US Postal Service Asks Regulator For Permission To Slow Mail Speed (Even More); Sees Revenues Sliding

Tyler Durden's picture

In yet another piece of news that somehow will be seen as largely bullish for risk, if not so bullish for the USPS's 600,000 thousand workers, we learn that the United States Postal Service, long on the verge of insolvency, has decided to take its already snail-pace speed... and make it even slower.

Per Bloomberg:


Note: "savings", means job cuts. Yet in some parallel universe the ISM's Nieves is telling those gullible enough to listen, that the sharply contracting ISm Services employment index will rebound in December, on something or another. And as a reminder in August we learned that "in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy, [the USPS] is now seeking to reduce its total overhead by 20%, or a whopping 120,000 workers (a number which would amount to roughly an increase of 0.1% in the national unemployment rate)." In other words, the can kicking for America's postmen is about over.

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Jonbutterfly's picture

Really interesting discussion about the global economy with Chris Martenson and GoldMoney's James Turk:

shaxmatist's picture

It took them 30 days to send me my package.. how much slower do they want to get??

Pladizow's picture

The USPS is one of the last things America should be worried about!

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

Exactly. I hope that libertarians can now see the clear dichotomy between public and private job markets. Corporations are exploiting workers with low wages and poor working conditions, whereas the government provides much better wages, more reasonable working conditions and far more desirable benefits packages. This is PROOF that the government is far more considerate of the welfare of their employees. Private companies could learn a thing or two from the way the government treats its workers.

trav7777's picture

the failure of the USPS will be a blackpocalypse in terms of employment.

USPS is one of the most "diverse" organizations.  No, diversity does not mean the highest number of different ethnicities and backgrounds, like you might think it would mean (from its plain definition).

Abiotic Oil's picture

Part of the problem is the AFL-CIO — National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) — which has successfully pressured the service into providing direct and indirect compensation to its workers to the point where the average postal worker now makes $83,000 a year. This is reflected in the fact that suchcompensation and benefits “constitute close to 80 percent of USPS’s costs … despite major advances in technology and the automation of postal operations.” A USPS worker blogged at the Wall Street Journal:

Cutting out delivery one day a week and raising some rates is a stopgap measure, and two years hence, there would be another increase and a four-day week proposal. The reason why is that USPS cannot fire anyone and cannot make employees work faster or smarter because of the death grip the postal union has on the postal service. The employees at my substation deliberately create a long line by employing the work slowdown, giving every customer at least 8 minutes of face time, chatting up grandkids and cruise trips. They are immune to reprimand and to any incentive to improve service. It is what the union wants, what Progressives want and what Democrats want. John Potter is not on the side of the postal service consumer; he is pro-union and is doing their work for them. If he were not pro-union, he would not be in his position.

Another part of the problem is that, as a monopoly, the USPS has little incentive to be frugal or to operate efficiently.  A recent audit by the USPS’s own inspector general found “unjustified” and “imprudent” expenses and purchases over a recent five-month period:

No business justification was provided for $355,451 of food provided at a September 2008 national sales educational conference attended by over 600 employees…. We noted that beer and wine were served on one occasion, a bartender charge of $500 was included on one occasion, and one dinner for 650 guests totaled $62,714, which is $96 per guest.

A postmaster installation celebration and reception held in October 2008 included unallowable food purchases totaling over $17,000. The menu included crab cakes, beef wellington, shrimp, and scallops.

A two-day meeting in September 2008 ... cost $27,567, including a per dinner cost of $93. In addition, employees were provided paid lodging “even though their official duty station was within nine miles of the conference facility."

Five employees purchased gift cards from unauthorized vendors totaling $31,791. Two districts purchased almost $15,000 worth of movie tickets. Another district purchased thirty retirement watches at $216 a pop.

Three meetings included expenses for flowers, linens, candles, and red carpets totaling $4,579.

