As previously reported USPS is moving ahead with Phase 2 Network Rationalization starting in January 2015. USPS quietly made this announcement last week. USPS estimates that approximately 20% of First Class Mail volumes will be delivered overnight and 80% in 2 or 3 days.
In August, Megan J. Brennan, USPS Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Postmaster General -select briefly addressed issue of service standards at the National PCC Week:
The consolidations will begin in January, with completion expected by the Fall of 2015. Our future network will preserve approximately 66 percent of current overnight delivery volumes, and Overnight Service Standards will remain available to commercial mail properly prepared, containerized and entered by critical entry times
Below are some of the questions from “USPS Network Rationalization Phase 2 Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs):
- How much mail will be delivered overnight once Phase 2 is implemented?
Current estimates indicate approximately 20% of the First-Class Mail volume is expected to be delivered overnight, more than 35% is expected to be delivered in 2 days and about 44% delivered in 3 days.
The graphic below illustrates an approximate breakdown of First-Class Mail service performance after Phase 2 implementation:
- Will Phase 2 modify the service standards further?
Yes, Phase 2 will affect the existing service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals Mail. The changes may be seen by comparing Tables 1 and 3 with Tables 2 and 4 at the following Federal Register notice link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-01-24/pdf/2014-01382.pdf.
- The Postal Service is consolidating its network. How will this impact mail and package delivery?
The consolidation of the processing network will not impact the delivery process.
- Won’t this slow down service?
Overall, the time it takes First-Class Mail to reach its destination will increase slightly from an overall average of 2.14 days to an overall average of 2.25 days.
- Will there be a price increase?
There is no price increase associated with this change. The Postal Service is taking these steps to stabilize the costs associated with processing and transporting the mail.
- How many employees and facilities will be impacted?
There are up to 82 facilities that will undergo consolidation activities. Based upon the studies that have been performed, the projected number of impacted employees is about 15,000.
- Will there be layoffs and plant closures? If so, when and how many?
With all other past consolidations, we have been able to place impacted employees in other available positions without resorting to layoffs. Every effort will be made to reassign impacted employees when implementing Phase 2 of the current consolidation plan.
- Why didn’t the Postal Service continue the network rationalization plan last year?
We wanted to ensure efficient operations of our network prior to moving to Phase 2.
- How much will this effort save the Postal Service?
Phase 2 is projected to save the Postal Service over $3.5 billion in the next five years or approximately $750 million per year in savings.
- When will impacted employees be notified?
Impacted employees will be notified as soon as possible and consistent with the requirements of our collective bargaining agreements pertaining to reassignments.<
- What will be the impact on veterans who work for the Postal Service in these plants?
The impact on veterans will be handled as required under applicable agreements, laws and regulations.
- How many different types of processing facilities are there? What’s the difference among them?
There are nine different types of processing facilities:
|Processing and Distribution Centers||P&DCs process and dispatch mail from post offices and collection boxes within a region.|
|Customer Service Facilities||CSFs are post offices, stations and branches that contain processing equipment.|
|Network Distribution Centers||NDCs consolidate mail processing, increase operational efficiency, decrease costs and maintain service while expanding the surface transportation reach.|
|Logistics and Distribution Centers||LDCs provide mail processing and distribution to local post offices as well as other smaller distribution facilities.|
|Annexes||Annexes provide the larger facilities with additional capacity for processing and distribution.|
|Surface Transfer Centers||STCs distribute, dispatch, consolidate and transfer First-Class Mail, Priority Mail and Periodicals within a specialized surface transportation network.|
|Air Mail Centers||AMCs process and distribute inbound and outbound domestically flown mail for a specific geographic location.|
|Remote Encoding Centers||RECs process video images of letter mail to determine a barcode for the envelope.|
|International Service Centers||ISCs process and distribute inbound and outbound international mail.|
- Will there be another Reduction in Force (RIF) announced? If so, when?
RIF is a possibility. The decision to announce a RIF will be based on staffing needs following plant consolidations and will be made on a plant-by-plant basis.
- Will there be another Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) because of the network rationalization?
The Postal Service hopes to reduce its workforce through attrition as much as possible, but other available options are being explored.
- Will processing facility employees be put in “stand-by rooms?”
Stand-by time has always existed and is one of the tools postal managers may use to manage work resources to work load. Our national agreements with the unions contain provisions that guarantee full-time employees eight hours work or pay per day and 40 hours work or pay per week. The agreements also outline specific time-frames for moving employees to other locations or job classifications. Employees in stand-by operations are “on the clock.” Stand-by time typically occurs when mail processing operations in one area are completed, and there is a need to move employees to another operation to continue sorting operations. The act of moving employees between operations, which typically entails only a few minutes per employee, is measured as stand-by time. The majority of stand-by time is not used by mail processing employees; it is used by letter carriers.
Read more: USPS Phase 2 Network Rationalization FAQs