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The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse (USPS)
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The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse (USPS)

  #31 (permalink)
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Zondor View Post
from former U S Representative Alan Grayson regarding the audit of the Fed that he and Ron Paul demanded:

here's another source:

https://futures.io/news-current-events/15768-not-bad.html

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  #32 (permalink)
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I read that legislation was passed a few years back that forced the Post Service to make extremely large payments forward into pensions and healthcare benefits for employees who have yet to be hired. . It would seem that without this payment obligation - something no other entities are required to fund similarly - that the net financial position of the postal service would still be positive.

Ulitmately it will probably go the way of milkman, typewriter repair, gas station mechanic, etc, etc. But it seems that someone who is trying to speed up the process. It is still unfortunate that letter writing is could end. It is our oldest form of media. There is still something personal about putting pen to paper and then sending it off that you do no experience with digital transmission as efficient as it is. With letters time slows down for a while. I think we can all use that once in a while. Receiving a handwritten letter to me feels more like a gift. . It is a totally different dynamic. Letters are our true archive of history. Digital records could vanish in a heartbeat.

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  #33 (permalink)
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Postal plants to shrink, 28,000 jobs at stake by 2014


The U.S. Postal Service announced on Thursday it's moving forward with a $2.1 billion cost-savings plan to consolidate postal plants over the next two years, with consolidations starting in July.

The cuts will be limited in 2012, with 48 plants slated to be consolidated or closed in July and August, which will only impact 5,000 employees. However, when the plan is fully implemented at the end of 2014, 229 plants will be consolidated or closed and 28,000 jobs will be gone.

To customers, the consolidation plans will mean slower mail delivery for the most commonly sent mail -- but not until 2014. Overnight service is being phased out, but agency officials say letters being sent locally should still just take a day through the end of 2013.

Even with the slower delivery, they say that 80% of first-class mail, which most consumers use, will continue to be delivered on time in 2012.

"These changes are a necessary part of the plan to reduce costs and return the Postal Service to financial stability," said Megan Brennan, chief operating officer for USPS.

Rural post offices spared

Last week, the Postal Service announced it was pulling back on plans to close thousands of rural post offices, saying these post offices would instead offer shorter hours.

The Postal Service also reported a $3.2 billion loss for the three months of 2012 ended March 31, which was due to the recession, declining mail volume and a congressional mandate to prefund retirement health care benefits.

The health care mandate is a major liability for the Postal Service, which doesn't have the cash to make a $5.5 billion payment that's due in August.

Unions say the health care payments are the main cause of the Postal Service's financial problems and should be eliminated instead of plant closures and service delays, which could turn more customers away.

"The Postal Service's actions are the best evidence there is that union members must contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to address postal reform immediately, using the recently approved Senate bill as a starting point for discussion," said Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union.

The Senate plan would spare about 100 plants from consolidation. The House doesn't have such a measure in its bill, which the full House has yet to consider.

Senators called upon the House to move forward on legislation to save the USPS. The Senate plan, which passed last month, would allow the Postal Service access to $12 billion in overpayments in retirement accounts, while postponing health care retirement payments.

"It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Postmaster General is moving forward to reduce costs with the limited tools at his disposal," said Sen. Thomas Carper, a Delaware Democrat and one of the authors of the Senate bill. "Now it's up to the House to pass a bill."

However, the House isn't likely to tackle Postal Service legislation until this summer at the earliest.

The list of 48 plants to be closed in July and August won't be released until later Thursday afternoon, postal officials said.

The Postal Service is, by law, an "independent establishment" of the executive branch. The agency doesn't normally use tax dollars for operations, but it has a $12 billion loan from Treasury to stem the tide until it can get back in the black.


Postal plants to shrink, 28,000 jobs at stake by 2014 - Yahoo! Finance

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  #34 (permalink)
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U.S. Postal Service offers buyouts to 45,000 workers

(Reuters) - The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service will offer buyouts this summer to nearly all of its 45,000 mail handlers, part of a plan to consolidate operations at 140 mail-processing facilities in the next year.

