Sunday, March 24, 2013

Haminator, part 2

Or, what Mary Katherine Ham doesn't know about the Post Office could fill a book . . . and probably should.

In a recent post, MKH expressed her dismay at the Post Office continuing to function with six day delivery.  Also saddening to her is the fact that conservative budget hero, Paul Ryan's own proposed budget "...spares the Postal Service from vehicle fleet reductions imposed on other agencies despite the fact that mail volume has been steadily decreasing." 

What the Haminator doesn't know, because she didn't bother to check, is that the decline in volume seems to be leveling off.  When coupled with a 15% increase in parcels (we delivered 35.6% of FedEx's ground shipments last fiscal year...yeah, she doesn't know that either), it's not like our trucks are going on the street empty.  We're also not losing deliveries, so we actually still need the mail trucks honey.

Though the Post Office has reduced the number of city carriers by over 28% since 1997, we are functioning with a vehicle fleet that is over 20 years old.  My own truck has over 80,000 miles of stop & go city driving on it.  Starting and shutting off hundreds of times a day.  Driving through flooded streets . . . you know, that whole "wind, rain, dark of night" business.  Basically, we can't afford to just toss old vehicles away because there's always the chance we have to replace one that can no longer be repaired.

MKH also doesn't have any idea what the current business plan is within the P.O.  So far this year, we've hired over 30,000 part time carriers, the new CCA's, and management's idea is to flood the offices with part-timers to pick up all the overtime.  It sounds good on the surface, but the idea has been tried before and has failed miserably.

Let's look at a hypothetical office with 20 routes.  If it's like my office (I work 10 hours a day, six days a week . . . yeah, I'm exhausted) you'll have about 20 hours of overtime a day to pick up.  So figure 5 CCA's to pick up four hours each.  Why like that?  Well, first off, Scotty doesn't just beam you from route to route, so there's driving time between "pieces" plus you've got to get your stuff set up, etc.  Plus that whole pesky federal law about a 10 minute break every four hours, a lunch at six or more . . . oh for the glorious days of forced labor and sweatshops, right Mary?

So four hours in pieces takes about six hours.

Secondly, these subs cannot do the route pieces as fast or as accurately as the regulars.  Just a fact.  As I mentioned in the other post, we send this dude out to do a route that we're expected to finish by 3:45 and we have to send 5 guys out to rescue him just to get him back by 5:30.  We carriers may be trained chimps, but we're the Dr. Zaius chimps.

So one sub . . . 4 hours in pieces.

Anyway, what are these CCA's gonna drive?  If we need five subs, we need five trucks.  Can't reduce the fleet if we need more vehicles for all these overtime-wiper-outers to drive.  And you can't just suggest they drive our trucks when we get back.  The Post Office has adjusted these routes to eight hours a day or more already (mine is adjusted to 8 hours and 7 minutes out of season), and is in the process of gaming the numbers to make the routes even larger.  If 4:00 is our end tour, we're just getting back a few minutes before that.  And neither we, nor the subs, can be on the street after 5:00, that whole "window of operation" thingy that is supposedly about safety but is routinely violated by management directive.  So there's no time for these subs to take our trucks out and deliver our overtime.  Unless you're going to hire 20 guys and have them waiting for us to get back, just to jump in our trucks and finish our routes for us.  Now there's some real efficiency for ya!

You see, it's a bit more complicated than just striking through numbers on a balance sheet.

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