Postal Service starts hiring freeze for administrative jobs
By Ed O'Keefe
Updated, 4:35 p.m.: The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is freezing hiring and promotions for all administrative positions at post offices, field offices and its Washington headquarters until further notice as it tries to stave off further losses from slumping revenues and mail volume.
The decision impacts about 8,000 positions, including administrative, marketing and legal jobs and 2,000 vacancies for postmasters that manage post offices, USPS said. The average salary for the jobs ranged from around $65,000 to $70,000. The freeze does not impact delivery, customer service or transportation jobs. Officials did not rule out eliminating the frozen positions entirely.
"This is about managing the size of the organization and making sure we match resources to workload," said Tony Vegliante, USPS executive vice president for human resources. "As the organization shrinks, it all shrinks, not just the part that delivers the mail."
Bob Rapoza, president of the National Association of Postmasters of the United States, said the decision means letter carriers and clerks are temporarily filling vacant postmaster and supervisor jobs, taking them away from processing mail deliveries.
"Freezing the management positions that are part of moving the mail just makes no operational sense," Rapoza said. "We’re not going to save money in the long term and it’ll certainly deteriorate service in the short term."
The freeze should save USPS up to $30 million per quarter and is part of $3.5 billion in cost cuts before the end of the Postal Service's fiscal year, Sept. 30. The mail agency has cut about 200,000 positions in the last decade through attrition, with more than half of the cuts made in the last four years.
The freeze was announced last week the day before lawmakers said they will block efforts to end Saturday mail deliveries. But the decision is more about saving money and adjusting the size of the Postal Service workforce, Vegliante said.
"It’s an ongoing process, probably something we should be doing everyday," he said.
Despite the hiring freeze, the Postal Service announced Monday that Paul Vogel, its former head of international business, will become the agency's third in command as president of mailing and shipping services. He replaces Robert F. Bernstock, who left USPS in June amid an investigation into no-bid contracts he awarded to former business associates.
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This post has been updated since it was first published.
| August 2, 2010; 4:35 PM ET
Categories: Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues
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