The mail agency, which lost $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2012, plans to begin this summer moving mail-processing activities away from smaller sites to reduce annual costs.

As part of that plan, the Postal Service will offer $15,000 in two installments to full-time mail handlers who take early retirement or leave the agency, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said on Friday.

Mail handlers are workers who load trucks and move mail containers between processing operations. Part-time employees also will be eligible for separation incentives in amounts based on the number of hours they work.

"The agreement with the Postal Service is intended to provide a financial cushion, and added peace of mind, for mail handlers who might be prepared to move on to the next chapter of their lives by leaving the Postal Service," the National Postal Mail Handlers Union said on its website.

The Postal Service has been hit hard by tumbling mail volumes as more Americans communicate online and by massive payments for future retiree health benefits. The agency has asked Congress to let it end Saturday delivery and make other changes. In the meantime, USPS officials have been looking for ways to cut costs.

The agency needs to reduce its workforce by 150,000 people by 2015, Saunders said. Consolidating and closing processing facilities, which will continue through 2014, could eliminate up to 28,000 jobs and save $2.1 billion a year, the Postal Service has said.

Saunders said he could not speculate how many mail handlers would take buyouts this year, but added that the change "will not affect mail service."

The Postal Service also has said it will offer buyouts to more than 21,000 postmasters this year. Postal officials scrapped a plan to close thousands of money-losing post offices and instead, will reduce hours at 13,000 of the nation's smallest offices.


U.S. Postal Service offers buyouts to 45,000 workers - Yahoo! Finance

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  #35 (permalink)
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Source: The Consumerist The Postal Service Is ThisClose To Defaulting For The First Time Ever


Quoting 
The United States Postal Service is again standing on the edge of disaster with a looming Aug. 1 deadline to escape defaulting. If Congress doesn't do something soon, said a spokesman, the USPS won't be able to make a legally required annual $5.5 billion payment into a health-benefits fund for future retirees.

If it does default, it would be the first time ever in the USPS' long history. Congress probably won't come to the rescue, as the House is preparing to leave for its August recess, notes the Wall Street Journal.

The good news is that a default on the payment, which is for 2011, won't affect services or the agency's ability to pay employees and suppliers. Howcver, "these ongoing liquidity issues unnecessarily undermine confidence in the viability of the Postal Service among our customers," said spokesman David Partenheimer.

It's not just that one little default, either. The USPS says it will also default on the same payment for 2012, which is due on Sept. 30, if it doesn't get help from the legislature by then.

The USPS has been struggling for awhile now, with a loss of $3.2 billion in the second quarter of this fiscal year. It blames declining mail volumes and the 2006 congressional mandate that it set aside those billions of dollars for retirees every year. The Senate passed legislation to overhaul the agency, but the House likely won't do anything similar until after August.

The Senate voted in April for legislation that would return around $10.9 billion that was overpaid into the federal employee pension system and limit the USPS's ability to close branches and stop Saturday delivery.

Meanwhile in the House, Republican leaders support legislation that they claim would have the USPS operating more like a business. That legislation will likely not have a vote before the August recess, said one backer of the bill.

Mike

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  #36 (permalink)
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I have a friend who is in PO management in Denver and I am afraid to ask him about the situation anymore. The gub'ment had a chance to approve the Postal plan for the end of Sat. delivery months ago and for some reason chose not to (oh I forgot, they don't really do anything of any benefit anymore).

Really, it's easy to envision these guys being out of business entirely in another 10 years. They had a fleet of delivery trucks that they sold to either UPS or Fed Express years ago, for a song .... that is where the business will remain on an ongoing basis.

I used to work there in my kidhood in Chicago, several different times, early and mid 70's. It was a great gig for a semi hippie type ....