At the end of last year, the Post Office did some research and was surprised to find that customers at the nation's 37,000 post offices were not happy about wait times in line. In response, the Post Office came up with a brilliant idea, something that could probably only come from the federal government. They removed the clocks from all 37,000 post offices.  Stephen Seewoester, a Postal Service spokesman said, apparently with a straight face, "We want people to focus on postal service and not the clock."


Abiotic Oil's picture

From "Behold a Pale Horse"

Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988

The act has authorized postal authorities to serve warrants, subpoenas, make arrests, carry firearms, and make seizures in matters involving use of mails (Sec. 6251).


The Post Office Department is a private corporation and is not a part of the Federal government. How can they be allowed to function as Federal police if they are not federalized? Are post office employees destined to become a part of the national police force?

Lord Koos's picture

This stuff is chicken feed compared to what management would make (and spend) if the postal service were privatized.

Talk of privatizing the postal service is just more disaster capitalism, enabling crony capitalists to loot a public service.  Anyone who thinks the mail would be cheaper under private ownership is nuts.  Not only would it be more expensive, service would also suffer as the typical corporate cost cutting measure were applied.

Of all the things tax payers dollars go to, the postal service is one of the most useful to the average citizen.  At least under the current system, workers are making a decent wage, as opposed to the money going to million dollar bonuses and golden parachutes for those at the top.

PulauHantu29's picture

trav, you have a point. My nephew applied for a Christmas season job and he was rejected. They said,"you scored too high."

What a mess.

boiltherich's picture

They only had open testing once every three to four years when I lived in Santa Rosa California in the eighties, I applied and was given a date to go test along with more than 6,000 other people from which they create a hiring registry.  The way the USPS hires is they rank you by test score on the registry and then if they have one slot open for a job they interview three people.  If they have 4 jobs open they interview six, they always interview no more or less than two more people than they have openings for.  Of course they only go to the registry once all temporary and other part-time employees have been offered a position, or people who were separated in a RIF elsewhere who have a right to relocate under union rules. 

I studied hard and I aced the test getting 100 out of 100 points, the max, but also got 15 points for disabled vet status and prior civil service so my registry score was 115 out of 100.  I was the first called in two weeks later to interview and I did get the job, but it was the worst employment situation I ever went through.  If your supervisor does not like you for any reason they are pretty limited in the ways they can get rid of you, the most popular being to get you to quit voluntarily which is what I did, I do not need a ton of bricks to fall on me to know that every day of work in that place was going to be a nightmarish hell. 

YBNguy's picture

Invest in the 'forever' stamps NOW, their price will soon soar ;)

dagnytaggert's picture

"The Postal Store is temporarily unavailable."

It may be forever before the forever stamps are on the market again. 


buyingsterling's picture

The feds don't care about run of the mill postal workers. Just more votes they've bought. Of course bureaucracies take better 'care' of their employees - they're spending someone else's money, and they aren't constrained by competition.

Monedas's picture

You've got to be some sort Sarc/Gullibility/Masochist poll taker, right ? Private companies serve their public enterprises, the government workers are the clients ! The public be damned ! I'll give you a 1+ for Monedas style courage ! 2011 Comedy Jihad My village of less than 300 people has a multi-million dollar library with clean government bathrooms and free porn computers and heat/air conditioning run by librarian Candy ! We also have a full service Post Office run by PM Cindy ! They're both losing money....but what service !

The Big Ching-aso's picture



"The check's in the mail.    I post-dated it 82 days from today so it should coincide with the estimated delivery date."

Monedas's picture

MillionBuckBoner is trying to be a sort of private label Monedas ! His sarc is a little too dry but he's coming kind and toss him a boner once in a while ! Oh yeah, my country library loans free DVDs for a week and they are renewable for another week by phone and you can request loans from the other branches in the state wide system ! Books are loaned for 3 weeks and renewable for retarded public ed patrons ! They even send notices of your requests arriving by first class mail in a windowed envelope for privacy ? Someone's gotta pay for that ?

alangreedspank's picture

Corporations can't exploit for low wages if half your income needs to be taxed. The state would not rake in any money if they did "exploit" and provide low wages.


