USPS' Management Committee Approves Postal Job Cuts

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The U.S. Postal Service's Management Committee said yesterday it approved plans to cut 600 jobs from its headquarters, headquarters-related field units and other areas.

The cuts will begin in September, the start of the USPS' fiscal year.

The cuts are part of the 20,000 postal jobs the USPS plans to cut in an effort to remove about $100 million in costs from each of the next four fiscal years.

Patrick R. Donahoe, senior vice president of human resources at the USPS, who announced the job cuts, did not reveal which jobs would be cut, but said that they would center around the "repetitive type of staff work" that can be eliminated as a result of new technology.

"Thanks to programs like Delivery Confirmation, we can now track mail in a computer format, rather than having someone actually spend a lot of time tallying that information," he said, using the program as an example. "We are replacing the need for manual labor with this improved technology."

While Donahoe could not provide information about how individual employees will be affected, he said that many positions have already been evaluated and deemed unnecessary. However, he said the majority of these positions are vacant, and were either scheduled to be filled in the next fiscal year, or were jobs frozen last year.

Donahoe said the cornerstone of the program is eliminating work and doing work more efficiently. It is not about "shifting work from career employees to contract employees."

The cuts are part of the agency's Breakthrough Productivity Initiative, which aims to remove about $1 billion in costs from the agency for each of the next four fiscal years.

Besides the administrative cuts, the BPI plans to:

• Save $100 million in each of the next four years by moving to paperless transactions, Web-based outsourcing and centralized procurement contracts;

• Save $100 million by making better use of existing transportation contracts and finding less expensive ways to transport mail while maintaining service standards;

• Save $700 million through better utilization of mail processing equipment, more effective employment and scheduling, standardized practices, and identification and implementation of the best practices already in use.

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