In congressional testimony, postmaster general mentions plans for departure incentives


The focus of a congressional hearing last week was on the U.S. Postal Service’s desire to create its own employee health insurance plan. But Postmaster General Pat Donahoe also had something intriguing to say about the possibility of some kind of employee buyout program. Asked by one lawmaker whether he had any plans or suggestions to “incentivize” retirement for workers who are eligible to leave, Donahoe said this (according to a transcript):

“We do plan on issuing some incentives based on the fact that we make some changes in our operations. As we shrink the network, as we move from six- to five-day delivery, we would put some incentive money to move people along. It’s critical for us to move the headcount down. But at the same time, we’ve got a lot of non-career people on the that are less expensive to work with but they’re also younger people. And if we — if we had to take them off of workforce, they would end up unemployed and I don’t want to do that.”

By asserting that the mail carrier plans to proceed with incentives, Donahoe appeared to go beyond previous statements by USPS officials. At the same time, he seemed to tie incentives to the Postal Service’s getting a green light to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and take other controversial economy moves. Asked later for clarification, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said “we’re in discussions with our union and management associations on the incentive issue and have nothing to announce at this time.”

And lest anyone need a reminder, congressional resistance to much of the Postal Service’s downsizing agenda remains fierce. In a bipartisan letter to House leaders released yesterday, for example, more than 100 lawmakers voiced opposition to five-day delivery and closing rural post offices.

“We recognize the need for USPS to restructure its business model,” they wrote, “but believe that we must not be rushed into false choices which could accelerate the decline of the Postal Service, with negative impacts both for our constituents and the trillion-dollar private sector mailing industry which depends on the Postal Service.”


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  1. NALC: April 12 Demonstrations to Save America’s Postal Service
    April 3, 2012 by postal
    Filed under: NALC, postal, postal reform 
    On April 12, the National Association of Letter Carriers will hold “Save America’s Postal Service” demonstrations outside of Senate offices across the country. They are designed to put pressure on each senator to support S. 1789.
    S. 1789 likely will be brought up in the Senate following the Easter recess, the week that follows the April 12 demonstrations. The timing and impact of these events will be critical in helping us to pass S. 1789 and save America’s Postal Service.
    If S. 1789 were to pass, the bill would help the Postal Service by:
    Saving six-day mail delivery.
    Saving door-to-door mail delivery.
    Fully addressing the Postal Service’s pre-funding requirement.
    Offering 25k and other Incentives for Early Retirements,which will alleviate the ongoing excessing due to Office closures.
    These events are meant to engage the public through the use of speeches, handouts and demonstrations to make our voices heard, we ask the PMG, “What is holding up the VERA’s?
    The Postal Service has a wide variety of supporters, many of whom may wish to participate in your “Save America’s Postal Service” demonstration, including small-business owners who use the mail to advertise, veterans groups, local elected officials, labor union members, faith leaders, and progressive allies who have concerns for the plight of working men and women, and offer these workers decent retirement Incentives in April , 2012.


  3. YOOHOOO…anybody home???

    Why doesn’t the PO wakeup & offer a reasonable or better incentive than what has been offered in the past to get the oldies (but goodies) out & make room for the newbies with less bennies (sorry newbies…it’s the sign of the times)!!!

    Why doesn’t Congress wakeup & realize we don’t need Saturday deliveries?!?

    AND…reduce Postal Executives pay…how dare them throw the worker bees under the bus while their rolling in the dough!!! SHAME ON THEM!!!!

  4. you want more incentives for years you have not worked. you people dopn’t know what work is. you should have worked for the post office in the 60’s and 70’s when you had to really work. back then eveything was in sacks that had to be manually moved. now everything is on wheels. you carriers don’t know what it means to carry mail.

  5. Postmaster General John E. Potter recently warned that economic times are so dire that the U.S. Postal Service may end mail delivery one day a week and freeze executive salaries. But his personal fortunes are nonetheless rising thanks to 40 percent in pay raises since 2006, a $135,000 bonus last year and several perks usually reserved for corporate CEOs.

    The changes, approved by the Postal Board of Governors and contained in a little-noticed regulatory filing in December, brought Mr. Potter’s total compensation and retirement benefits to more than $800,000 in 2008. That is more than double the salary for President Obama.

  6. We don’t need Mon-Fri delivery either. If you are eligible to retire why should you be given a monetary incentive? Be carefull what you wish for. Every day you stay at the PO is one more day you will NEVER get back.

  7. James Feynman on

    The legislators said: “We recognize the need for USPS to restructure its business model,” they wrote, “but believe that we must not be rushed into false choices…”

    In other words, yes there is a problem but we don’t want you to actually DO anything about it!

    This is the kind of mealy-mouthed nonsense that got us into so much trouble in the first place.

  8. So he wants to get all these career employees who have given years of service to the PO to “move along” but the non career employees that just walked in the door can’t be put on unemployment. Wow thanks for showing your loyalty to all of us that have delivered through rain, sleet, snow, hip and knee surgeries, dog bites and on and on. Maybe Donahoe and the hundreds of VPs making more than the head of the Dept of Defense should set an example for the rest of us and lead the way out the door.

  9. I agree with the comment with the letter carriers comment. I find myself in the same boat. April 3 rd testimony to the committee by Donahoe demonstrates his vile disregard for doing the right thing. Speaking as though he is only considering concessions if the postal service is allowed to dismantle the network in an election year is pious. Think Mr. Donahoe, allowing 30 yr. plus career employees under CSRS to leave, on paper, is the way to achieve most of the 35,000 employees to leave. I’d clean out my locker in an instant for that less expensive non-career employee. Great politics in an election year…..

  10. twinkster@west market on

    Hey I’am a letter carrier with 23 years, and 9 years military service to my credit. My problem is that I’am only 54 years old and I am under FERS. The way that this job has changed (for the worst) please let me out also. I can remember when I used to love my job as a mail carrier, but that was so long ago. Whom ever is making the decisions for this great institution, should really consider the travesty that they are about to perpetuate on the American people. Where will all the veterans work when they are finished with the war? It looks to me that no one cares, not the president, not the senate, not the congress, and certainly not the post master. Here we go again rich folks making decisions for everyone else. Whose interest do they really have at heart?

  11. HR2309 and S1789 attack on Postal Emploees
    I understand that HR2309 will be on the House Floor sometime this August
    .Just because Issa made considerable profits as a business owner doesn’t qualify him to dictate how the Post Office should be run particularly when his solutions promoted as saving the Post Office, if enacted, would do the exact opposite.
    If Issa wants to save the USPS he should look at what expenses can be deleted without disrupting the service.
    #1. The Postal Accountable and Enhancement Act needs to be rescinded. In 2006 the PAEA ,signed by Bush, mandated that the USPS fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10. As the USPS was solvent before the PAEA (HR6407) was passed it stands to reason that the USPS would once again become solvent if this law was rescinded.
    #2. Overpayments the USPS has made to the Civil Service Retirement Service should be returned.
    #3. Overpayments the USPS made to FERS need to be retrieved.
    #4. Charge more for delivering UPS parcels that UPS has the Post Office deliver to places they don’t.
    #5. Adjust the ratio of managers to workers .
    But Issa, in HR2309 hasn’t proposed that any of these things .
    Issa’s solution is to cut the workforce by at least 100,000. Issa’s solution is to weaken the unions, so that Postal Workers’ wages and benefits would depend on a separate board when a contract wasn’t agreed upon by the USPS and a union.
    This is a case where Issa’s cure would cause the death of the USPS as a public service and have it revived as a business with lower paid workers, higher rates and less service.

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