• on Jan 19th, 2010 in Labor | 48 comments

    Recently Glassdoor.com announced the winners of the second annual “Employees' Choice Awards” for Best Places to Work.

    The Top 50 were selected from more than 37,000 companies reviewed by the nearly 100,000 employees who completed a 20-question survey on Glassdoor.com in 2009. Only companies who received at least 25 votes were included on the list. The survey questions relate to employees' attitudes about:
    • Career opportunities
    • Communication
    • Compensation and benefits
    • Employee morale, recognition and feedback
    • Senior Leadership
    • Work/life balance
    • Fairness and respect

     

    Southwest came in number one with a 4.7 rating on a scale of 1 to 5. United Airlines and Gibson Guitar are at the bottom of the reviewed companies with a 1.9 rating. FedEx scored a satisfactory rating of 3.8. Neutral ratings were given to UPS (3.1) and the Postal Service (2.8).

    What are your thoughts on the current workplace environment? How can it be improved?

    Has the workplace environment in the Postal Service gotten better or worse over the last 10 years and why?

    This topic is hosted by the OIG's Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

  • on Jan 11th, 2010 in OIG | 7 comments
    Those of us helping on the Office of Inspector General blog had so much fun last year we thought we would make the top 10 stories an annual event. We’ve provided the top 10 postal stories for 2009. Tell us about any stories we missed and add whatever comments you think appropriate. In particular, we would like to get your input on the top story, so take a minute and vote in the poll below.

    And now in reverse order . . . our top 10:

     

     

    1. Electric vehicles spark interest — The Postal Service prequalified suppliers in case it requests proposals for the electric conversion of long-life vehicles (LLVs), and a House bill was introduced that would begin the process of testing and deploying 20,000 electric-drive delivery vehicles.
    2. Sales, Sales, Sales —The Postal Service used its pricing freedom to hold a sale during the traditionally low-volume summer months.
    3. Retirement incentives fail to motivate — The Postal Service offered financial incentives for early retirements, but fewer employees took up the offer than expected.
    4. Full-service Intelligent Mail launches — Full-Service Intelligent Mail prices became available in November.
    5. Communities take note as collection boxes disappear — The news was full of stories of the decline of the familiar blue box, a part of a national-cost-saving measure.
    6. Unprecedented cost reductions are not enough — The Postal Service squeezed 115 million workhours and $6.1 billion in costs from its operations, but it was not enough to offset the effect of volume losses.
    7. Mail goes paperless — A new way of “mailing” garnered attention as services emerged that allow mailers to send electronic “mail” using physical address information.
    8. Congress grants health care prefunding relief — Congress allowed the Postal Service to reduce its contribution to the Postal Service’s retiree health fund by $4 billion this year. Without this relief, the Postal Service would have come very close to running out of cash.
    9. The Postal Service requests 5-day delivery — Postmaster General Potter requested that the Postal Service be given the authority to cut a day of delivery if necessary.
    10. Perfect storm almost swamps the Postal Service — Large mail volume losses and the continuing heavy requirements to prefund retiree health benefits nearly tipped the Postal Service into insolvency.

    This topic is hosted by the OIG's Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

  • on Jan 4th, 2010 in Pricing & Rates | 10 comments
    The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) changed the way the Postal Service sets rates. It divided postal services into two broad categories: market dominant (mailing services) and competitive (shipping services). Market dominant products constitute about 90 percent of postal revenue. They include First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, and some Package Services. Products such as Priority Mail, Express Mail, and bulk Parcel Post are considered competitive. The PAEA placed a cap on price increases for market dominant products. The Postal Service is now permitted to make annual price changes after limited review by the Postal Regulatory Commission, but the average increase for each class of mail cannot be greater than the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The Postal Service can request a rate increase above the cap due to extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.

    When the PAEA was passed in December 2006, the Postal Service was still experiencing annual increases in mail volume. However, the recent, rapid drop in mail volume and revenue has forced the Postal Service into a financial crisis. The Postal Service’s Integrated Financial Plan for fiscal year 2010 forecasts a net loss of $7.8 billion. Since the Postal Service has substantial fixed costs, as mail volume falls, the Postal Service may have limited ability under the price cap to generate sufficient revenue to fund its network. Inflation was flat in 2009, so there was no room to raise prices under the cap this year. The Postal Service could have requested a rate increase above the cap due to extraordinary or exceptional circumstances, but it has announced that there will be no price increase in 2010 for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Parcel Post.

    What do you think?

    This topic is hosted by the OIG's Cost, Revenue, and Rates directorate.

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