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  #37 (permalink)
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Source: Postal Service to Miss $5.5 Billion Payment to U.S. Treasury - Businessweek


Quoting 
The U.S. Postal Service affirmed it won’t make a required $5.5 billion payment due tomorrow to the U.S. Treasury for future retirees’ health care, an obligation the agency said must end for it to become financially viable.

The service has said for months it couldn’t afford the payment, which was initially due last September, nor a $5.6 billion payment required by Sept. 30 for this year. Postal legislation passed by the U.S. Senate on April 25 would slow the schedule for those obligations. The House hasn’t acted on a different postal measure aimed at changes to help the service cope with declining mail volume.

“This has no effect on mail processing or delivery, no impact on post offices, and employees will continue to get paid,” Dave Partenheimer, a Postal Service spokesman, said today in a phone interview.

The Postal Service, which has more employees than any U.S.- based publicly traded company other than Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) (WMT), lost $3.2 billion in the quarter ended March 31. It has said it expects to temporarily run out of cash in October unless Congress alters or ends the retiree health-care obligation and lets it make other changes that include ending Saturday mail delivery. The service also wants to withdraw from the U.S. government employees’ health-care plan and set up its own.

‘Willful Blindness’
“The default by the Postal Service on its obligation to its own employees and retirees follows decades of mismanagement, and a willful blindness to fundamental changes in America’s use of mail,” Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in an e-mail. “The Postal Service continues to fail to do all it can under current law to cut costs.”

Issa is a co-author of a postal-overhaul bill that would mandate cost-cutting through measures that include closing post offices and possibly ending Saturday mail delivery. The bill, H.R. 2309, cleared the oversight committee in October and awaits consideration by the full House.

The Postal Service, while critical of elements in both proposals, has said it wants to see them pass so a compromise can be reached by a conference committee.

‘Financial Stability’
“Combining the legislative changes with changes we can make on our own under our current plan is the path we can take toward long-term financial stability,” Partenheimer said.

The service, which receives no direct funding from U.S. taxpayers and is supposed to be self-sustaining, last made a quarterly profit in 2009 and has said it is losing $25 million a day from operations. It has forecast it will lose $9.1 billion in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, not including the $5.5 billion payment.

Mail volume peaked in 2006 and has fallen more than 20 percent since then as much of the service’s first-class mail has been supplanted by e-mail and electronic bills. The Postal Service’s share of the U.S. small-package shipping market fell to 14 percent in 2011, behind United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) (UPS)’s 52 percent share and FedEx Corp. (FDX) (FDX)’s 34 percent, according to Bloomberg Industries.

The service wants to eliminate as many as 220,000 jobs and close mail-processing plants to reduce costs. It abandoned a plan to shut as many as 12 percent of its post offices after opposition in Congress and instead said it would cut operating hours at as many as 13,000 locations to save $500 million annually.

‘Bogus Default’
The health-care obligation, adopted by Congress in 2006, isn’t necessary as the retiree-payment fund has $45 billion, enough to pay for decades of benefits, Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers union, said in a statement.

The “bogus default” shows Congress hasn’t done what’s needed to help the service overcome its woes, he said.

“If we thought our retired members were in danger of losing their health care, we’d be screaming bloody murder about it,” Rolando said.

Mike

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  #38 (permalink)
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i see it as govt inefficiency.. maybe the private sector could have done it better.. i also am not blind to recognize this as aging and mostly get junk mail anymore as most all bills come and are paid online.. there will always be the ability to send 'whatever' you want to 'whomever'.. might cost you more, but can be done. this is where the private sector might pick up the slack? anyways i wont miss the junk mail and for everything else i send ive done w/o the need of the usps.. i really dont think this is the end of the world..

dont believe anything you hear and only half of what you see

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  #39 (permalink)
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The US Postal Service is a case study in the ill effects of unions.

Many people feel that unions provide a disadvantage because of non-competitive labor costs.

I found it ironic that the head of the postal worker's union testified before Congress that US Postal workers do not receive appreciably better pay/benefits than their private sector counterparts...(none of the elected representatives were smart enough to ask exactly what the union head's purpose seemed to be, if he was getting paid and the workers weren't getting any benefit over non-union workers).

