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POSTAL NEWS NO. 73/2012 - In cooperation with uni apro, aspek indonesia and sppi


POSTAL NEWS



NO. 73/2012



Formulated by UNI-JAPAN POST



In cooperation with UNI APRO, ASPEK INDONESIA and SPPI



  1. Letters: What the postal service needs. Aug 12, 2012.



  2. Local postal workers take wait-and-see approach to possible changes. Aug 10, 2012.



  3. Postal Service expects to save $1.3 million a year as sorting center is phased out; postal workers dispute projections. Aug 12, 2012.







  1. Letters: What the postal service needs




August 12, 2012

Re "The business of mail," Editorial, Aug. 7

The Times touches only briefly on the primary reason for what many are calling a manufactured crisis in theU.S. Postal Service.

In 2006, Congress required the USPS to pre-fund 75 years' worth of worker health benefits in the next 10 years. This means funding for workers not even hired yet. No other agency or corporation is required to do this.

Congress should change this requirement to match the usual funding requirements for other agencies. This would immediately eliminate the crisis.

It is the news media's responsibility to raise this issue with the public. The Times' editorial makes it seem as if technology is the primary driver of the USPS' crisis. Technology is a major player, but it is not the reason for the USPS' financial problems.

Re "Let's stamp out talk about privatizing the post office," Column, Aug. 8

If we had a choice between privatizing the Postal Service, continuing with the present situation of declining volume and increasing losses, or some degree of business planning and fiscal restraint, I believe that most would opt for the last option. Unfortunately, Congress will not allow that. It is concerned with union support.

There is nothing wrong with reducing USPS employment and services as the volume of mail decreases. Most customers do not have any problem with the elimination of Saturday delivery, for example. Why won't Congress allow the USPS to do this?

Michael Hiltzik's comment regarding "unnecessary healthcare payments" is a real straw man. The only question is one of timing, not of the reality of the liability the USPS will have to cover.

Kevin Minihan

000

8/10/2012 5:19:00 AM

  1. Local postal workers take wait-and-see approach to possible changes



By Kevin Caufield and Lindsay Vaughn

NewsTribune Reporters

These are nervous times for United States postal workers.

United States Postal Service relies on the sale of stamps, boxes and other products rather than tax dollars to keep running. But last week, government officials confirmed USPS could not make a $5.5 billion payment for future retiree health benefits.

The struggling service has been targeted by federal lawmakers for an overhaul. Meanwhile, postal officials have taken steps to operate more efficiently. Some of those steps include offering buyouts, consolidating activities at processing facilities and reducing post office hours.

Now, the service is considering further cuts such as ending Saturday service, significantly reducing its work force, raising prices and halting future retiree benefits.

“It’s on everybody’s mind,” said La Salle Postmaster Kevin Christiansen. “There’s not much we can do about it so there are a lot of folks that are anxious to see what comes down from above.”

USPS employs about 230,000 letter carriers nation wide. If the USPS brass decides to cut its Saturday service, Christensen estimates about 40,000 carriers will be laid off.

For Christensen, that would mean his “Saturday” carrier would be laid off. But that carrier’s title is deceiving. The Saturday carrier also fills in on off-days and vacations for traditional Monday through Friday carriers throughout the week.

“There’s just a lot that’s up in the air right now and we’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” he said.

Bureau Junction postmaster Karen Podobinski said she didn’t have a strong reaction to the news of the USPS’ default, but she wasn’t surprised by it.

“I think they’re still hoping for a bailout for them to refund the overpayment,” she said.

“I think they’re waiting for the House to approve and make some kind of decision. I hear they’re supposed to act on it in September.”

The Bureau post office was on the review list for possible closure, and now it’s expecting to see its hours cut from eight hours a day to four in 2014. Podobinski said there’s supposed to be another town meeting before then to discuss whether to keep the office open with those reduced hours or pursue another delivery system.

Even if the USPS had succeeded in closing some of the less profitable offices it studied over the past year, Podobinski doesn’t think it would have helped their bottom line all that much.

“I don’t think closing the smaller offices is going to cause financial stability within the postal service. I think they have to look at a bigger picture than just doing that,” she said.

Reader Comments



Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012

Article comment by: METALWORKER

Tell me something all you who want a strict use of the constitution. Adhere to what ever it states. Follow it to the letter. Get what I am saying?

Th UISpostal service was established in the constitution. That document gave that job to the congress. So said, would it not ten hold that it would take a constitutional ammendment to get rid of it as the elemination of that unit is not spelled out in that document.

Kida puts all of you strict constructnst in a bind, do it not?

Cain't hardle wait to hear from you ll as it should be intresting. GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012

Article comment by: ErnestTBass

It seems to me that when they would have a problem such as this in the past, they would shorten the window hours. Why would they do that, since that's where all the money is generated. It would seem to me that they would increase the window hours, since most people go to work early in the mornings and get off work around five or six pm. There are Post Offices that have taken their Stamp Machines out of the lobby and that is another source of lost revenue. Just how many Supervisors do they need? Maybe I shouldn't have asked that question. But instead of getting rid of the workers lets start at the top and work down. When you see private companies making deliveries and making a profit, you have to ask the question: What is the USPS doing with the money?

+

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012

Article comment by: MotherEarthSpeaks

To leave out the following information from any report is an omission, and distorts the true situation.

The underlying issue is that:

"A 2006 law has forced the USPS to become the only agency required to fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over just a 10-year span. The American Postal Workers Union says the requirement accounts for 100 percent of the service�s $20 billion in losses over the previous four years, without which the service would have turned a profit. A Democratic-backed measure before Congress would undo the mandate. Republicans meanwhile are trying to push a bill that would establish an unelected board to overhaul the USPS and likely force mass layoffs."

