USPS OIG: Parsing Labor Costs

By its very nature, the U.S. Postal Service is a labor-intensive organization. In fact, labor makes up three-quarter of total postal costs — or $57 billion.

Controlling these costs is essential to the long-term viability of the postal system. That’s why our latest white paper attempted to determine where labor costs are increasing, where they have shrunk, and how have they changed over the past 10 years.

First, the good news. Between fiscal years 2009 and 2018, overall labor costs fell 14 percent when adjusted for inflation, although mail volume declined 17 percent. At first blush, it might seem labor costs should have dropped more dramatically given this decline in mail. That is, aren’t fewer workers needed if the workload is getting smaller?

Well, there are reasons costs won’t always decline in lockstep with volume. For one, some costs don’t change much in response to changes in mail volume. For example, mail carriers need to cover their entire route regardless of the amount of mail in their bag. In addition, delivery points are growing even as mail volumes are declining. And more delivery points often mean more carrier costs – a dichotomy that will require strategic cost-control initiatives.

Other areas of concern:

  • Rural carrier costs are increasing, due to the large increase in the number of rural delivery points. Managing rural delivery costs in the face of declining volumes will be a big challenge for the Postal Service.
  • Overtime costs increased substantially in all major labor categories, and this area requires additional attention.
  • Labor costs and use of overtime varied over the country. This is an area where additional study may lead to lessons learned that can be applied to the higher cost areas.

What ideas do you have on containing labor costs? What other costs or areas should be analyzed?


CONTINUE READING AT » USPS Office of Inspector General
Subscribe
Notify of
23 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Ummmmm. No mention of management costs? Really?

You hit the nail on the head

Rural carriers are delivering a lot of heavy packages for Amazon and driving down long driveways. Thirty seconds per parcel is not fair compensation for the work they do. While you report that the mail volume is down, rural carriers are saying that their work load is much, much heavier than it was five years ago. They are doing far more work for basically the same pay they used to get before the time that the postal service got overburdened by Amazon.

Nobody that writes this stuff has a clue as to what the volume of HEAVY Amazon packages we have to deliver. If you can even fit all the packages in the vehicle without having to make a second trip…Good luck!

With the Amazon shift parcels will be down 30% and we wonder why the USPS lost eight billion last year?

Cut out excess of higher ups with useless jobs. Utilize rca’s more hire some d#### rca’s. Make Post Master’s do their job. Instead of reading books and playing games on phone. There you go. Money saved!

Eliminate local postmaster positions. Usps has 1 sup for every 6 employees it should be a 1/10 ratio. Then cut their pay 25% Most of these sups are nepotism hires good luck finding them or finding out what they do actually…

It’s always about either nepotism or their extra sexual curricular activity that gets them promoted. It’s not WHAT you know but rather WHO you blow!

Bonus Really Rocket Science Here

Or as my postmaster would say “brain science/rocket surgery” I’m serious

We have an EAS in our district going through lobby trash cans to make sure surveys are being circled

Understaffing is driver of increased overtime. Pesonally during the last Christmas period, i was paid over 40 hours of overtime due to lack of package help. Hire people! Then give them proper training!

How is this accurate in any way when management falsifies time records?

They are indeed ALWAYS falsifying time records and it doesn’t make any difference to the NRLCA.

That’s why I took a pic of an unually heavy day, my p.m. did that one time to me, then never again!

Imagine what Rural Carrier costs would be if they were paid to deliver Amazon!

Imagine what it would be if we were paid as much as UPS to deliver those packages and we had REAL unions.

AND we didn’t have to fuss with a flyer or two and certified,registered,and c.o.d. and tons of junk mail, and scanning up to 200 packages with an ungodly heavy scanner that refuses to scan the delivery con, yet will scan any other barcode super fast…….

I’m glad that Postal management don’t know what they’re doing. I’m going to make over $120,000 cause they read books and play games on the computer. I LOVE IT!!!

You let ups and fedex ship all their excess pkgs to us to deliver. that way they don’t pay overtime to their employees, just give us our 50 cents per pkg. and we pay all the overtime to deliver them. Your plants are processing flats and special mailings that have already been processed. So paying extra to mess them all up on helicopter machines and then all carriers have to take extra time to case them all up in order. Would you like about 50 more money and time wasters? You don’t need more studies talk to your employees and… Read more »

Not sure I’m buying that three quarters of postal costs are labor. Way too many middle management jobs for this to be true…. The Trump administration’s audit of the USPS brought this fact of a bloated management system to light.

We need less overpaid management that don’t have a clue as to what they are doing. That would cut the costs at least 40%

The biggest waste of labor costs is the huge overtime the USPS is paying out year round and this is due to the huge staffing shortages of RCA’s and a unjust pay system imposed on RCA’s. a typical RCA barely makes it 6 months. City offices, RCA’s are overworked at 6 and 7 days a week and forced to work every Saturday and Sunday (Amazon) therefore not being able to have a life. Rural offices can barely schedule a RCA more than 3 days a week (less than 40 hours) for which they are paid only evaluated time thus ending… Read more »