Postal Service Turns to Six-Hour Shifts to Reduce Costs

Packages wait to be sorted in a Post Office as U.S. Postal Service letter carrier of 19 years, Michael McDonald, gathers mail to load into his truck before making his delivery run. Packages wait to be sorted in a Post Office as U.S. Postal Service letter carrier of 19 years, Michael McDonald, gathers mail to load into his truck before making his delivery run. David Goldman/AP

Six has been a critical number for the U.S. Postal Service lately.

In February, the Postmaster General announced USPS was cutting Saturday mail delivery, going from a six-day to a five-day schedule. The House passed a government funding bill Wednesday that included the rider “six-day delivery…shall continue,” calling into question the Postal Service’s legal authority to make the change.

Now the Postal Service is facing a new six: Six-hour shifts. The cash-strapped agency recently posted more than 1,000 job openings with the shortened schedule.

A USPS spokesman called the six-hour rather than eight-hour shifts “one of many strategies the Postal Service has put in place to better align our work hours with the workload.”

The shifts will align the employees' work schedule with the Postal Service's POSt Plan, which limits operating hours at thousands of Post Offices to two, four or six hours per day in an effort to reduce costs while not completely shutting the offices down." 

The Postal Service recently bought out 26,500 employees and plans to reduce its workforce by 150,000 by 2015.

The new positions are for local postmasters and the initial hiring period began on March 5 and will continue through March 20. The jobs were originally posted on the Postal Employee Network. 

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