pieces projected for this year. Although postal
employment (accounting for 80 percent of
the service’s expenses) has been reduced from
804,000 in 2000 to 574,000 today (all through
attrition, according to Donahoe), more positions will have to be dropped. He noted that
another 215,000 employees will be in a position to retire in the next five years.
Interestingly, one of Donahoe’s first steps
in that direction was his announcement in
late March (after our interview) that 7,500
middle- and upper-management positions
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25
to the rank and file ratification of a tentative
agreement that gives the USPS more flexibility in dealing with workplace issues.
Moreover, the APWU has urged Congress to repeal the health benefits pre-funding
sections of the law. “No other private company or government agency is forced to bear
such a burden,” an APWU statement noted
Another big part of the necessary rightsizing of operations will be closing some
of the remaining 32,000 post offices it owns
“The key thing for us,” he said, “is to still provide universal service at a universal price … and dependable service.”
offices based only on financial performance.
“People think we are making this stuff up,”
Donahoe said, “but we aren’t.”
Of course, another controversial opera-
tional step, originally floated by Donahoe’s
predecessor, is moving from six days of deliv-
ery service to five. Donahoe seems to be put-
ting less emphasis on that idea than Potter
did, but he did point out this could eliminate
as many as 50,000 of the current 574,000
Regardless of the steps to be taken,
Donahoe’s optimism, albeit after just three
months in his current role, remains unshaken.
“The key thing for us,” he says, “is to still provide universal service at a universal price …
and dependable service. And I think we can
do that.” C
would be cut and several district offices (not
post offices) would be consolidated. This after
a large reduction in the number of his own
direct reports, something he announced immediately on taking office.
Perhaps it is that kind of signaling to the
vast employee workforce (after Wal-Mart’s,
still the second largest in the country) that
helped accomplish another important step. In
late March, the American Postal Workers
Union (APWU) leadership and collective
bargaining negotiation team recommended
and operates. “All of those are under consideration for some type of consolidation,”
“The major focus has been on the offices
that don’t generate enough revenue to generate more than an hour or so of work in a day,”
he explained. Makes sense. But another one
of those legislative glitches sits in the way.
Because of its Constitutional mandate for
universal service and the fact that the postal
budget is part of the federal budget, the Postal
Service is legally prohibited from closing
CHRIS A. RUSNAK
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