Years ago, the best Naps President I ever knew, President Vince Palladino told me that when the USPS does not know what to do they start cutting jobs. They believe that by cutting jobs the bottom line will improve and that Congress will love us. In my humble opinion that thinking by the Postal Service is so far from the truth because of the following reasons; take the VMF restructuring for example, they consolidated EAS positions and have the level 10 mechanics doing the supervisors job. If that is the case, then who is doing the level 10 mechanics job?
I visited a station during the Christmas rush and noticed the lines going out the door with only two clerks on the window. When I questioned one of the clerks, asking why four clerks were not manning the windows during this critical period, I was told “our regular window clerk who is assigned to that station was taken out of her position and is detailed to the District with no replacement!”
What could be so important in the District that a regular employee who has a window job is reassigned smack in the middle of the Christmas rush! The supervisor was busy with the carriers so no lobby sweeps were being done. I was so disgusted that I did not ask where the 4th clerk was.
In my time, Safety and Staffing were keys to a successful outcome during heavy mailing periods. By what I saw, this is definitely not happening today. The hiring practices of yesterday are long gone. The Civil Service list is gone, replaced by computer applications, and newspaper notifications. New hires are placed on the job, poorly trained and given ninety days to show that they can be postal workers. Here is the difference; in my time if you failed your probation you were terminated.
Today, if new hires don’t meet the minimum standards of the job, managers are told to keep these inferior employees. Because of the current hiring practice, the turnover rate is high and the cost to train these probationary employees runs about $10,000 an employee. Now, in my opinion, with the former Civil Service list we took a test and, depending on your mark, you were placed on the register and called for employment when your mark was reached.
One of many requirements was that your record must be clean. A conviction ranging from a felony to a misdemeanor were grounds for automatic disqualification. Today we are hiring anyone, convicted felons, employees who were terminated, and rehired again, people without driver’s licenses, etc. why aren’t we hiring qualified or dedicated people. I do know the USPS is going to the supplemental work force. Twenty percent of all temporary employees are now non-career. Managers and supervisors are always asked to do more with less EAS. What is going on here?
Parcel Post is the future of the Postal Service. We are fortunate to have a piece of the Amazon contract along with UPS, FEDEX, and AMAZON itself. Oh, Amazon will say their vehicles are only in the test stage but you can bet your bottom dollar bigger things for the future are in the works. While I can’t speak for UPS and FEDEX, I would like to share some of my experiences with Amazon delivery of parcels by USPS.
I believe in order for the USPS to profit on the delivery of these parcels, the cost to us for delivery must be $1.75 a parcel. NOW I WANT YOU TO HOLD THAT THOUGHT. Last year while in a station I heard this Management Official ask the station manager how he intended to get the 5,000 parcels which were stacked against the wall delivered that day. The station manager assured this Postal official that all packages would be delivered that day, what he did not tell him was he had trucks out until 1.a.m in the morning attempting to deliver these parcels.
I am sure it cost the USPS more than $1.75 a parcel to have these delivered. If you were on the receiving end of one of these parcels and your doorbell rang at 1 a.m. and someone said, Post Office, we need a signature, would you open the door?
The local newspaper ran an article on this very subject for their subscribers to see. What I am trying to say is we are not giving the service to the public and, in some cases, we are not making a profit on delivery, yet we will say on countless telecoms how successful we were in on time delivery of Amazon parcels. Who is kidding who?
The latest rumor has Amazon giving UPS the two-day delivery back only because we can’t guarantee a two-day delivery and they can. When I ask upper management officials about this, their answer is I have not heard anything about this, or when they want to be honest their answer is I have heard these rumors but they are only rumors.
Let’s face it; if the rumor is true and they go back to UPS, the Postal Service will lose about 40% of the Amazon business. Does this sound familiar? Why is UPS in business today? Years ago we did not want the parcel post business and UPS went into the parcel business, the rest is history. We put UPS on the map.
In closing my only wish for the New Year that the Postal Service remain a vibrant service and, with the help of Congress, succeed in doing what we do best, deliver the mail.