The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) won an arbitration ruling preserving union jobs at post offices with reduced hours, a move expected to create as many as 9,000 new union jobs http://www.apwu.org/news/web-news-article/apwu-wins-major-victory-staffing-%E2%80%98postplan%E2%80%99-offices.
This ruling comes two years after the labor group filed a grievance with the U.S. Postal Service challenging the agency’s use of part-time workers in post offices whose hours have been cut back to four or six hours daily.
But the USPS will still be allowed to use non-union workers in post offices that are only open two hours a day.
Nevertheless, the USPS still intends to slash as many jobs as possible. Such zealousness can backfire. Take the case of the Iowa City post office which paid way more in employee overtime than the national average. This resulted from understaffing at a time when the local economy was booming. In fact, the local area actually recorded the nation’s eighth lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
Specifically, this economic growth led to an increase in parcel volume which caused more than 100 employees to work as much as six days a week, according to the USPS Office of the Inspector General audit https://uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2014/hr-ma-14-009.pdf.
All this came to light because a local resident complained to conservative Republican Senator Charles Grassley about too much overtime at the post office.
Yeah, everybody wants economic growth but you’ve gotta pay and be grateful for the workers who carry it out.
Nevertheless, the postal service just pushes on relentlessly to cut down on the number of its facilities, no matter the cost to people and ultimately the economy as a whole. The USPS plans to close more than 80 facilities next year, leading several Senators to call for a moratorium earlier this summer.
Of course there are always pundits bemoaning the financial precariousness of the USPS and call for more cost cutting. In the quarter ended June 30, the USPS reported a net loss of $2 billion http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_043.htm . They often question the postal service’s overall usefulness in face of an increasing electronic communications landscape and so forth http://www.desertsun.com/story/money/industries/morrisbeschlosseconomics/2014/09/15/us-postal-services-confront-ever-deepening-survival-abyss/15679431/
But the USPS Inspector General’s office in a recent report outlined how the USPS is making innovations to the mail to adapt to current and future market conditions https://uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2014/rarc-wp-14-013.pdf.
Bottom line: we still need postal mail whether we realize it or not.