At any rate, the REAL detriment of unions is the inflexibility that they command. Contract holders and parent companies are not as agile in the market and must seek permission from unions in order to make necessary changes to remain competitive in the marketplace.

That's exactly what we're observing with the USPS. Even though the vast majority of Americans (over 90%) have indicated that they are either in favor or indifferent to eliminating Saturday delivery, the union refuses to allow a reduction in un-needed/unnecessary operations because it would then generate additional retirements, layoffs and/or reduced hours for its workers.

Additionally, the USPS cannot take advantage of short term and temporary cost cutting measures such as outsourcing and contracts. While their main competitors (like Fedex, UPS and DHL) are able to use flexible contracts for operational demand surges, slowdowns, etc....the USPS is stuck placating a union that's more concerned about worker compensation and benefits than the overall health or viability of the organization.

One of the steps in "Good to Great" is a company's ability to "accept the cold hard facts." The fact is that electronic communications and correspondance have obliterated the need and volume for 1st Class mail. Additionally, advertisers are shifting more and more to social media and other forms of less expensive advertising. The vast majority of mail volume at this point comes by way of "junk mail" which is either non-essential or neutral in use/need to most Americans.

I personally watched the committee hearings on CSPAN and I couldn't help but choke to hear the emotional, tear jerking stories by representatives about how selfless postal workers brave the heat and cold and vicious dogs to deliver our mail, or how invaluable they were during "disasters" such as the Anthrax scare. Typical politics....emotionalize and humanize the issue so that if you're in favor of cutting USPS resources, it's a direct attack on the hard working postal workers themselves, not the overall health, viability or competitiveness of the organization and certainly not the value to taxpayers.

If the USPS continues to ignore market realities and enslave themselves to union demands, then we should call a spade and spade and declare that USPS funding is at least in part, social welfare, and not designed to benefit the taxpayers at large, but the postal workers primarily.

"A dumb man never learns. A smart man learns from his own failure and success. But a wise man learns from the failure and success of others."
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  #40 (permalink)
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Source: Insolvent US Postal Service Loses Whopping $5.2 Billion In Third Quarter, 70% Higher Than Year Ago | ZeroHedge


Quoting 
Update: USPS STILL EXPECTS TO RUN OUT OF CASH IN OCTOBER - well, this is the bailout request that Draghi was waiting for. All your ECB - get involved.

The epic collapse of one of the most bloated government institutions continues at a ridiculous pace. From Bloomberg:

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE LOST $5.2 BILLION IN THIRD QUARTER
POSTAL SERVICE LOSS Q3 COMPARES WITH $3.1 BILLION LOSS YEAR AGO
POSTAL SERVICE 3Q REVENUE FALLS TO $15.6 BILLION FROM $15.8B
POSTAL SERVICE `LIQUIDITY CHALLENGES' REMAIN IN 2013
POSTAL SERVICE MAIL VOLUME FALLS 3.5 PERCENT IN THIRD QUARTER
POSTAL SERVICE WILL CONTINUE TO PAY EMPLPOYEES, SUPPLIERS
And it gets better:

POSTAL SERVICE LOSS INCLUDES SKIPPED PAYMENT TO TREASURY - in other words the taxpayer bailouts of the USPS have begun... and the loss would have been even bigger.
The punchline:

POSTAL SERVICE WILL `NEVER' CEASE DELIVERING MAIL: MARSHALL
Of course: why ever stop doing something that is losing tons of OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY. Not like that money is your own.

Finally:

USPS has said it would run out of cash in Oct., assuming it wouldn’t make $11.6b in required payments to the U.S. Treasury for future retirees’ health-care costs
Congress recessed this month without passing legislation Postal Service said it needs to survive
Perhaps it is time to consider a Solyndra-USPS merger: who wouldn't want to see solar powered stamps?

Mike

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