Postmaster General to Propose $40 Billion Investment in USPS in Forthcoming Plan
Some of those funds would go toward development of the workforce, which has seen growing turnover.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will soon request a $40 billion investment into the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service for organizational and workforce improvements, saying the money will help address longstanding challenges the mailing agency faces.
The funds would go toward infrastructure updates such as larger facilities and new package sortation equipment, DeJoy told a panel of the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, and reducing turnover in the USPS workforce. The postmaster general did not specify where the money would come from. DeJoy and his predecessors have consistently warned about the Postal Service’s inadequate cash-on-hand, meaning he could approach Congress for additional appropriations. USPS does not typically receive federal funding, though lawmakers did award it a $10 billion grant as part of a COVID-19 relief bill last year.
A USPS spokesman declined to say how the $40 billion investment would be funded, saying only it will be revealed when postal management’s 10-year business plan is released.
DeJoy decried the Postal Service’s failure to retain employees, noting the agency hired 200,000 people in the last year without adding to its topline staffing number “an inch.” He previewed that his business plan, which is expected shortly, would work toward “stabilizing and strengthening” the workforce. He did not specify how it would reach that goal, but previously teased more generous benefits potentially aimed at non-career employees. DeJoy noted on Thursday that USPS converted 10,000 non-career workers to career positions late last year.
The commitment to invest in the workforce came on the heels of USPS announcing it would seek to shed employees as part of a restructuring effort, offering early retirement incentives to many of its non-bargaining unit workers. Despite that effort, DeJoy called the level of employee turnover “unacceptable.”
DeJoy’s yet released plan has already gained notoriety for its promise to slow mail delivery standards. The postmaster general offered more detail on that proposal on Thursday—which will likely require approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission—saying 80% of mail would be unaffected by the change. Mail currently delivered in a two-day window would not be subject to a change, while mail going across the country may see slower delivery than the current three-to-five day standard.
About a decade ago, postal management coupled slower mail delivery standards with consolidations and closures of mail processing facilities. Asked if his plan would avoid taking that approach, DeJoy declined to answer, saying he “will not commit to anything.” He pledged only to follow population trends and the needs of postal customers. Postal infrastructure has not kept up with the current demands on the agency, he said, noting USPS has too many mail processing machines relative to package sorters. After facing criticism for awarding a contract to replace its fleet that included few electric vehicles, DeJoy said USPS had years to determine the exact makeup of its new vehicles and the 10% figure he previously floated was a floor.
The postmaster general faced pointed questions from Democrats on the panel who questioned if he remained right for the job, which he deflected by faulting Congress and previous leadership for failing to take action to address the Postal Service’s problems. DeJoy repeated that the widespread mail delays that have distressed USPS since late last year are unacceptable, though he said his eight months in office have been largely successful.
“I would give myself an 'A,' ” DeJoy said when asked to grade his performance.