IG: USPS Underusing Plan Intended to Cut Labor Costs

May 29, 2013

The U.S. Postal Service is not taking full advantage of a union-approved plan intended to cut labor costs, a new inspector general audit shows.

In a contract ratified in May 2011, the American Postal Workers Union, which represented almost 205,000 clerks, mechanics and other USPS employees, agreed to create two new classes of workers: Non-traditional full-time (NTFT) employees who work between 30 and 48 hours per week, with start times and days off subject to weekly change; and non-career postal support employees (PSE) who earn much less than career workers and have no guaranteed regular hours.

The two new categories are supposed to help the Postal Service cut labor costs and let managers use workers more efficiently. They were one reason that Postmaster General Pat Donahoe predicted at the time that the contract would save some $3.8 billion over its 4 1/2-year lifespan.

But while the mail carrier’s reliance on such employees has been growing, the numbers were still well below what the contract allowed, according to the audit.

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