Are Postal Workforce Costs Sustainable?

Hearing Date: April 5, 2011 12:00 am

Chairman Darrell Issa Hearing Preview Statement

Tuesday’s hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, entitled “Are Postal Workforce Costs Sustainable,” will continue the Committee’s ongoing effort to monitor the fiscal condition of the United States Postal Service and the affordability of USPS’s workforce compensation expenses. One pressing question remains at the forefront of congressional oversight of USPS: What is needed for the postal service to bring its operating costs in line with its declining revenues?

For the past several years, USPS has been on the brink of insolvency. Immediate structural reforms and cost-cutting measures are imperative. Labor costs comprise 80 percent of USPS’s annual budget, and the current negotiations for continued labor agreements present an opportunity to implement an effective business model for USPS and place the postal service on more solid financial footing.

Congress is keenly aware that technological advances in the communications market have left USPS behind the innovative curve. The loss of volume to electronic communication and the no layoff provisions of USPS labor contracts mean that more workers are handling less mail than a decade ago. This trend will only get worse unless comprehensive reforms are implemented.

Oversight of the postal service falls within the Committee’s constitutionally-mandated responsibility. Congress will work with USPS management to ensure the permanent viability of the postal service without the need for taxpayer bailouts or the use of budget gimmicks to hide the real crisis.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable Louis J. Giuliano Chairman, Board of Governors United States Postal Service Document
The Honorable James C. Miller III Governor United States Postal Service Document
Patrick Donahoe Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer United States Postal Service Document
Cliff Guffey President American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO Document