got a raise, while thousands of clerks a month are excessed... whats wrong with this picture?

What truly amazes me is that the OIG would actually consider ideas proposed on a faceless blog, where any cuk, nut job or fanatic can post blindly, ignorant and uneducated poop! Most citizens are unaware of the Postal Services inner workings. All they know is the PO gets there letter from point A to point B!
Easy enough that’s as it should be, that’s as the constitution intended it to be. However for those high minded and in control it is not! It’s about making money and the Postal reform act of 2006 allowed the Postal Service to make a profit! I ask for WHAT? You citizens that don’t know should know it’s for creating unnecessary bureaucracies in postal management that take can know take big bonuses and to justify the creation of the OIG (otherwise known as the Gestapo)!
Too many chiefs and not enough Indians! The whole goal is to reduce employees! I know that reductions are necessary I agree! But I challenge all of the intelligent people who come here to go to http://www.usps.com/financials/anrpt08/pg64.htm and pull up the 2008 annual report. Since 2004 the OIG is expanding, thus a need to continue to justifying their job through erroneous crap such as this blog! As well as management Look how the numbers remain constant! I believe if you look you might see the ratio of “management” to employee (workers) is close to 1-12 that’s insane! Recently the National association of postal supervisors web site boldly proclaimed “The NAPS resident officers met on Friday, August 28, 2009 with Douglas A. Tulino, USPS Vice President, Labor Relations at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the final day of the restructuring prior to the implementation of the RIF on the remaining impacted EAS employees.
Due to the diligence of the members of the NAPS executive board, who worked closely with local Areas and Districts and the cooperation of USPS headquarters, we are able to announce today that remaining impacted employees are expected to be placed in positions thereby avoiding a RIF." That’s right! They want to make money at the public’s expense! PERIOD!

The incompetence in postal management astounds me. Haven't we been doing this "tour 2" compression thing nationwide just recently? As a result many people were dislocated from their assignments and placed into, or could only bid into jobs that required Sunday as a regular scheduled day.
Since the "tour 2" compression was undertaken "officially" due to dwindling mail volumes, then why couldn't Sundays have been addressed in one undertaking??
I use the word incompetence cause if it isn't that its just plain mean and a way to constantly disrupt employees lives and disrespectful in every way!
Oh, by the way since the "tour 2" compression, MAIL VOLUMES HAVE DRAMATICALLY INCREASED!

The optimum day to cut back or eliminate mail processing operations is Saturday, not Sunday. There is no Sunday delivery so preparation for the next day delivery does not occur until Sunday. Cost savings would be realized by cutting Sunday premium pay expenses in half, less call offs, easier staff scheduling and major maintenance functions could be performed without disturbing operations.

Eliminate Sundays! There is not much to do anyway. Half of the time we get to go home early. Also, split days off wouldn't be all that bad.

you can not have split days off, it is not allowed in the contract!! people wake up, the reason the union negotiated the end of split days off was because of abusive managers like the ones in monmouth who had clerks with split days off like tues/fri on tour one. do you want to sign up for that? only if you are a loner or an idiot!

Prior to total elimination of Sunday processing, effort must be made to identify those exceptions that may exist and how to accomodate them. Some plant operations may not be able to take up the slack with reduced staffing that is already in place, and some small SCF/plant operations may not yet have the capacity to handle the increased volume for even a day. While some of these smaller plants have benefitted from having new DIOSS equipment, etc., some still lack the AFC(s) needed to feed the operations and are still relying on 40+ year old Mark II techology.

Its logical to eliminate a day of processing operations to limit carrier and box clerk overtime, specifically on Monday and Tuesdays following a holiday.
That being said, the USPS should be held accountable for layoffs resulting from a change from six to five days of delivery and processing. Espicially when there is a high level IOC manager whose contribution is to carry around a "magic eightball" toy. Add to this, his stopping an employee's production to call upon the toy to answer any question they may have. The OIC of Santa Barbara (whoops that slipped) shakes up the toy and relays the answer to the worker who can't wait for the answer. All the while the fire is being held to the feet of employees who make the operation run like a well tuned machine each and every day.
Just saying.

I say the USPS had better understand that once you start down this road, the service to customers may suffer. The reality is we provide customer service and if the service declines we will lose even more business. Try it in certain places, and see what the effect is first. The airlines thought they could increase prices and cut on board services, they are all suffering. Be careful what you do USPS because in this climate people are look very closely at the service provided. BTW I do not leave any mail by the front door, I read my mail because it is important to me. Reconsider these FSS machines which do not properly work. It is time to reassess what we are buying. I was at a facility when the FSM 1000 came in and helped test it. The head contractor brought us all in doughnuts one day and told me he was thanking us but it did not matter the USPS was accepting the machine regardless of whether it worked or not. He also indicated his company was giving him a big bonus. I wonder how much of that was paid for by USPS customers???

To tell you the absolute truth, why don't you listen to Mike Savage above? I work in a technical field in the USPS, and I am forever answering questions that the Supervisors ask and then use either against the craft or for the sake of themselves. Why not look at cutting out the middle man and eliminate the excess of sooo many management personnel. Seriously, they are lazy, much of what they ask is easily excessible to research. It is a crock of bull.

