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Clerks hit hardest by USPS cuts, stats show. Headquarters grows.

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For career U.S. Postal Service employees, the last few years have brought an unrelenting wave of cutbacks. In its latest annual report, the agency furnishes some eye-opening numbers on how the downsizing has affected different segments of its workforce.

The overall career headcount declined by more than one-fifth from 2009 to 2013 (surely one of the sharpest drops in USPS history).  But the ranks of clerks and nurses plummeted by one-third and the number of employees classified as “professional, administration and technical” fell almost as steeply. Virtually all of the cuts, it should be noted, were accomplished without reductions-in-force.

The one sector to grow during that time was headquarters staff (not counting field support), which increased a little more than 5 percent. FedLine asked the Postal Service earlier this month what might account for the increase; the agency’s explanation has been added below the table.

2009 2013 Percentage change
Total career employees 623,128 491,017 -21.2
Headquarters 2,811 2,967 +5.5
HQ–field support units 4,455 3,870 -13.1
Inspection service–field 2,617 2,411 -7.9
Inspector general 1,155 1,135 -1.7
Area offices 1,047 807 -22.9
Postmasters/installation heads 23,672 17,804 -24.8
Supervisors/managers 28,812 22,940 -20.4
Professional, administration, technical 6,460 4,375 -32.3
Clerks/nurses 177,842 118,751 -33.2
Mail handlers 52,954 40,102 -24.3
City delivery carriers 200,658 167,388 -16.6
Motor vehicle operators 8,113 6,598 -18.7
Rural delivery carriers–full-time 67,749 66,099 -2.4
Vehicle maintenance employees 5,252 5,033 -4.1
Building and equipment maintenance personnel 39,531 30,737 -22.5

And here is the Postal Service’s explanation for the growth in headquarters’ workforce:

“The Postal Service reductions in career employees were equally felt across both management and craft ranks. While the specific headquarters number has increased slightly, it cannot be viewed in isolation. Efficient management is about effectively allocating resources, and throughout this period, we have eliminated, shifted, streamlined and consolidated work across various functions, including human resources, customer relations, operations and finance, and across various levels, including local, district, area and headquarters.

“For example, the centralization of HR transactional work from the local and district level to the HQ level through an HR shared service center resulted in cost savings and operational efficiencies. Additionally, we have in-sourced work once performed by contractors in the form of three call centers, which has improved our customer service. Steps have been taken within the management ranks as in the craft ranks to efficiently allocate resources and cut costs while maintaining the highest level of service and customer satisfaction.

“Based on our integrated management approach, the appropriate way to view these career reductions is to look at the headquarters, headquarters field support, inspection service, area offices, and professional administration and technical personnel in total, which has been reduced by 17% over this period. The second level of management, including postmaster/installation heads and supervisors/managers was reduced by 21% over this period. In total, the management ranks over this period had a 21% reduction, which is commensurate with overall craft reductions.”

[Updated on Jan. 21 to include the Postal Service's explanation for the increase in headquarters employment.]

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Comments

  1. virgil tudor Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 8:18 am

    headquarters has ALWAYS been a big draw to those who want to improve their high-3. unfortunately these people don’t represent the best and the brightest that the usps has to offer but rather those who have been fired, disciplined, etc. it has mystified me for years how a bad clerk can suddenly become a wonderful manager at headquarters when they couldn’t cut the mustard before. now they have a title, such as vice-president of something, and they’re getting promption after promotion.
    good job if you’re willing to sacrifice your principles-if you ever had any. cronyism is alive and well in the usps!

  2. Joe Vizza Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 8:33 am

    The USPS headquarters staff increase is a result of the same mentality that endorses economic jobless “recoveries” while executive level bonuses skyrocket.

  3. Bob Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Can never have enough VP’s… Just ask Donahyouhoo… He can’t have enough, think he got another dozen this week… Just Sayin’…

  4. R Howard Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Any hope for an early out for any of the crafts?

  5. Sean Reilly Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    We at Federal Times aren’t aware of anything in the works at this point.

  6. Juan Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    My bosses computer used to have a screensaver that said on it ‘Create your own job’. Looks like the only jobs that were created lately were in HQ. I would give my two front teeth to see one of those big shots on Undercover Boss.

  7. lucy Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    It is so nice to see that HQ is hiring more people and getting raises when they are forcing out postmasters, cutting hours, cutting people with 25 years wages by $10 per hour and still expecting us to get 10 hours of work done in 6.5. well when August rolls around our service will even be worse.

  8. willie cruz Says:
    January 17th, 2014 at 8:55 am

    IF YOUR GOING TO WORK IN HEADQUATERS, THEN YOU SHOULD FIND WAYS TO INCREASE REVENUE AND REDUCE WASTE. THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOU ARE TOO WORRIED ABOUT PETTY ISSUES AND NOT THE FACT THAT THERE ARE TOO MANY CHIEFS IN THE P.O. AND NOT ENOUGH INDIANS. STOP HARRASSING SUPV WHO IN TURN HARRASS EMPLOYEES AND MAKE IT A TERRIBLE PLACE TO WORK. USPS IS IN A GRIND WITH HEADQUARTERS TURNING THE KNOB.

  9. WhatsUp Says:
    January 20th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    WOW! It’s something to read these comments and understand every word because I feel the same exact way and I don’t know anyone on this blog. It’s all so true about the USPS management NO PROFESSIONALISM at all, I think its one of the worst companies to work for they give supervisor/manager positions to people they like not who demonstrates knowledge about the mail/service or a person who knows how to speak to people using common sense, I could write a book but NO one would want to read about all this mess in the DC offices.

  10. QPD Clerk Says:
    January 21st, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    For a decade, clerks haven’t been able to transfer within their craft. Mgt stopped posting jobs. Clerks aren’t needed anymore. Can’t you see? they close every office for lunch, shorten hours, and open village post offices and now want Staples to do clerk work. They don’t want to service the public any more. It’s costly and inconvenient. Mgt finds a way to get rid of clerk jobs, justify it as providing service when everyone loses…. The employees and customers. It’s nothing more than a sleight of hand. It’s deceitful to those you whom you expect loyalty. Close all the post offices to save money, and head over to your local market. They won’t know a hill of beans how to help you, but that’s where you can get served. Never thought I’d see this avalanche. It’s shameful.

  11. jason Says:
    February 9th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Its a shame that the post office has only reduced access to retirement information for all of the retirees. The lack of a local HR staff member forces people online to find retirement info. If you’re retiring, you should check out http://www.opm.com, psretirement.com and tsptalk.com. All very good resources.