Lord Koos's picture

Not to mention, at least in the case of postal employees, a valuable service is being provided to the entire country. Where as corporate outsourcing just results in cheap consumer gadgets and expensive running shoes.

jaffa's picture

In general usage, revenue is income received by an organization in the form of cash or cash equivalents. Sales revenue or revenues is income received from selling goods or services over a period of time. Tax revenue is income that a government receives from taxpayers. Thanks a lot. Regards,

Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

"Slower mail speed..."

Close enough for Government work, as the old saw goes. 

Privatize the entire outfit, and apply "DPS" standards ( Dreaded Private Sector ) to the "work"force: terminate all of them, and make them re-apply for their former jobs, just as it has been done in the real world of tenuous employment. The damnable layabouts -- they cannot even deliver on time at present, later delivery will simply drive more Americans to the use of e-statements, and on-line bill paying, on-line investment transactions, &c.

shaxmatist's picture

Here is an idea -- how about just closing the whole USPS? It's a barbarous relic anyway.

For personal letters people use email.

To send goods there are Fedex, UPS, DHL and many other private couriers and freighters.

What do we need USPS for?

Thorny Xi's picture

Well, one of the things the constitution says the government will do is provide for mail service.  The legal system requires it for proof of service.  and there's no problem with it other than a Bush era law change that mandates the USPS pre-pay 75 years of employee retirement funds over 10 years, which is bankrupting the whole thing.  Do your research, folks... this is an orchestrated kill - it'll put a half million or more people out of work.  Sure FedEX and UPS can deliver letters ... hope you like paying $5.00 for a stamp.

Freddie's picture

At least under Bush we had an economy. Hope & Change with the muslim/

Vic Vinegar's picture

Please explain how it was different under Bush.  All of ZH knows your thoughts on the Muslim.  Give us something new buddy.

Bobbyrib's picture

Under W the debt bubble (not public, but private) grew much faster.


Only now is consumer debt expanding, luckily we have public debt to cover for the lack of private debt. <-sarcasm.

Flakmeister's picture

The greatest irony here is that Freddie, despite echoing the sentiments of the majority here, appears to be despised by everyone... Call him the anti-troll...

Don Birnam's picture

As an aside, it is evident that TD's post struck a rather discordant note with some ZH alias-mantled mailman, who has gone postal regarding knocks, as [ of this writng ] every post has been dinged. 

Get back to your route, mack, and do your job.


TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Vic Vinegar duly noted:

Please explain how it was different under Bush.  All of ZH knows your thoughts on the Muslim.  Give us something new buddy.

I think Freddie is a shill for the Democratic party, and his method of operation is to impersonate a semi-retarded and/or gas huffing Republican dupe. Please consider the following:

1) He almost invariably refers to the president of the occupational government in Vichy, D.C. as "the muslim", conveniently ignoring Obama's continuation and escalation of Chimpy Bush's program of exterminating Moslems.

2) He claims to comprehend that there is no difference between the two sides (Republican and Democratic) of the Party in America's one-party system, yet he always opines that things were better when Republicans were "in charge".

3) He claims to comprehend that the CONmedia (corporate-owned news media), whether "liberal" or "conservative", are all carefully scripted and choreographed propaganda tools, yet is a fan of Rush Limbaugh, refusing to recognize that he is from the same propaganda toolbox as MSNBC, Fox News, Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, and Air America.

4) Although he has voiced support for Ron Paul, he has also done the same for Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachman, two kooks cut from the same cloth as the theocrats in Iran (as if Christianic extremists were any better than Islamic extremists).

As to how this could serve the interests of the Democrats, I believe it has to do with Ron Paul being more electable than Obama. It appears that the plan is first to firmly establish online a group of Democratic shills acting as a simple-minded dupes regurgitating Republican talking points. Then, if Ron Paul looks like he might win the Republican nomination, the dupe brigade will come out and voice exceptionally strong support for Ron Paul. As this support would be coming from characters which had previously supported the kooks, it could be used to tar Ron Paul with the same kook brush.

Then again, Freddie might just be another gas huffing kool-aid chugger.