They haven't done their homework on the effect it would have on processing clerks and mailhandlers. We already work weird hours, to give us Sunday off (which is actually Sat night) throws our schedule off, and that would only mean it would be worse because we'd end up with split days off. I go in at 11pm and get off at 7:30am, you can't enjoy your night off with family because your sleep is all messed up. And it doesn't actually help the PO and stations, because what we do is preparing for the next day, which is Monday. It only helps us be more organized and timely to have the mail to the carriers on time for Monday morning. If we had "Sunday" off, that would mean by the time we got into the plant and started running the mail, it would go out late and therefore the carriers would be in a situation of busting their chops trying to make their deliveries before dark. Which likely wouldn't happen, because they are usually carrying their route and a swing from another, not to mention if they have a collection afterwards. There is no benefit to anyone to give the processing plants Sunday off. The only benefit would be that they would not have to pay the Sunday premium. Which I myself don't mind working Sat night ( aka Sunday ) to get the Sunday premium, that's basically my day of the week to catch my breath from all the racing the clock the rest of the week to get the mail out the door. Just because some areas of the country are seeing a lot of decline, not all processing plants are. We have increased our number of DPS runs, therefore we actually have more. And the more prepared you are going into Monday the better off everyone is.

its all about you, right?

I look at it as a whole, not about me. Maybe I'm one of the few that think of others.

Listen to D Riley also. When Sundays disappear the USPS will surely give you split days. The idea behind keeping all of the Managers, is that when they finally streamline operations (streamline by definition = get rid of "all" FTR making 50K or >) they will need the managers to manage the contract workers. Simply contact many of the offices that have eliminated Sunday processing already. I attended an APWU seminar sometime ago, and it is already happening across the country. Weekends off? That's a laugh!

When are these blind fools going to see that management from the top down to the district level are the buffoons who have caused all these problems within the post office outside of the economic shortfalls!!!!

Leave the craft alone!!!!!

We have been doing our part time and time again!!!

TOO MANY CHIEFS!!!!!!

REMOVE POTTER!!!!! AND HIS CRONIES

RESTRUCTURE AND DOWNSIZE MANAGEMENT!!!!!

NO POSTMASTERS IN MANY CITIES USE SUPERVISORS TO REPORT TO ONE PM

STOP USING SUPERVISORS AS DATA ENTRY CLERKS ALL DAY LONG!!!!

USE CLERKS TO TO DATA ENTRY

LESS SUPERVISORS NEEDED

I've worked in a number of small offices before becoming a rural carrier and the offices that have a full time clerk and a postmaster were overstaffed. The clerk in the office that I now work does everything (including postmaster functions) There is very little that the postmaster does. USPS does need to cut management positions.

Now this guy is right. You have management taking inventory and data entry while working late to get the reports done. Then they'll have clerk fighting over work among themselves or taking advantage of others by taking bid jobs where there's really no work.

Why is Management counting the mail in the plant daily instead of a clerk counting what is coming in on a daily basis like other private places that I worked at. Spot check inventory is only done on a Yearly basis and split over 4 quarterly counts. They could use scanners like in Express and eliminate supervisor who do nothing but count. Also they are keying in on Employees payroll which used to be done by a clerk. They aren't interested in being effective because they can piss away hours looking like they are accomplishing something.

The Plant Managers that allow this are a joke.

The OIG is always looking for ways to eliminate craft positions. I can only believe by the posts submitted by anonymous, that this individual has now become a manager and is also looking for ways to eliminate and just plain screw the craft employees.

Eliminate Saturday night into Sunday mail processing in conjunction with eliminating Saturday residential delivery saves lots of money in wages paid to clerks, carriers, and supervisors (who rake in 6th and 7th day overtime). Each retail unit should post the previous years annual wages paid to each supervisor by name throughout the district. Customers could view this supervisor wage data while waiting in line to buy a stamp and shake their head in disbelief as to why the majority of Americans who are out of work and never make a six figure income should be supporting such a gross disparity of income. President Obama should get involved and roll back supervisor's wages inflated by 6th and 7th day overtime, Christmas bonus's, and bloated base salaries. Eliminating Saturday night into Sunday mail processing also allows affected employees to attend church on Sunday without falling asleep and maybe learn from the preacher the effects of greed and how it harms society. Employee morals might improve along with morale.

Due to the lack of mail on Sunday all work should be eliminated at the Processing Plants. Mail can be processed Saturday night along with collection mail and DPS'd on Monday morning Tour I for Monday delivery. People at my plant stood around or played cards for 8 hours with no mail to process most on overtime and Sunday premium pay. If you want to save the Postal Service all plants need to be shut down on Sunday. Holiday weekends were the biggest scandal of all, workers standing around for 3 days with barely any mail to process. Not one person except a guard should be in a plant for 24 hours on Sunday and for Holiday weekends, definitely no Sunday hours at all.

The Postal Service does not run like a private business. There are some Plants and BMC's which have mail volumne for seven days. Too many times service or hours are cut and twice the savings are spent when the work shifts to another location in overtime. In order not to create a larger mess someone has to be smart enough to have a plan which will work in all areas with no Sunday delivery.
There are problems at all levels of the USPS and no sympathy for Postal workers who are not losing jobs when so many others are. Cut the excess and act like a business.

TIME FOR SOME COMMON SENSE TO TAKE OVER.

It is a no brainer. Stop Sunday premium, duh.

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