Demise of the US Postal Service

Discussion in 'Politics' started by saturneptune, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    I have worked for various federal agencies over the last 36 years and am retiring Oct 30th. My last job is repairing mail sorting equpiment for the US Postal Service.

    It would be interesting to get your perspective on its future. The Postal Service must get certain legislation through Congress soon (some before the end of Sept) to survive. The three major pieces of legislation are:
    1. Go to five day delivery.
    2. Give the Postal Service the authority to close small town post offices not producing revenue and/or consolidate plants and branches that give duplicate service.
    3. Give the Postal Service monetary relief for three years in the form of lessening the payment to the fund that finances the health care premiums of future retirees. They would have to make it up the next three years.

    None of these would cost any tax dollars. What do you think? Do you like the Postal Service? Should it survive? Do you object to five day delivery or the other pieces of legislation?

    The three main reasons for the downturn in volume are the economy, internet communication and bill paying, and antiquated management and labor unions. For example, in private industry, the ratio of manager to worker is 21 to 1. At the Postal Service, it is 9 to 1. Pay and benefits need to be reformed, as it is 70% of the postal budget.

    One other point. If the postal service ceases to exist, it is not just the 600,000 postal jobs. The jobs that depend on the Postal Service amounts to a few million.

    Any comments appreciated.
     
  2. Johnv

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    The USPS needs to change with the times, and, criticism in hand, they have done a reasonable job attempting to do so. I think these are three great ways for the USPS to continue to evolve. Reducing the delivery of mail to 5 days per week is completely reasonable.

    Closing down small town post offices not producing revenue is also a good idea. I have four post offices within a 5 mile drive. Incredibly convenient, but unnecessary, especially given the fact that you can do almost everything via their website, including ordering stamps, requesting a package pickup, and tracking priority orders. And these services dont'cost any more to do online.
     
  3. webdog

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    I think it was funny when Obama compared gov't run health care with the USPS, and how FedX and UPS are doing fine while competing with the USPS. Makes me all warm and fuzzy that the gov't health care will be just fine!

    I'm all for 5 day delivery, as long as they do not interfere with me paying bills on time. The continued rise in postage is aggravating, almost .50 to mail a single letter...crazy.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    Fine, but probably won't save that much.

    As long as everyone has reasonable access to a post office, fine.

    Bad idea. If they can't make hte payments now, they sure won't be able to make it in three years when revenue will be less, most likely.

    The three things above do not address any of this. These are, IMO, the real problems.

    But let's face it. Why should I mail a check for $.46 when I can do it online for free? USPS has priced themselves out of the market, in some ways. They are not that much cheaper than UPS or FedEx, and they are not as reliable. Every UPS or FedEx package is trackable. USPS are not. You have to pay extra for too much stuff. It is a bad business model.
     
  5. saturneptune

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    I totally agree with post except for one point. If you do not think the three reasons listed are the reason for the downturn of the Postal Service, (from private market research companies) then what do you think is the reason? I am referring to the three reasons for the down turn, the economy, internet, and the business model (management and union)
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Perhaps I was unclear. I think those are reasons (among others). But the three things before Congress doesn't address any of that. In other words, the three acts of Congress won't solve the problem. It will, at best, prolong the insolubility.
     
  7. Johnv

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    Think of it. Less than 50 cents to mail a letter anywhere in the country? That's not a bad deal. On top of that, it gets to its destination in an average of 1.5 days. That's a pretty darned good deal.

    The USPS frequently gets maligned, and it's often overexaggerated. Obma comparing potential health care to the USPS is rather inconsistent. If Obama were to compare it with, say, public education, that might be a better comparison.
     
  8. saturneptune

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    OK, then I agree. These are only temporary solutions. When the economy comes back, the mail will not. There is going to have to be some thinking outside the box for survival, whether it be new products, new management that can change, and reforming pay and benefits. The constant war between management and union must change to a partnership.
     
  9. exscentric

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    I personally will not set foot in a post office unless forced to by circumstance. Our service has been so terrible for years it is a pure hassle to go in.

    They are not interested in postal theft. Saw a woman going through a package she had stolen, called 911 and they said the post office takes care of that, went over and they were not interested in pictures of the woman.

    I can't keep carriers from walking through and damaging the yard, we get other people's mail constantly and I cannot trust the information they give me at the counter.

    I asked if there were any price increases coming, they assured me none so I bought four rolls of stamps and a month later they announced a rate increase leaving me to buy more stamps to add to the wrong valued ones and that wasn't bad enough they had another raise before I got that bunch used up :tonofbricks:

    Runs in my mind in the old days, just a little past the pony express, they only did five day delivery. I think the 6 days a week started back in the fifties or so.