Flakmeister's picture

I'll vote with the latter....

Somewhere some Yahoo! board is missing its resident twisted fuck...

trav7777's picture

ok, sorry, but the employee demographics of the USPS make its viability impossible.

It cannot and will not be able to function under these circumstances. 

Eally Ucked's picture

USPS is no worse than UPS or FEDEX but is burdened with all those constitutional and regulatory constrains. Why the UPS and FEDEX don't take over some of it and show us how they will manage, another example how friends in higher places kill good services to make life of their bodies in UPS and others have upper hand. Who will service those remote locations and for what price? Of course all those big city dwellers would kill it, they not need it.

DaveyJones's picture

you do not need to use the post office for legal proof of service.

Stoploss's picture
The 99.999% doesn't know that.
Thorny Xi's picture

No, you don't.  Anybody can mail letters using UPS / FedEX / DHL.  That capability has been around for years ... problem is, it costs about $10 a letter.  A $0.45 letter is an amazing bargain.  Rather than kill the US mail, kill the poison pill the congress stuffed down its throat under Bush.  Do you really want to put a half million more people out of work?  Really?  Plus a couple hundred thousand more who'll lose their jobs as businesses that depend on the mail fall over?  So a couple of bribe-paying campaign fund stuffing companies can take over a working system and charge 10X more for the "same" service?  (Well, you'll have to use a lot of standard materials and envelopes that they sell you, since they'll be robotic-based with far fewer people involved.)  What IS it with people these days?  "Eliminate ALL employment! Rah Rah Rah!" has been the chorus since the 80's ... and now that 20% or so of the people out there who need to be working aren't working, we still don't get it?  All of this non-human productivity has a cost, unless you eliminate the people along with the jobs, folks.  Which isn't acceptable.         

boiltherich's picture

What can Brown do for you BITCHEZ?  I don't know about you but for me they can start by dropping those cute little brown shorts. 

DaveyJones's picture

i wasn't making any argument about saving or killing the post office, just clarifying legal service.

trav7777's picture

look dude, stop creating false dilemmas!

The USPS is NOT VIABLE as an institution, STRUCTURALLY, in its present state.

They fucking employed 36%+ minorities in 2003, and this has only grown.  48% hired last year were minorities.

They employ over 80 "diversity development specialists."

Obviously, their PRIMARY concern as an organization is NOT delivering the mail; it is hiring so many minorities that they no longer have any diversity in the actual meaning of the word.

Lord Koos's picture

You're a dream come true for the divide-and-conquer overlords.  

trav7777's picture

and that's because I don't think racism has any place in hiring decisions?


SeverinSlade's picture

That's the problem with government workers.  Since when does public service mean the US taxpayer has to pay for a nice and comfy retirement (while the rest of the US labor market works until they're dead)?

Cut the illegal FIT, social security and medicare taxes, and allow public servants (and ALL workers) to keep their paycheck and save and invest it themselves.

ugmug's picture

Whenever I send anything important through the US Post Office I have to send it certified so I can track the letter by email and I can also receive confirmation of delivery by email. The cost to certified a letter is around $3. I'd be willing to pay another private company that much to send a letter simply because even though the letter is USPS certified it still takes days and days for it to be delivered.





boiltherich's picture

Five dollars you say Thorny?  I had to send a three page document from Jackson county Oregon on the California state line to the SF Bay Area via FedEx ground going into their store to do this so they did not even need to come to me to pick it up, they charged $21.  Had it needed to go next day or by air you can double that.  The USPS catches a lot of flack about speed, but almost all the mail I get is postmarked three days or less, often having been sent out the previous day if it originated on the west coast.  I really think the problems began back when they started to give priority pricing to junk mailers in order to get a steady stream of income from all that bulk mail.  The problem is that junk mail pretty much requires them to go to every delivery address every day.  If they only handled first class letters and small parcels they would need about half the employees they have to get the job done.  But bulk mail revenues do not come anywhere near to the cost of all the employees needed to handle all the junk.  Not to mention that the sheer tonnage of junk is an environmental crime of massive scale.

