Cutting 64 million work hours would save about $3 billion in labor costs. That equates to about 33,000 jobs. It may be the largest cost-cutting operation ever attempted by the Postal Service. Every employee, every craft is affected.
According to the Washington Post, Mr. DeJoy “has told associates he was brought in to stem the Postal Service’s losses and that drastic changes were needed to make the agency solvent. He is determined to stay the course and make wholesale changes after the election, according to an associate who spoke with him recently.”
In addition to all the changes we saw taking place in July, these additional changes, reports The Post may include the following:
- transporting more mail via trucks and trailers rather than airplanes (which would require relaxing service standards);
- raising package rates, particularly when delivering the last mile on behalf of big retailers like Amazon;
- setting higher prices for service in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico;
- curbing discounts for nonprofits;
- leasing space in Postal Service facilities to other government agencies and companies.
Other changes that may be announced after the election include:
- relaxing service standards to make it easier to make all the other changes (which would definitely require requesting an advisory opinion from the PRC);
- consolidating more mail processing plants (which has been facilitated by the removal of the sorting machines);
- making more aggressive efforts to switch customers from home delivery to cluster boxes (which helps reduce letter carrier work hours);
- outsourcing more elements of the transportation network (a new program called Surface Transportation Center Redesign involves contracting out to private companies, including a new STC in Orlando);
- putting “Alternative Delivery and Access Points” in big box stores like Staples and Target (which will allow postal customers to pick up and drop off packages at participating stores and thereby decrease traffic at post offices and make it easier to cut window hours).
The Postal Service may try to move on some of these changes after the election without going through an advisory opinion, but the plaintiffs in those lawsuits and the federal judges presiding over them will be watching. As will we all.