A staff of USPS is seen at the USPS Post Office Terminal Annex, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Ringo Chiu

Dejoy says his plan will save a failing Postal Service

A roll-out of a series of upgrades, and several severe extractions, the once deemed ‘Trump do-boy’ is now crowned the golden child who can resurrect the U.S. Postal Service.

General Postmaster Louis Dejoy has been one of the few Trump Administration appointees to remain in their position and strike some sort of amicable relationship with a Democrat-majority congress.

At the beginning of the Joe Biden Administration, many called for General Postmaster Dejoy’s head. Even to the point of demanding President Biden remove members of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors—the only persons who can terminate a general postmaster—for those who would agree to replace the Trump pick for a Biden choice.

Rather, in a turn of heads, General Postmaster Dejoy continues to preside over the Postal Service and was noted as an integral part of collaborative work on the historic, bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act. Signed into law on April 6, it is designed to rehabilitate the U.S. Postal Services’ flailing business operations. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), the chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee who introduced the act stated that the bill, “coupled” with Dejoy’s ‘Delivering for America’ proposal “modernizes USPS.”

“These long overdue reforms will undo these burdensome financial requirements, save the Postal Service billions of dollars to help prevent future cuts that harm service, and ensure this public institution is accountable and transparent to the American people,” Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wrote in a released statement.

Dejoy’s 10-year plan focuses on the “financial sustainability and service excellence” of the 246 year old organization. “Our business and operating models are unsustainable and out of step with the changing needs of the nation and our customers,” General Postmaster Dejoy and Ronald Bloom, chair of the Board of Governors compelled in a joint letter.

However, a questionable strategy is General Postmaster Dejoy’s plans to shave off 50,000 federal post office jobs. “Right now, to get to break even, I think we may need to get 50,000 people out of the organization,” he said in a talk at an American Enterprise Institute event in late July.

Further explaining, he assured his plans are “okay” because “over the next two years, 200,000 people [will] leave the organization for retirement.” 

Nonetheless, it is unclear if General Postmaster Dejoy wants to immediately remove employees, or will their elimination be a part of the expected coming wave of retirees?

What is apparent, General Postmaster Dejoy has been propped up to spearhead efforts in resuscitating an institution fraught with as many political woes, as it has financial issues. Amid congressional appeals to have him removed, members of the Board of Governors, some of them Democrats, majorly opposed the action. Since, President Joe Biden has replaced several board members, while attempting to not totally destabilize Postal Service leadership.

Ran off of revenue from “the sale of postage, products and services,” the Postal Service sits at the center of a “$1.6 trillion United States mailing industry, which employs more than 7.3 million people.” In the 10-year plan, Dejoy prepares to tackle USPS’ problems through several key upgrades listed in their highlights:

  • Preserves affordable, six-day mail and expands seven-day package delivery
  • Generates $24 billion in net revenue in part from enhanced package delivery services for business customers, including same-day, one-day and two-day delivery offerings
  • Improves cash flow to allow for investment of $40 billion in workforce, new vehicles, improved Post Offices, technology improvements, and infrastructure upgrades
  • With congressional support accelerates move to an electric delivery vehicle fleet
  • Adjusts select delivery standards to improve efficiency and reliability
  • Enhances customer experience via new suite of consumer and small business tools
  • Stabilizes workforce with a goal of cutting non-career employee turnover in half, and creating more opportunity for growth including more predictable progression into career workforce
  • Aligns pricing to reflect market dynamics
  • Asks for bipartisan legislation in Congress to repeal the retiree health benefit pre-funding mandate and to maximize future retiree participation in Medicare
USPS processing plant: Photo credit: USPS twitter page
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One General Postmaster strategy is to consolidate processing facilities from several hundred annexes and modest-sized centers to several dozen mega-centers throughout the country. 

“Our current processing plant and transportation network is, well, not good. We process mail and packages in a complicated, illogical, redundant, and inefficient way,” argued the postmaster who believes that the numerous sites adds more financial strain to the organization because it requires multiple routes and pick ups. However, he guarantees that the reduction in processing facilities will not impact the number of employees. 

“We’re going to be a hiring organization,” reassured General Postmaster who said their priority will be on retaining employees.

But last year, his move to consolidate 18 facilities was seen as “a slap in the face of postal workers” by Mark Dimondstein, the president of 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union.

“Management as of yet has not provided the union any impact statements on how these changes will affect the workforce, whether there is any planned excessing of employees, or whether some of these facilities will be ‘repurposed’ to address the changing mail mix,” APWU said.

Another part of ‘Delivering for America,’ is to provide a massive upgrade to its fleet of vehicles. Replacing delivery trucks that are almost 30 years old, General Postmaster proposes to move to more updated standards.

Oshkosh Defense, a company that builds military vehicles, agreed to a contract with an initial $482 million of a multi-billion dollar deal. Over the next 10 years, they will manufacture between 50,000 to 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) for package and mail delivery. While the likes of GM Ford bid for the contract, Oshkosh Defense used Oshkosh, Wisconsin autoworkers to advocate for the opportunity. Once they nabbed the business, they announced that they would be building the cars at a non-unionized plant in South Carolina. The state will also offer $9 million in grants and a four-decade tax break.

Initial project plans showed that 10 percent of the vehicles would be green. To contest, earlier this year, a collective of environmental groups and labor unions sued alleging the Postal Service, under General Postmaster Dejoy, signed a contract without performing an environmental review. In July, it was announced that now 40% of its new delivery vehicles will be electric. Vehicles are scheduled to start rolling out as early as 2023.

While it is a win for environmental activists, Oshkosh residents are expected to procure about 100 desk jobs to the expected more than 1,000 factory gigs.

In all, General Postmaster Dejoy is aiming to “meet or exceed 95 percent network-wide, on-time delivery” in the USPS facelift.

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