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U.S. Postal Service to Stop Paying Into Pension Fund

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posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:15 AM

U.S. Postal Service to Stop Paying Into Pension Fund

The U.S. Postal Service, facing insolvency without approval to delay a $5.5 billion payment for worker health benefits, will suspend contributions to an employee retirement account to save $800 million this year.

The $115 million payment, made every other week, will stop on June 24, the statement said.

The Postal Service reported a loss of $8.5 billion in its 2010 fiscal year. It also reported a widening second-quarter loss, to $2.6 billion, on declining volumes of first-class mail.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:15 AM
It was bound to happen sooner or later. the Post Office has been losing substantial money for a very long time and the business model is absolutely unsustainable.

This will be a good indicator of how serious the government will be about cutting costs, since this is a relatively easy problem to fix, either by privatizing the Postal Service or drastically reducing the frequency of mail delivery and where mail is delivered. Millions of people would accept once a week mail delivery and rural folks should be required to either pay extra or get a post office box. Many different options to solve this problem

I predict that nothing will happen other than more of the same old shell game. What ever happens, the unions won't be pleased.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:23 AM
reply to post by dolphinfan

Once a week is a drastic cut, though I'd be ok with it.

Here's a way to cut it in half which I think most people could live with:

Instead of delivering to everybody Mon-Sat, just deliver to half the customers on M-W-F and the other half on Tue-Thu-Sat and presto, you need half as many postal carriers.

If this isn't good enough, there are premium services available (like next day) from Fedex, UPS, or even the USPS.

Regarding pissing off the unions, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Everyone needs to balance their budget, including the USPS.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:34 AM
The first problem is the pay scale. The average salary for a USPS employee is $54,000..................I believe the 2010 number of employees is around 600,000. I think that speaks volumes in itself...........
edit on 22-6-2011 by Cloudsinthesky because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:40 AM
Wow. Some great ideas here. And no partisan finger-pointing.
*cheers* to all of you.

What about (I know it's been said) privatising postal service?

Each state could have it's own company. Just think of the business oppourtunities and spin-offs. I know there is already FedEx and UPS, but local companies? Jobsjobsjobs.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:50 AM
Can you imagine the cost of sending a letter if the USPS was forced to break even annually?

Would $5.00 for a single stamp be enough?

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:56 AM
These pensions have to stop for public employees. Those of us paying for it, don't get nearly the sweet deal.
The party is over. They get out-sized pay, health care and retirement all perpetuated under the meme that
"they must get better benefits to keep them from taking private sector jobs that pay better" LOL

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 11:02 AM
reply to post by Arbitrageur

Take your mail for a month and stack it up and see how much of it is trash. If you're like me it was over 90%. Hell, even the stuff that was important I already receive dups via e-mail.

I also refuse to do business with someone on an on-going basis who can not be paid electronically and have referred two small businesses to a college kid I know who got them on-line. Vote with your feet and don't work with folks who are still sending you paper bills.

It would seem as though an odd alliance of the environmentalists and the fiscal conservatives could unite on a solution here, the environmental impact of junk mail is mind boggling (although the dough made in the paper and recycling businesses are massive and those folks through a lot of dough to politicians).

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 11:10 AM
I'm sorry to offend anyone but I have to say this is something I feel strongly about. My dad has worked with the post office for a long time and I think this is baloney. The biggest issue isn't workers being paid too much, not enough mail all comes down to too many high level "boss" types in the mix. Just like any other job you have the people who work hard (my dad also always says the mail level is about the same as it has always been-at least in this area) and then you have the boss who makes a ton of money, and his boss who makes a ton of money and the boss above them making a ton of money etc. Get rid of some of the higher ups and let these people do their jobs and you'd save a ton of money.

I know people will disagree with me and that's fine but I had to put my two cents in since I've heard my dad and others talk about this so much in the last few years.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 11:18 AM
This is most disturbing news. I am a rural mail carrier for the USPS. I have been working there for 7 years and am still waiting for a full time position. As is, I work 6 days a week, but do not qualify for benefits since I am considered 'part time'. I can tell you the situation is not good there. We have even been recently told to cut back on rubber band usage (which we use to 'bundle' mail before it goes to the street)! I can confirm there has been a drastic reduction in first class mail. It actually only makes up a very small percentage of our volume. Overtime is a strict no-no as a carrier. But yet we have several managers making substantially more for doing little else it seems than making sure we still know how to do our job.
There is also a good chance they will soon reduce the number of days we work during the week. To many this would not seem like a bad thing, however to us carriers (part time more so than regular) this is far from the case.
As a part timer waiting to bid an open route, this means that the one 'guaranteed' day to get hours would be eliminated. This would drastically reduce the number of available hours to those of us who depend on those hours to make our living.

