Apparently, there is much spin going on in the wake of our story on Wednesday that the Postal Service is cutting its workforce by 30,000 positions this year.
The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe said he was told by postal officials that this is not correct.
Let’s be clear: There was nothing incorrect about our coverage and I stand by it. Not only that, you can see for yourself exactly what was said.
Federal Times reported this story directly from an editorial board meeting we held with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe on March 9. Donahoe said his goal is to downsize the Postal Service by 30,000 people this year, mostly through attrition. He added that if further reductions-in-force or buyouts are required to reach that number, the Postal Service will use them.
You may watch a video excerpt of Donahoe’s discussion or read the relevant unedited transcript (which follows).
To set up the transcript, Donahoe had just outlined his plans to announce a reduction-in-force on March 25 that will result in the cut of 7,500 administrative, supervisory, managerial and postmaster positions. (Also, by way of set-up, Steve Losey, Tobias Naegele, and Sean Reilly, who are mentioned in the transcript that follows, are members of the Federal Times editorial board.) Here is where the discussion went next:
MR. LOSEY: So as far as risks go, you’re saying there’s nothing beyond the 7,500 that you just detailed; right? Nothing beyond that in the works?
MR. DONAHOE: Well, there’s always something. I mean you have to–as we lose volume, you got to take a look at what you have to do.
MR. NAEGELE: So I mean my question was, as you take out supervisors, one assumes that you’re also looking at all these other things.
MR. DONAHOE: Oh, yeah.
MR. NAEGELE: And you confirmed you’re also looking at all these other things?
MR. DONAHOE: Yeah, absolutely.
MR. NAEGELE: But the end of 2011, how many fewer carriers do you expect to have?
MR. DONAHOE: By the end of 2011, our goal for 2011 is a headcount reduction of 30,000 people.
MR. NAEGELE: Which includes the 7,500?
MR. DONAHOE: Yeah, yeah.
MR. REILLY: And that’s FY11?
MR. DONAHOE: Yeah. We’ll make that.
MR. LOSEY: And how are you going to do that? Is it, are you planning buyouts or early retirements or further RIFs or just attrition?
MR. DONAHOE: Some with attrition. The interesting thing is, and this is, this is why, one of the things that we’ve been trying–the point we’ve been trying to make on the six to five is critical because you have an opportunity now to resolve this without having a real negative effect on employees because we have–right now we have 215,000 people who can either retire through optional retirement or who are eligible for VERA so you’ve got chunk of people who are eligible to go.
It’s always been our approach to try do it through attrition. We haven’t laid anybody off out of all that 234,000. You know, we’ve done it in I think a responsible way.
If we have to have RIFs, we will do that. We have to do what we have to do. I mean it’s, so–and if we need to have an incentive buyout, we may have to do that. That’s not been decided yet, but it’s an option on the table.
I will say the one thing that we will not do is have an organization-wide buyout like a flat across the board. That will not happen.