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Department & Division News

Lower Standards, Significant Mail Delays, Impact on Workers

OIG Recommends Putting a Hold on Plant Closures

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

APWU predictions that lower service standards would wreak havoc on mail delivery were substantiated in a “Management Alert” issued by the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Aug. 13.

According to the alert, the Postal Service failed to meet even the degraded service standards management implemented on Jan. 5, 2015. The amount of mail that failed to meet delivery targets in the first six months of the year increased 48 percent over the same period last year – despite the new, more relaxed standards.

The OIG recommended that management postpone implementation of Phase II of its consolidation plan until the USPS stabilizes delivery. In preparing the report, the OIG examined EXFC (External First Class) Measurement System scores, which calculate the time it takes first-class mail to reach its destination and compares the results to USPS standards.

EXFC scores declined as much as 6.71 percent for two-day service right after the revisions were implemented, compared to the same period in 2014. EXFC scores for three-day service plummeted as much as 38.6 percent. (The service standard changes eliminated overnight service for single-piece first-class mail.)

“The impact on employees was significant,” the alert noted. Many employees’ start times and days off changed as a result of the expanded operational window, which led to a decrease in differential pay for those that moved from the night shift to the day shift.

“Many of these employees have been assigned to new supervisors and new jobs,” it continued. More than 15,000 employees could be re-assigned in Phase II consolidations, the report noted.

“The Postal Service can only survive if it expands and improves service,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “The strategy of reducing service and depriving the people of the timely delivery of mail, packages and prescriptions is doomed to fail.

“The Postal Service is a national treasure that belongs to the people. It’s time to give customers the outstanding service they deserve, and to protect postal employees.”