Thursday, August 27, 2009
How could affect Immigrants the closure of 300 post offices?
The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it is offering up to 30,000 employees a $15,000resignation bonus to leave their jobs. The initiative would cost the USPS $450 million but could save another $500 million over the next fiscal year and a possibility of a major delays on the process of delivering mail on the peak season (Christmas).
Trimming back and going lean. It's like the Richard Simmons diet, for the post office.
And this no-carb plan offers participating employees an initial payment of $10,000 in the coming October followed by $5,000 in October 2010. Desk clerks, distribution center mail handlers and clerks, and motor vehicle technicians are eligible for the resignation bonus program. And they have until September 25th 2009 to decide.
The slow economy is not the only factor that has motivated the cutting measures. With increasing online and electronic communications, the USPS has already been experiencing a steady decline in mail deliveries. That decline paired with advances in technology, automating more aspects of the postal collection and sorting process, have created the need for fewer employees. In the current year alone, mail volume has dropped 12.6 percent. And if a $2.4 billion third-quarter loss wasn't difficult enough news, the projection of $7 billion as the total year's loss gives perspective for the job eliminations.
The resignation bonus is one of several cost-lowering efforts that also involved closing 300 post offices across the country, cutting over 100 million work hours, and mandating hiring and salary freezes for top executives.
The USPS negotiated the plan with workers unions, American Postal Workers Union and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.
The success of the plan will be telling. If it meets a positive response, it could spark a re-emergence of the USPS---perhaps a leaner, greener machine equipped to adapt to the country's changing needs. And a best-case scenario for resignation bonuses in the Post Office could serve as a catalyst for other similar incentives in other government agencies.
The Postal Service lost $2.4 billion during its third quarter and forecasts a $7 billion year-end loss, according to figures released earlier this month. The financial woes can be tied in large measure to roughly $7 billion in mandated payments to fund current and future retiree health benefits. Postal officials say they will not make the payments for future retiree benefits if it faces an expected cash shortfall next month.
The decision to offer buyouts comes amid several other cost-cutting moves. The Postal Service may close about 300 post offices across the country, mostly in dense urban areas, while selling off other expensive, but underused, retail locations. It has already cut more than 100 million work hours this year, equal to 57,000 positions. It mandated a nationwide hiring freeze and salary freeze for top executives, stopped post office construction projects and closed six regional offices.