Federal Times: USPS to cut 30,000 this year? Well, no, as it turns out…

Update: Nothing to see here folks! After breathlessly announcing this as “breaking news” this morning on Federal News radio, the Federal Times is quietly downplaying the story- the “Exclusive” tag has disappeared from the web and Facebook versions, and Post&Parcel has this to say:

Plans are to cut 7,500 staff in the administrative areas of the federal corporation, and reduce officer ranks by 16%.

However, today the Postal Service denied press reports from this morning that suggested it was looking to lay off 30,000 staff this year.

USPS spokeswoman Joanne Veto told Post&Parcel that there had been some confusion today concerning the potential for other jobs to be lost by attrition this year, since the average number of workers leaving or retiring from the Postal Service is around 22,000 per year.

Some of these roles, if in critical areas, will have workers replaced.

“The announcement on March 25 will show that we will cut 7,500 jobs over the course of the year,” she confirmed. “We will not be cutting 30,000.”

So no, there’s no big news flash- but if you’d like to see how an “exclusive” “Breaking News!” story fizzles out, read on…

Original story:

The Federal Times says that the US Postal Service plans to eliminate 30,000 jobs this year. According to Federal News radio:

The Postal Service’s goal is to cut 30,000 employees overall for the year, said Federal Times editor Steve Watkins, breaking the news on Your Turn with Mike Causey.

USPS will also announce a drawdown of 7,500 positions on March 25 that include unoccupied positions, administrators, frontline supervisors and managers and postmasters, Watkins said.

Federal Times found out about the plans after an editorial board meeting with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

What’s odd about the story is that the 7,500 position reduction was announced by PMG Pat Donahoe almost two months ago– it’s not exactly “breaking” news. As far as the additional 22,500 jobs that would need to be cut to get to a total of 30,000, that’s about how many people left the USPS last year without any major changes. But this wouldn’t be the first time the Federal Times has claimed to be “breaking” old news.

It’s also highly unlikely that Donahoe would announce major organizational changes to a newspaper editorial meeting rather than to the employee organizations. So at the moment, it’s hard to see what’s “new” about the promised Federal Times story- I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

via Federal News Radio 1500 AM: Federal Times: USPS to cut 30,000 this year.

Update: Here’s the Federal Times story, breathlessly marked “Exclusive”. If you can find anything in it that we didn’t already know, tell us in the comments!

One item that won’t come as news to most postal employees, but which I haven’t seen explicitly stated before, is this: “He [Donahoe] said that if the Postal Service resorts to using a buyout offer, it will be targeted and not organization-wide.” While that’s common sense- given that the USPS is not uniformly overstaffed across the country, it may come as a disappointment to postal workers waiting for a nationwide buyout offer.

Update: looks like we weren’t the only ones who found the Federal Times story a bit iffy:

#USPS is not announcing plans next week to cut jobs by 30,000 this year. They’ve told us it is just 7,500, as announced previously.Mar 09 via web

  • Tony

    VERA for Postmasters Please…..I need to retire soon.

  • Bratsy

    Once again the PMG gives no news! Wake up and save some money by giving CSRS incentive to go. NO penalties and I would run out the door!

  • M. Jamison

    Actually, I recall the “targeted buyout” comment as being lofted before although I can’t place the venue.
    Regardless, it’s no secret that the PMG, like his predecessor would like to effect his plans on the cheap. Mr. Donahue has handled messaging better than Mr. Potter but it’s likely he’ll create the same expectations and find the VERAs falling short without incentives.
    On the other hand, he does have some big sticks to use on non-bargaining employees. One way or the other he’s just digging deeper holes.

  • OFFER INCENTIVE

    If the USPS would offer a $25K (Max allowed) and or 5 years either way for age or service with no penalties, many would fly out the door, but they are not smart enough to put an attractive package together.

  • brian

    The fact that you and a lot of others would like a big retirement bonus doesn’t mean that it’s what the USPS should do. They don’t need to suddenly unload a lot of people- just excess employees in some functions and geographic areas. That’s why any incentives would be targeted, and I suspect the chief “incentive” will continue to be “we no longer need you here, but we have a letter carrier position for you a couple hundred miles away”.

  • ipaytax

    more OT yeh!!!!!

  • Az2ME

    The PMG said, ” attrition, early retirement offers,.. and weighing whether to use buy-outs as well.” With the economy in it’s current state, relying on solely on attrition and offers to retire early makes little sense if the goal is to trim that many positions. And, while the “end run” known as excessing has certainly proven effective in forcing some of the work force to step down, let’s face it, jobs that pay this well and offer good benefits are hard to come by.
    I have spent 33 years with the USPS, in both the carrier and clerk crafts. I’m also CSRS. Maybe an “incentive” should be thought of as a golden “thank you” for those of us who have put in sufficient time to be able to take advantage of it.

  • John Smith

    Careful what you ask fo in terms of early retirement. I have been retired 26 months without a COLA and my home gas bill has went up 11%, electric bill is up by 8%, water bill is up by 9%, house property tax reassessed and taxes raised by 16%, etc. That does not include higher food costs, gasoline costs, and increases in healthcare cost. Lastly, don’t forget the increase cost in my health insurance and the new adjusted federal tax payment OPM has layed on the retired. So, retirement would really be nice if I did not have to be so dammed concerned over paying bills.

  • AZ2ME

    Of course, if the USPS were smart (and I know that’s quite a stretch), they would offer VERA/buyouts organization-wide. This, coupled with normal attrition, would leave a very lop-sided work force. They then could use the “excessing” gambit to force those who can’t or won’t relocate out of the service, thereby exceeding that 30,000 figure quite handily. In the meantime, the “casuals” keep rolling in at $11 an hour! A sickening scenario, but not entirely an implausible one.

  • Neal Hefley

    Just force those employees who are working beyond their retirement dates to hit the road and the USPS will watch its ranks drop by 16% by the end of the year.

  • seenoevil
  • consumerdah

    What the heck….drop the “mandatory” overtime – and see costs drop significantly! My sister words 6 days a week mandatory in Bloomington MN. Goodness time 1.5 + Dbl time on holidays….hello – this isn’t rocket science.

  • Linda Shropshire

    The Santa Clarita, CA USPS announced plans on relocating
    120 employees to North Carolina (my sister is one of them). This will put an extreme hardship on many of them.
    Can they legally do this?

  • john r

    csrs-am carrying less mail and getting paid the same-why should i leave-make me an offer i would consider

  • curtis jones jr.

    i’ve worked for the post office in philadelphia for
    42 years and 8 months and i’m going to retire at the
    end of the year. it would be nice to get a thank you
    gift of at lest twenty five grand to off set some my retirement bills.