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Eye Opener: 23,000 Postal Workers Opt for Buyout

By Ed O'Keefe

Approximately 5,000 full-time Postal Service employees -- but not letter carriers -- stopped working this week after accepting buyouts.

Eye Opener

Happy Friday! Approximately 5,000 full-time Postal Service employees eligible for retirement ended their Postal careers this week, accepting $15,000 buyout offers as part of a cost-cutting move. Another 18,000 full-time workers have also accepted the offer, but have until Oct. 31 to complete the paperwork or opt out.

The Postal Service announced the buyout program in August as a way to save up to $500 million during the new fiscal year, which began on Thursday.

Officials stress that these are preliminary figures and likely to change as workers make their final decisions. In addition to the full-time staff, part-timers have until Oct. 16 to initially accept the buyout and until Nov. 30 to make a final decision.

The offer was extended to post office retail clerks, distribution center mail handlers and clerks, and vehicle technicians. Letter carriers were not eligible, because the Postal Service only targeted areas of its where it has an excess of workers, and the number of addresses grows, on average, by 1.5 million each year.

The Postal Service secured $4 billion in financial assistance from Congress earlier this week, meaning it will pay only $1.4 billion to pre-fund retiree health benefits. Postal officials soon also will release updated information on the possible closure or consolidation of Postal facilities. Fewer than 700 sites have been considered.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Bidens on Friday: He hosts a Middle Class Task Force meeting with Council of Economic Advisors Chairwoman Christina Romer, OMB Director Peter Orszag, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers and aides Jared Bernstein and Terrell McSweeny. She hosts a conference call with community college presidents at the Education Department in the afternoon.

Mark Your Calendars: hosts “Lowering the Cost of Government with Technology" Oct. 14 at the Newseum. It's the first of a series of events designed to address White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra's "five pillars" (read: goals) to lower government costs with technology, transparency, security, engagement and innovation. Sign up for the event at

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By Ed O'Keefe  | October 2, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Next: Dear (Federal) Diary


I hope the, I believe, manager of the Buckingham Post Office on Glebe Road in Arlington takes this buyout. He dismiss delivery inquiries/complaints out of hand. And worse, he subjects our diverse community to his favorite Christmas carols during the "Christmas" season. The Post Office is a government office with a "captive audience." He laughs and dismisses anyone who requests the carols not be played.

Bah, Humbug!!

Posted by: Rich393 | October 2, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

As a former civil servant who accepted a "buy-out/early retirement in 2005" I urge those eligible postal workers to take the offer! Time moves on and our heartbeats are not unlimited so enjoy life, do what you want and have some fun.

Posted by: donnem1968 | October 2, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Good for all postal workers who are able to take advantage of this buyout! I wish the Department of Education would make this kind of offer. I know plenty of employees who are eligible for retreiement and would jump at the chance to retire if offered a buyout! Hint--please spread the word to whom ever has the authority to make this offer to Department of ED employees.

Posted by: Gemini2 | October 2, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

How can you call that financial assistance when you tell someone to keep what they never owed you in the first place.I know someone will say congress is just trying to protect Postal Service retirees health benefits.I don't trust congress with protecting my benefits (money) no more than I trust the Postal Service, maybe even less.If they really want to help Postal retirees or the Postal Service pay them the interest they could be making on that 5 billion plus they pay in to that pre-fund account and just maybe they will be in as good of shape as UPS and Fed Ex even though you really can't compare them because the goverment tells the Postal Service what they can and can't do.Sometimes you can have too many cooks in the kitchen.

Posted by: calreeve | October 3, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

If the Postal Service wants to cut another
500 million they can eliminate the postal inspection service. The Postal I.G has assumed responsibility for all meaningful investigations. Why the Postal service
keeps these high paid premadonias employed
is beyond me or anyone else with a brain.

Posted by: tk10k2day2003 | October 3, 2009 2:18 AM | Report abuse

The Postal Service has done nothing to address the real problem.They are extremely top heavy with management.They kill a management job then create a new ad hoc position for them.Then they cut the positions of the people who actually move the mail.Ask Potter how many vice presidents he has now.

Posted by: Rick4441 | October 4, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

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