Downsizing, Relocations, Benefit Reductions Up Next?

Wednesday - 1/19/2011, 4:00am EST

Is the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the second largest federal agency, the ghost of Christmas future for your agency and your job? Is the USPS the federal canary in the coal mine? Will it repeat Clinton era cuts of "overhead" jobs by eliminating thousands of administrative, supervisory and postmaster positions held by people who don't actually touch the mail?

And what about smaller pension benefits and lower pay levels for new hires?

How will upcoming changes in the USPS, the 2-year freeze on white collar federal pay and other pending changes (like furloughs and a less generous retirement package) impact the once rosy relationship between the Obama administration and federal and postal unions? On the postal side this includes the American Postal Workers Union, National Association of Letter Carriers and Mail Handlers union, and on the non-postal side the AFGE, NTEU and NFFE that strongly supported the president's election bid.

If other federal agencies are asked to downsize this year, they will be watching the USPS to see if it can persuade 7,500 mid-management people to leave voluntarily. And if not, what next? Whether you work for Interior, GSA or the Commerce Department, will the USPS be the equivalent of a giant petrie dish for the rest of the federal service?

The fate of the Postal Service, which is suffering the death of a thousand cuts from e-mail, texting, UPS and FedEx, will be one of the topics on our Your Turn radio show today at 10 a.m. It's important because Congress will be watching to see how the massive quasi-federal corporation handles what could be major relocations of clerks, letter carriers and other unionized personnel who are now working without a contract. Just like rank-and-file workers at the Social Security Administraton. How's that going?

Our expert guests on Your Turn with Mike Causey today are Federal Times reporters Sean Reilly (who broke the USPS downsizing story), editor Steve Watkins who will talk about the strained union relationship with the White House and Pentagon reporter Andrew Tilghman. He'll bring you up to speed on Defense's Tricare program, possible premium changes and coverage of children (dependent or not) up to age 26.

If you've got questions, now is the time to ask. Listen to the show (that's 10 a.m. EST today) and either call in at 202.465.3081. Or you can e-mail questions to me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com.

The sky is the limit so if you are interested in other areas - a proposed 10 day furlough for many feds or a change in the high-3 retirement computaton - now is time to ask. Hope to have you with us today.

Social Security Contract

Non-supervisory employees at the Social Security Administration have been working more than a year without a contract. So what does that mean? Today we'll also talk with AFGE chief negotiator Witold Skwierczynski about progress (if any) and what happens next. Questions, call-ins welcome.

Lots going on here, and lots to learn.

NARFE Cleveland Park

The Cleveland Park (DC) chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association meets today at noon at the Cleveland Park Library. Lunch: Free snacks & drinks. Contact president Randy Clarke at 202.387.7936

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

Harper's Magazine notes that at the time of her death last week, 86-year-old "grande dame" of audiobooks, Flo Gibson, was "halfway through the taping of her 1,134th title, Les Miserables."


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