But, we all have a favorite horror story about the post office right?  I will tell you mine.  I was away at college in Ohio from my hometown in California, I had a debit card from BAC but there are no BAC branches anywhere near Ohio.  It worked fine to get at my direct deposits until one fine first of the month it did not, the card had expired and simply stopped functioning.  I had already gone a day or two without eating because I was only paid once per month and lived day to day to get through school. 

When I realized that the card was out of date I called my Mom in CA and sure enough BAC had sent my new card to her house.  I asked her to go down to the post office as soon as she hung up and send the card by overnight mail to the place I was staying in Ohio on Elesmere Street.  It cost a small fortune, like $24 or something but at least I knew I would get my card and some food the next day sometime. 

The next day the card did not come and I phoned Mom to ask if she had sent it and she said yes.  By then it was too late to get through to the USPS so I had to wait till the next day.  They told me my mother in CA had to initiate any investigation into missing mail because she was the sender, but again it was too late that day for that to happen so I asked Mom to go to the post office to get it tracked and found. 

Five days after this debit card was sent by overnight mail a beat up old purple Camaro pulled up to my curb and this black woman with six inch long nails gets out and comes to my door and hands me the envelope with my card in it and when I asked her what the five days was all about for a piece of mail with guaranteed overnight delivery she actually got snotty about it and said it was my mother's fault 'cause look here at how she spelled the street name... ELSMERE instead of ELESMERE. 

Had I a weapon in my hand I would have used it, I had gone 7 days without food and 5 without a cigarette, when I say without food I mean I had nothing for a week but water.  I had been hallucinating just before that bitch arrived.  I also missed almost a week of school.  No apology, no refund on the overnight charges.  I am supposed to believe that because there was an "e" missing from the street name in the address they can and do refuse to deliver overnight mail? 

That is not even my worst horror story, you see I worked for them once upon a time for 89 days.  It was such a mind numbingly bad work situation I quit when my probation period was up, they had told me the next day to arrive in postal uniform and I could join the union, I said no way, I quit.  And then once I sent a book by book rate to someone, they never got it and 6 months later it was returned to me looking as though they dragged it behind the truck all the way across the USA, both ways, the book was ruined. 

Lord Koos's picture

An airmail letter with FEDEX is $13.

Sudden Debt's picture

A cheap mail system is the corner stone of any economic viable system. So it should stay.

But it needs to be modernised ASAP!

Cow's picture

It needs to be privatized.

Which is more important?  Our food supply chain or our mail supply chain?  We seem to get our food distributed pretty well in the private world.  Will the mail system be the same if it's privatized? No.  But it will be cheaper and won't rely on taxpayers.

pan-the-ist's picture

"It needs to Be privatized"

What exactly does that mean?  More fascist government involvement in a private company? Like health insurance, the MIC, Sally May, Freddie Mac? Shall I go on?  Do you wan't more examples?

It would need to be shut down, and UPS, FEDEX, DLH etc. would need to test the space to see if it is viable to invest in and if and only if it is, they would then compete to deliver letters.  That's called capitalism, you seem to be confusing it with corpratisim/fascism.

Lord Koos's picture

Let them eat FEDEX?  Because privatising has worked out so well in other areas, such as the military?  A privatized postal service would be expensive as hell, because the people at the top will want a fortune in bonuses to run it.

boiltherich's picture

The same can be said of passenger rail, but as a commercial enterprise it was not profitable so private industry dropped it.  And we all know the government could run the USPS and Amtrak with little losses rather than huge losses, but the truth is that these two and a few other government "corporations" are in reality just a work for welfare scheme.  That does not mean all the employees are lazy or incompetent, but it does mean they will never be profitable.  A good deal of the reason for this is that rail used to be run by greedy barons that charged almost as much or more as the fare to fly once flying was common and people just stopped using rails.  Had they lowered the price to compete with air travel they might still be in business.  I know I so hate to fly these days that I would rather take a train any day but now of course there is no longer a smoking car on Amtrak trains and I can't go days without my tobacco, so I drive.