000

  1. Postal Service expects to save $1.3 million a year as sorting center is phased out; postal workers dispute projections



Posted: Aug 12, 2012 5:07 AM Updated: Aug 12, 2012 5:33 AM

By DOUG WILSON

Herald-Whig Senior Writer

Seven Postal Service workers finished their final shifts at the Quincy Mail Processing and Distribution Center last week and have been reclassified as letter carriers.

Quincy area mail, originating in the 623 ZIP code area, started going to Springfield, Ill., for processing on Saturday. The Quincy mail sorting center will continue to handle mail for the 634 and 635 ZIP code areas of Northeast Missouri until February, when that work will be taken over by a processing center in Columbia, Mo.

Another 51 workers will need to transfer elsewhere or take retirement at that time as the Quincy processing facility is closed.

Closing the Quincy site is being touted by the U.S. Postal Service as a move to cut costs and improve efficiency. Postal workers dispute those claims and an official Postal Service report lists the elimination of jobs in Quincy as a savings, even though local workers displaced by the change will be offered jobs within a 50-mile radius and will continue to receive salaries at their current level.

"They say closing this processing center will create $1.3 million in annual savings. There's no possible way," said Vaughn Harshman, president of the American Postal Workers Local 77.

In the 88-page report on the Quincy facility's phase-out, David Williams, vice president of network operations, said 51 sorters and two manager positions will be eliminated in Quincy when the processing center closes. Springfield and Columbia each will need 22 more sorters, resulting in 44 jobs added overall.

Williams' report indicates that will there will be 44 sorters doing the work previously done by 51 sorters -- seven fewer than when Quincy processed mail for 623, 634 and 635 ZIP code areas. But while Quincy will lose two management staff members, Springfield will add three managers and Columbia will add seven managers -- a gain of eight managers from last week's configuration. The report indicates those management jobs are the result of filling positions that are now vacant.

Williams estimates the move to Columbia will cost $240,000 more in the first year of the move from Quincy. After that, the Columbia move is supposed to save $404,000 per year.

The move to Springfield is supposed to save $617,000 in the first year and $906,000 per year after that, according to the report.

Jim O'Connell, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 239 in Springfield, told The State Journal-Register he is confident the Springfield sorting station can handle the average of 472,000 pieces of mail that will be shipped there from Quincy. No new machinery had been shifted to Springfield as of last week.

Overtime remains



Alan Harvey, president of the Quincy branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said five of the seven postal clerks whose jobs were eliminated at the sorting facility last week will be trained to handle carrier routes in Quincy.

"They've held these five routes in Quincy open for several years now. They've been covered by substitute carriers," Harvey said.

"When we heard that they're going to be coming over we thought ‘it's going to work great.' We've been working a lot of overtime because we were five bodies short. We thought the overtime would diminish. Come to find out, we'll lose six carriers who have been called transitional employees ... and we'll still be facing overtime because we'll keep on being five bodies short."

In fact, the cost for carriers will rise. The Level 6 clerks who have done mail processing earn $51,000 a year, plus benefits. Their base salaries are about $24.52 per hour. They will be replacing temporary employees who receive no more than $20 per hour and no benefits.

Harvey expects that overtime costs also will rise as older workers do more physically demanding jobs.

"The (transitional employees) are mostly in their early 20s to early 30s. From what I understand, the clerks who are coming over are in their late 30s to early 40s," Harvey said.

That 10- to 20-year age difference could result in a higher number of sick days and the need for substitutes, said Harvey, who is a letter carrier.

"I've been doing this for 20 years. I see every year my body telling me I can't go what I did last year. The body wears down and can only do so much. Having a younger body helps," he said.

Retirements



Postal Service officials who are overseeing the consolidation or closing of 228 postal processing centers have counted on mass retirements to help save money.

"We have a few people who will retire, but it won't be that many," Harshman said.

Sally Davidow, a spokesperson for the American Postal Workers Union, said many costs of moving operations to new sites and changing operations are not accounted for in official reports.

"We're under the impression that the savings projections are greatly exaggerated," Davidow said.

Retirement forecasts also may be greatly overestimated, because workers who are not yet able to receive Social Security need their jobs.

Under the retirement program established in 1984, civil servants contribute to Social Security and are in a retirement program based on years of service and the highest three years of base pay.

The Level 6 clerks working at the Quincy facility have a base salary of $51,000. If a 55-year-old clerk has a three-year high average salary of $51,000 and has worked 33 years the annual retirement payment would be nearly $17,000. ($51,000 x 0.33 = $16,830) Those who cannot yet receive Social Security are not likely to opt for retirement on about $1,400 per month unless they have other employment.

Participants in an older retirement system could earn up to 80 percent of their highest three-year salary average if they worked at least 42 years. If those workers also have a $51,000 base salary, they would receive $40,800 per year.

Davidow said reports that the Postal Service is losing money due to a decline in mail volume are misguided.

"The primary reason for the funding problems go back to the (2006) vote in Congress that the Postal Service has to prefund (retiree) benefits for the next 75 years and do it in a 10-year period ... at a cost of $5.5 billion a year. That's a payment no other agency in government has to make," Davidow said.

"Congress created this problem. Congress should solve this problem."

Davidow said the drastic cuts such as those in Quincy are not necessary. She believes moving mail sorting to Springfield and Columbia may make next-day delivery difficult. That will give postal patrons less incentive to use the Postal Service.

"When you drive away customers, it's not going to help" the agency's bottom line, she said.

000

Collected by Chairul Anwar, Bandung, Indonesia.

E-mail address :chairulanwar49@operamail.com, chairulanwar49@gmail.com.
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