USPS seeking sources for Unmanned Aircraft System (drones) as delivery vehicles

September 23, 2019 — The United States Postal Service (Postal Service or USPS) is investigating the feasibility of utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones as delivery vehicles for mail as an integrated part of its vehicle delivery fleet, as well as to provide image and other data collection services.

The Postal Service recognizes that the ability of UAS to supplement mail delivery and information collection can substantially benefit the country and further the development of other autonomous systems.

The Postal Service seeks information from UAS operators and developers interested in providing aircraft and aircraft operations for delivery of mail and to collect geodetic/spatial data to improve all autonomous vehicle performance.

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USPS Floats Big Cuts to Employee Pay, Leave and Benefits

Postal Service Floats Big Cuts to Employee Pay, Leave and Benefits
New postal workers would no longer earn a pension under preliminary business plan.
July 2, 2019
U.S. Postal Service
Retirement Benefits
Eric Katz
Senior Correspondent
The U.S. Postal Service, facing pressure from Congress to propose initiatives to ensure the agency’s long-term viability, is floating a business plan that would include significant cuts to employees’ take-home pay and benefits.

USPS included a hike to the employee contribution level for pensions in a first draft of a 10-year business plan presented to lawmakers and stakeholders, according to multiple people who were briefed on it, as well as phasing out pensions altogether for new hires in favor of a defined-contribution system only. The Postal Service is looking to cut the amount of paid time off employees receive by merging annual and sick leave and pitched a popular proposal with demonstrated bipartisan backing to require all postal retirees to enroll in Medicare as their primary insurance provider.

The mailing agency suggested it resume closures of mail processing plants, according to those briefed by management, a controversial practice it has used to reduce its vast physical footprint and shed workers. USPS stopped closing the facilities amid congressional pushback and intensifying talks for a legislative overhaul to the agency. Last year, the Postal Service inspector general found the agency realized just 5% of its projected savings from the consolidation plan.

USPS told those briefed on its plan that it was still subject to change. At a hearing in April, lawmakers grilled Postmaster General Megan Brennan on why the agency had failed to produce a 10-year business plan and indicated they would not move forward on legislative reforms USPS has said it desperately needs without first viewing the document. The details of the business plan were first reported by HuffPost.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee and helped usher an overhaul bill through the panel in the last Congress, said he planned to set a July deadline for the business plan and Brennan promised to meet it.

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Bipartisan legislation introduced to repeal USPS pre-funding mandate

Close-up of the Capitol’s dome with the US flag
On April 28, Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Tom Reed (R-NY), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 2382) which would repeal the mandate that USPS “pre-fund” decades’ worth of health benefits for its future retirees, enacted through the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006.As letter carriers know, the pre-funding mandate has cost an average of $5.4 billion annually since 2007 and is responsible for 92 percent of USPS losses over the last twelve years, and 100 percent of losses over the past six years. Were this burden not imposed, USPS would have recorded surpluses of nearly $4.0 billion since 2013.

Instead, the mandate has prevented the Postal Service from properly investing in its networks and infrastructure since it was enacted and even worse, the resulting financial losses are still used to both threaten core services that Americans rely on — such as door-to-door service, six-day delivery, and convenient post office hours – and to advance proposals to privatize the Postal Service and attack the jobs and rights of America’s postal employees.

As the heart of a $1.4 trillion mailing industry that employs 7.5 million Americans, the Postal Service links more than 159 million American households and businesses to each other seven days a week. It is essential to our nation’s voting systems and to multiple industries, communities and populations, including e-commerce; prescription drugs; the nation’s paper, publishing, and advertising businesses; and to millions of small businesses and tens of millions of citizens in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the country.

“NALC applauds Reps. DeFazio, Reed, Torres Small, and Fitzpatrick for introducing this bipartisan legislation as a crucial first step toward bringing financial stability to the most trusted and highest-rated agency in the federal government,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “The USPS is a national treasure and an essential part of the nation’s economic infrastructure. Congress caused this crisis when it passed the PAEA in 2006 and Congress can begin to fix it by passing the USPS Fairness Act.”

Should this legislation progress through the House and Senate, and then be signed into law, it will significantly improve the financial situation at the Postal Service. NALC is committed to working with Congress on any and all options that can bring financial stability to this agency so that it can then focus on much needed improvements to its networks and infrastructure (i.e. fleet replacement), as well as developing new and existing products and services.

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