Struggling to regain solvency, top U.S. Postal Service officials have unveiled another labor cost reduction plan.
The USPS is offering a one-time payment of up to $10,000 to 3,097 postal service workers if they exercise an early voluntarily retirement option.
The pitch is more than likely an attempt to mitigate the anticipated pain of the agency’s plan to eventually cut local postmaster positions throughout the U.S. and again reduce retail storefront hours.
That initiative — dubbed Post Plan — is not finalized and full implantation has been pushed back to Jan. 10, 2015. Some postmasters will have their jobs replaced by part-time career employees or non-career employees.
Some cuts in hours have already been made — nearly 10,000 post offices reduced retail hours. Not every post office has been impacted yet.
There are about 3,200 post offices that are still being evaluated as to whether it would be financially prudent to cut their hours and positions.
The voluntarily buyouts and early retirement offers are not new to postmasters, supervisors and workers. The agency has made similar offers in recent years as it contends with increased debt and an inability to turn a profit.
The agency had losses of $3.8 billion in 2009; $8.5 billion in 2010; $5.1 billion in 2011; and $15.9 billion in 2012. Meanwhile, mail volume declined 25 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to the agency’s five-year business plan, which was released in April.
Over the years, the agency has drastically cut its workforce, trimming nearly 200,000 positions.