    We only have four offices in the capital of OR, one main and three small ones that are totally understaffed.

    One of them mentioned that they are running with cutbacks and are very poorly staffed.
     
  10. saturneptune

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    It is an excellent deal and excellent service. However, you have to have the volume to justify the present model. It is not there. For example, sometimes on the midnight shift (11pm-7am), it used to take the entire shift to prepare the mail for the carriers. Now, I have seen everyone done at 4 to 5 am on lots of days.
     
  11. saturneptune

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    Buying a roll of forever stamps all the time solves that problem. You are correct about the staffing at windows. They have cut to be bare bones, which is a mistake IMO for serviceing the public. We have long lines where I work.
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    Not really. Consider that for about $20-30 a month, you can send the same letter and have there in seconds. For the cost of a phone line and a fax machine, you can make it a hard copy.

    Overall, mail service is not that good for modern society. It was good in its time, but it's time has passed in many ways.
     
  13. Johnv

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    That's not an adequate comparson. You can't send the same letter, you can only send a copy. It's a true case of apples/oranges.
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    I guess it depends on what you mean by "letter." If you mean "piece of paper," then yes, you can't send the same one. But the last thing I need is more pieces of paper around my house. If by "letter" you mean communication with words written down, then yes, you can send the same letter.

    Email is not the same as postal mail to be sure, but even email is so twentieth century now.

    The USPS is just not that good of a deal for what you get, and it probably isn't worth improving giving modern technologies. It should not cost nearly $.50 to mail a letter. That's one reason I quit doing it. All things equal, I would rather write checks then send personal information over the internet. But it is too expensive.
     
  15. Johnv

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    You're probably right. I should probably cost more. I can't find anyone else who will do it for the same price or less than USPS.
     
  16. donnA

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    in our rural area the next post office might be 20 miles.
    if the mail arrives it is often shredded with contents missing, and I once had a letter take 1 year to arrive to the destination, in this country, that I mailed it too. I have never recieved a letter in 1.5 days unless it was mailed in my town. With all the art trading I did for 2 years I found these happening frequently, everyother envelope I mailed or recieved was shredded, and half those were empty, none took 1.5 days, and frequently took 4 or 5 days. So what I got for my money I got ripped off, especially since our art were all one of a kinds, hand done.
    I get mail belinging to people not even on this mail route all the time, and if the employees can't read the name of the street is wrong they shouldn't be delivering mail at all, becasue I get mail for the other raod at least once a week. I always put it back in the box with a naote, makes me wonder how many of my missing pieces of mail were left at someone elses box and they did not put it back in the box. We are getting very shoddy service for what we're paying.
     
  17. saturneptune

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    Since I do not know where you live, I have no idea why your mail was taking so long or why it was getting ripped so often. I assume you live in a smaller town, maybe not as small as Lone Oak where I live in Kentucky, but if you have a post office there, if you did not already, you should complain to the local postmaster.

    As far as whether you local post office would be closed, that would have to be determined after the legislation passes, if it ever does. Congress is all tied up in health care now. If the do close your post office, your mail will be delivered as a route out of some nearby post office.
     
  18. donnA

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    already complained, many times postal service does not care, the envelope was paid for thats all that matters. how and when it arrives matters not.
    we are about 2500 +/- a few.
    if they close rural post offices people will ahve to travel to get to the post office to mail stuff, or buy stamps. You can not trust the carriers to actually bring you stamps. they do not carry stamps, and you have to leave a note and money in the box, they are supose to bring them the next day, but I once had to wait a week and got them only becasue I called and complained.

    Did I forget to mention there for about 6 months we got our mail after 6pm everyday, and some days not at all. and no it wasn't becasue we didn't get anything, no on got mail, and no one got mail picked up either.
     
  19. saturneptune

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    Your town is bigger than mine, although I do live near Paducah, a town of about 25,000. I am very sorry to hear about the sad state of affairs with your delivery service. My guess is about the late runs of mail to your house after 6 pm is that they cut carriers to the bone, and when someone calls in sick or goes on vacation, they have carriers delivering double routes or skipping them all together on a given day. One of the problems that is rampant in the Postal Service is promotions. Lots of promotions are awarded not for ability, but because the individual could not do their craft job, and they stuck them in a management slot. The other fact is that there is no minimum education requirement for promotion, and usually results in people with no leadership or people skills. Lots of managers are old school and cannot think outside the box to match changing market conditions. This is not a local problem.
     
  20. JohnDeereFan

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    In the same sentence where he condemned monopolies in the private sector, no less! What he conveniently forgot to mention is that the USPS holds a monopoly on 1st and 2nd class mail.
     

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