Postmaster General Megan Brennan said the USPS reduced over 6 million work hours in the recent quarter, which helped the organization reduce its overall compensation expenses. She made the statement in her most recent video talk to employees published on the USPS website.
Managing employee balance can be a tricky business, as this GovExec.com article from last June highlights – cut too many workers, and overtime can spike.
It can also mean a greater reliance on temporary workers, making retention of such workers an important issue. The USPS Inspector General recently published some advice for postal management on retaining non-career employees, which are defined as follows:
“Non-career employees are temporary workers who don’t receive the same benefits as career employees, and they’re not always guaranteed a set schedule. The Postal Service hires non-career employees not only to supplement its regular workforce, but also to provide greater scheduling flexibility and reduce staffing costs.”
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) said in its report last week that postal management estimated it had saved about $8 billion in labor costs from fiscal years 2016 to 2019 by using non-career employees, and decreased turnover from 42.8 percent in 2016 to 38.5 percent in 2019.
“However, that still exceeded the Postal Service’s 2019 target rate for non-career turnover of 34.08 percent,” the OIG wrote.
“We also found that USPS didn’t measure the cost-savings associated with reducing non-career employee turnover. Moreover, management hasn’t developed a single, national strategic plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining non-career employees.”
Brennan didn’t address the OIG report in her video address, but she outlined what she said were the core areas needed to restore financial stability to the Postal Service:
- Pursue opportunities to increase revenue and drive efficiency within our business model
- PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission) must create a flexible pricing system that reflects the needs of the USPS.
- Legislation is required to enable changes that grow revenue and reduce our cost base “by mandating some of our expenses that we simply cannot afford.”
She said the USPS Fairness Act, also known as the DeFazio bill, was recently passed by the House of Representatives. Brennan said that ultimate passage of the bill would be positive.
The Federal News Network reported on the bill and wrote, “The USPS Fairness Act, introduced last May by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), would undo the pre-funding requirement at the heart of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that has accelerated the Postal Service’s financial losses.”
But Postmaster General Brennan said passage of the bill would only be a first step. “Most importantly, the bill would not impact the liquidity crisis that we will be facing in the next few years – a crisis that will literally threaten our ability to deliver the mail.” She called on Congress to make legislative changes to allow the Postal Service to transform its business model.
She also outlined strategic financial goals and said, “We are a strategic partner to thousands of companies that use the mail to reach and conduct business with the public. We sustain America’s mailing and shipping industry, and we enable America’s ecommerce economy.
However, she said the USPS faces increased competition in every part of its business, and said rivals are adapting their business models to win last-mile and first-mile package business.
“They’re looking to take away our revenue and our unique role at the American doorstep. We are not going to concede any business. We know we must earn our customers’ business every day.” She went on to explain how the US Postal Service is serving business customers and called on every employee to help formally and informally by being an advocate for postal products and services.
“Service is the key to growing our package business. Small- and mid-sized businesses need consistent package pick-up and on-time delivery to their customers.”
Brennan also reviewed the recent holiday season, when the USPS delivered 13 billion pieces of mail, including 800 million packages. “This reflects the confidence that our largest customers have in us to deliver for them when their volume is at its highest,” she said.
Brennan, also thanked employees for their commitment and dedication and for their service to customers and the American people.