News & information

USPS to initiate office activities study

Beginning next week, pursuant to Article 34 of the National Agreement, the Postal Service will begin conducting a study of city carriers’ office activities. As with several other recent unilateral tests involving city letter carriers, USPS once again has decided to perform this study on its own rather than examining methods to improve the work environment and procedures related to city delivery with NALC through the joint City Delivery Task Force. With this new study, the Postal Service states city carrier’s office activities will be observed and data collected in order for USPS to analyze and potentially develop new work methods or standards. Exploration of both items jointly by USPS and NALC are among the many subjects established and directed in the memorandum of understanding Re: City Delivery Task Force incorporated in the National Agreement.

NALC was first notified of the Postal Service’s intent to conduct this study in a letter dated April 19, 2019.  In a subsequent notification, dated May 1, 2019, USPS told us the information collected from this study may be used during the collective bargaining process. During a meeting held on May 17, 2019, the Postal Service informed NALC that they intended to contract a third-party company to conduct this study.  USPS also stated sites and routes would be randomly selected in which data collectors would collect data related to office activities. USPS anticipated collecting one day of data from approximately 400 routes during the study and the information would be used to evaluate current office standards and, if necessary, create new standards.

NALC didn’t hear anything further about this study until we received notification from USPS dated March 3, 2020.  We were notified that a contract had been awarded for the data collection analysis and we were provided with a list of thirty-six sites of various sizes which had been randomly selected for the study.  USPS stated the contractor will collect data through on-site visits both in the morning and the afternoon.

In a letter dated March 17, 2020, NALC was provided a list of the routes which were selected to be included in the study.  Subsequently, on March 18, 2020, the Postal Service notified NALC the study was being temporarily postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A recent letter dated July 9, 2020, notified NALC the Postal Service was continuing preparation for the proposed engineered work methods study and as part of this preparation, USPS intended to visit two sites in Marietta, Georgia to videotape city carriers performing office activities. USPS indicated the purpose of this video is to assist the contractor with creating training to be used by their observers in the study. On July 15, 2020, Director of City Delivery, Christopher Jackson, and Assistant to the President for City Delivery, Doug Lape, traveled to Marietta to visit and observe these sites while this videotaping was being conducted. Three volunteer letter carriers were videotaped while performing office duties and loading and unloading of their delivery vehicle, in the morning and afternoon.  During this visit NALC was introduced to representatives from the third-party contractor Deloitte, who will be conducting the study.

On July 24, 2020, NALC received a tentative schedule for the data collection.  The Postal Service confirmed the study will be limited to the original list of test sites and routes previously provided. Data collectors will count the mail and observe the regular carrier perform office and loading/unloading duties in the morning and the afternoon on the selected routes.  If the regular carrier is unavailable on the scheduled day, the data collector will choose another route from the list provided.  Only the routes indicated on this list are intended for the study, however if there is no regular carrier or route from the list available, USPS may choose another route to study. USPS indicates a standup talk will be provided to city carriers on the Saturday prior to the beginning of the study in selected sites. Additionally, USPS states most sites will have two to three data collectors observing the scheduled routes for one week, Monday through Saturday.  In larger offices, the data collectors will be observing for a two-week period. The entire study will be conducted over a 5-week period beginning August 3, 2020.  The data collectors will not be giving instructions and will only be asking questions to clarify functions being performed as part of the study. Throughout the study, data collectors are expected to maintain the appropriate social distancing per Postal Service social distancing protocol and CDC guidelines.

Letter carriers are reminded to continue performing their duties as they normally do, and in accordance with Handbook M-41 provisions.  NALC will be sending a local or regional representative into each site to explain the study to the letter carriers and answer any questions they may have.  Once the data collection is complete, those representatives will return and obtain feedback from the carriers involved in the study.  NALC headquarters will be monitoring this test closely and exercise its rights as necessary in accordance with Article 34 of the National Agreement.