The Top Ten stories for 2015

Time to take a look back at the year just ended and review the stories that got the most attention in 2015:

    1. Pat Donahoe blames USPS problems on customers and employees
      fingerpointingpmPat Donahoe bowed out as Postmaster General with a bang by blaming the postal service’s problems on its customers and employees. Coverage of his “farewell” speech stirred lots of reaction online, virtually all of it negative. Readers were especially appalled by Donahoe’s suggestion that young workers joining the USPS didn’t really want steady jobs or pensions. (See also #8)
    2. FEHB Premiums for 2016 Announced
      There was a lot of interest in the announcement of this year’s health insurance premiums, largely due to the introduction of the “self+1” option. Once the premiums were announced, interest turned to disappointment as many plans priced the new option at pennies less than the “self+family” option.
    3. Republican budget would take $32 billion from your TSP retirement savings
      The GOP continued to show its contempt for workers by proposing to drop the interest rate on the already low G-fund to .001% a year- effectively offering to borrow your retirement nest egg without paying interest on it. It didn’t fly- but it’s something they’ll be sure to propose again if they hold onto control of Congress next year.
    4. LLV maker wins contract to build new USPS “walk-in body” delivery trucks
      The USPS awarded a $250 million contract to Grumann to build a fleet of new vans designed primarily for package deliveries.
    5. USPS to reduce the number of post office middle manager positions
      The announcement that the USPS was reducing the number of POOMs drew a lot of attention and comment, even though the number of affected positions was actually rather small.
    6. USPS denies benefits to widow of postal worker who died after delayed 911 call Perhaps the most shocking story we covered in 2014 was the case of Sam Macasieb, the Oakland postal worker who died after co-workers dutifully followed the Oakland plant’s policy, and didn’t call 911 when he was found unconcious and bleeding on the floor. The story dragged on into 2015 as the USPS took its time “reviewing” its dangerous policy (it was finally changed eight months after Mr. Macasieb’s death). Worse still, the USPS tried to avoid paying death benefits to Mrs. Macasieb. The Department of Labor finally relented just last week, and only because a local television station aired an exposé of the shameful episode.
    7. Video: USPS to Begin Cuts in Service Monday
      In January the USPS began implementation of lower service standards, eliminating overnight local first class mail delivery, and increasing the length of time required to deliver mail to other destinations.
    8. With a ‘Golden Parachute’ in Hand, Donahoe Opposes Retirement for Young Workers
      The American Postal Workers Union did not take kindly to the outgoing PMG’s remarks about pensions, as he prepared to enjoy his own lucrative retirement.
    9. OIG finds problems with handheld scanner deployment
      The OIG found numerous problems with the deployment of handheld scanners, including poor training and device reliability. The IG also estimated that the USPS had spent a quarter of a million dollars on replacement parts that should have been covered by warranty.
    10. USPS hit by network outage
      In February the USPS suffered a massive network blackout.