The Post Office's 630,000 Workers

One point management makes about the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is that it has 630,000 employees. That makes it one of the largest employers in America. It also allows USPS to run its 34,000 offices. However, the figure is much too large to fulfill the declining need for the institution.

The employee base allows USPS to do several things it does not have to do. The first is that postal carriers deliver a huge amount of junk mail. Without that junk mail, USPS could not be in business at its current size. The value of junk mail to Americans is limited, particularly if it fuels the need to employ many of the 630,000 workers.

First-Class Mail is another overused service. It already has been largely replaced by email. Email also allows people to deliver attachments that, in the past, would have been packages. USPS also delivers huge numbers of bills. Americans could be encouraged, even with incentives, to pay their bills online.

USPS continues to believe there is a need to deliver mail six days a week. Few Americans must get their mail more than two or three times a week. The need for more days is fiction.

USPS has 34,000 offices. Many of these are in towns with only a few thousand residents. Even the locations in the smallest towns have ten employees or more. It is an anachronistic system.

As the economy cools and moves into recession, USPS should do what thousands of American businesses will do. This is to cut headcount to save money. It not only would drive a more sensibly sized organization but would bring USPS into the 21st century.

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