Most of those not 'privy' to the way mail is routed, let me give you a run-down.

Once it leaves your mailbox, your letter (as example) goes back to the annex where all is collected for your area.
From there it is taken to a processing center to be routed to the correct area. This mail is then taken from that processing center, to a local district processing center. It is run through an optical reader at several thousand pieces per minute.
The machine reads the address of said letters and sorts them according to route, which is also sorted by zip code. This 'DPS' as we call it, is loaded into cages and trucked to the correct annex.
Each route gets several trays of 'DPS' each containing 650-700 letters.

At this point, your carrier goes through each piece of mail (magazines, letters, parcels, ect..) one at a time to verify address and name. We organize this mail into a case, which has each name and address in a 1 inch slot.
These cases are in order we drive/walk each route. Aprox. 500-1000+ addresses per route.

We then pull this mail down in reverse order banding sections of mail together. This then, can be loaded into the LLV (Long Life Vehicle 'mail trucks') or personal vehicle depending on route. Btw, the LLV's are rear wheel drive, barely working heat, no AC, no insulation, metal boxes with engines.

From this point, mail is delivered to your home by a carrier who has already worked about 4 or 5 hours+ before you see them. I almost forgot, all of this is timed and "HAS" to be done within specific time constraints.
We are under a great deal of stress to get everything 'perfect' at all times. There is a rule for every piece of mail, and every action in the process. (hence the term 'going postal')

There is of course, much more to the process of the personal carrier via 'special' mail ect, that would simply take too long to explain in one post.

I tell all of you this because if our days are reduced, the workload stays the same. This means we will be doing this process on one day for all accumulated mail in X number of days off. We see this now on a weekend holiday. Where, for example, if there is no mail on Monday, on Tuesday we will be processing Saturday night, Sunday, and Monday's mail. If any of you have done the rough math thus far, I am certain your views and respect for your local carrier has changed.

I would also like to add, we are NOT a government funded institution. We are a separate business entity governed by national mandate. Our funding comes only from you the customer.

Thank you for your time. I hope this has shed some light on what we do for all of you previously uninformed.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 11:22 AM
reply to post by LoveyLadybug

Very true. The craft workers know what they're supposed to do on a daily basis, so they can function with minimal supervision. When I was there we had 3 supervisors in the morning and 2 in the evening as well as a manager who was paid to be at home or come in at his leisure while pulling in 100k/yr. Trim the management and unnecessary jobs that were created over the years and they could have a chance.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 11:47 AM
reply to post by dolphinfan

In Canada they're down to three days a week I believe? Nothing wrong with that I probably get one piece of mail a day, I could deal with 3 day a week mail here in the U.S.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:17 PM

Originally posted by StripedMIB
I tell all of you this because if our days are reduced, the workload stays the same.
My suggestion was, if you're working 6 days, instead of delivering to all the customers on all 6 days, deliver to half the customers on 3 days and deliver to the other half of the customers the other three days.

If you're saying that doesn't reduce the workload, something is wrong with your analysis. I agree it may not cut it exactly in half since the mail does accumulate on the day you don't deliver, as you said. But certainly the expense of going from mailbox to mailbox to make the deliveries is a significant part of the carrier's duties, right? At least that part of the workload would be cut in half, wouldn't it? And carriers could still work 6 days a week, there just wouldn't be a need for as many carriers with half as many mailbox to mailbox delivery visits.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:20 PM
reply to post by StripedMIB

You describe the process as if it is defined and streamlined when it clearly is not. It strikes me as a process that has evolved over time that is considered "the way things are done". The following story might illustrate it:

“Start with a cage containing five apes. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long an ape will go up the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as the ape touches the banana, spray all apes with cold water. After a while, another ape makes an attempt with the same result – all the apes are sprayed with cold water. Then turn off the cold water.

“Now if another ape tries to climb the stairs for the banana the other apes will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them.

Now remove one of the five apes from the cage and replace with a new one. The new ape sees the banana and tries to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the apes attack him. After another attempt he is again attacked. He knows now that if he attempts to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

“Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Again, replace a third of the original five apes with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes that beat him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape. After replacing the fourth and fifth of the original apes there are no longer any apes that have been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the banana. Why not ??

“Because that’s the way it’s always been around here.”

