Nati Harnik / AP

USPS Announces Workforce Attrition Measures to Accompany Reorganized Structure

The Postal Service is centralizing some of its functions, and some positions are on the chopping block.

The U.S. Postal Service is consolidating its organizational structure of 67 districts down to 50, a move that will shake up and downsize the mailing agency’s workforce. 

Postal management is offering voluntary early retirement to impacted staff, which includes non-bargaining unit administrative personnel at its Washington headquarters, as well as those in “headquarters-related” area and district offices. USPS said it will make the offers, which will not include a separation incentive and would become effective April 30, to avoid forced layoffs, or reductions in force. The agency said the changes would “improve efficiency” and better serve postal customers. 

Dave Partenheimer, a USPS spokesman, declined to offer details on how many employees would be offered the chance to retire early or how many positions the Postal Service is seeking to eliminate. The agency did not rule out that RIFs could become necessary if an insufficient number of workers accept the early retirement offers. USPS told its workers that those in relevant offices in executive, management and technical pay bands, as well as administrative schedules, will receive the offers. Employees must be at least 50 years old with 20 years of federal service, or any age with 25 years of service, to qualify for early retirement. The offers went out this week and employees must make a decision by April 16.

USPS cautioned more workforce changes are still coming in the months ahead, noting a final stage of organizational change is underway and it will make an announcement on its staffing impacts in May. 

The new districts will align closely with state boundaries, as shown below in a map obtained by Government Executive. USPS briefed staff at the area level Wednesday afternoon as it announced the changes to the media. In addition to the district consolidations, workforce reductions were made necessary under the changes as USPS is centralizing its marketing functions rather than keeping them dispersed throughout its district and area levels. The Postal Service will also align its logistics and processing operations along the same geographic lines as its retail and delivery operations. 

The shakeup is the second set of organizational changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has announced since taking office last year, following a realignment of postal work into three divisions last summer that was accompanied by the shuffling of C-suite executives.  

“These organizational changes will strengthen our mission and commitment to serve the American people by improving efficiency and streamlining decision making throughout the organization,” said Postmaster General DeJoy. “By improving operational focus and business strategy execution along with greater investment, we will strengthen our public service mission, achieve service excellence and place the Postal Service on a path toward financial sustainability.”

DeJoy has promised to release in the coming weeks a 10-year business plan that will lay out more changes, some of which will require legislative or regulatory approval. 

USPS last offered early retirements on a large scale in 2018 when it provided the incentive to 26,000 mail handlers and clerks. The Postal Service said at the time those offers were part of an effort to “right-size” its workforce in response to accelerating declines in mail volumes. It went through several workforce reduction efforts in the early 2010s as it consolidated mail processing plants and slowed down mail delivery. DeJoy has said USPS will again aim to slow delivery windows as part of his forthcoming plan, but has not previewed whether that would be coupled with plant closures or additional workforce attrition measures. 

The Postal Service now has about 500,000 career employees, down nearly 300,000 from its peak near the turn of the century. USPS has grown its non-career workforce dramatically in that time, which now numbers more than 100,000.

This story has been updated with additional information.