Is there any doubt that were the postal services to be privatized the new entity would not blow the entire thing up and start over? The way the postal service operates is the same way it operated when folks were receiving all of their personal correspondence via paper mail and receiving catalogs from which they did remote shopping. That is obviously no longer the case and the entire model must be rethought.

As far as the business that it is a private enterprise? That has always been nonsense. Who is on the hook for the pensions and on-going benefits? Shareholder or bond holders of the Postal Service? Of course not. The tax payers are on the hook. If the postal service was unable to run a deficit, like a private enterprise, a stamp would cost you $5K. If a stamp cost $5, then someone who was able to deliver mail at $4 would enter the market and compete with the US Postal Service, regardless of the in-roads made by private carriers like UPS, there is still a monopoly on first class mail. A government monolopy.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:42 PM
When they bought all those Xray machines and said they were going to X-ray mail....does anyone think that reduced their customer base?

Military Officers used to be allowed to mail firearms to themselves for example, it was in the Postal Code. Easy way to move their 357 to their next assignment. But since the Xray machines were installed....maybe they figured that was a bad idea and didn't want to risk it even though Postal Code didn't change?

The Post Office did kinda screw itself. Now they have a MASSIVE amount of people needing big retirement checks of which they can't afford.

So this Generation gets punished by only being hired as "temporary" employees...and making far less than those Baby Boomer thieves before them. The Post Office saw this coming and COULD have saved and invested for decades to deal with todays problem.

But they DIDNT.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 02:35 PM
They could simply charge more to send packages. Whenever I send something I always go through the USPS because it's cheaper than going through least from what I've seen. It may not be as fast but certainly less expensive. I don't have price comparisons to share, but I've sent a package through UPS before and it was very pricey...sent nearly the same thing through USPS and it was much cheaper.

If you own a business, UPS gives a discount as well. The size of the discount however I don't know.
edit on 22-6-2011 by David9176 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 04:00 PM
I bet that 95% of all mail they deliver is junk, which pays a much lower fee to be sent. Jack up the price on the spam mailers and they can easily make much more money. I know I only get 2 bills in the mail every month from the city because they refuse to do online bill pay. Every single day I get at least 6 pieces of junk mail, hell the junk mailers have even started sending my 3, 7, and 12 year old kids junk. Every once in a while I pack it all up, send their shredded letters back to them in their prepaid envelopes. Gotta let the post office earn some money I guess.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 04:52 PM
reply to post by Arbitrageur

I am simply stating an opinion as an employee of the postal service. I'm not saying I don't agree with anyone's points. I'm just saying there is much, much more to the process than "most" realize. Also, it does not decrease the amount of Pre-delivery workload, only driving time. Driving time is also increased with volume of mail. It's sort of a 'you have to be there' kind of situation. Now, if we were allowed to work longer days, that may work. On days we are short, a single carrier takes multiple routes and may work very long days of which we are not paid overtime.

Also, while it may sound simple to change things from 'just the way they have always been' there is much more to it than that. Change takes a long time and the system is anything but streamlined. I only expressed it as I did to provide a simple understanding of what we do. There are levels of approval of which I am not a part of. We are also trying to survive as a business. It is hard times for us just as much as any other business. People still need an income, and paper mail as of now is still being sent, therefore makes us necessary. This whole process will cause many to lose their jobs regardless of how you think our system works. Keep in mind when one talks about increasing in postage, everything else is going up in price as well. Food for example. We as employees however, have not received cost of living increases for some time. We are not making more, yet they charge more for postage and we get the criticism because we are the front line. It is a monopoly, but your carrier has little to do with that. I'm not speaking for the post office as a whole, just me and the the carriers that are most affected by changes like this.

I absolutely agree change is necessary within the USPS. I agree that paper mail may go the way of the telegraph and some other institution like UPS could pick up the slack of packages ect. However, forgetting that the people that work there rely on things being done at this point the way they are isn't a particularly compassionate view. Please try to understand I am not arguing with anyone. Only trying to provide perspective. It seems I am being chastised for this. All I want to do people is make a living. I am a single father of two. One of my children may be diagnosed with autism. Things are already hard. Also when you talk about the tax payers paying for us, remember we pay taxes as well. We also pay for postage, no discounts. We are not an omnipotent above the law organization as some may imagine. This is only for those at the top of the company. The rest of us pawns can only do what we are told. Yes, there is a monopoly on first class mail. What would you have me do? I am a pawn, my voice is mute. Once again, I was only expressing my view on the subject. Didn't mean to offend anyone or insinuate that things are perfect.

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