U.S. Postal Service:

Labor-Management Problems Persist on the Workroom Floor (Volume II)

GGD-94-201B: Published: Sep 29, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed labor-management relations at the U.S. Postal Service, focusing on the: (1) Service's efforts to change its corporate culture and become more competitive; (2) status of union-management relations; (3) work environment and labor relations problems in mail processing and delivery operations; and (4) Service's and unions' efforts to improve the work environment and labor-management relations.

GAO found that: (1) the Service needs to reorganize its corporate culture, improve labor-management relations, and eliminate its autocratic management style so that it can improve the quality of its postal services, become more competitive in the communications marketplace, and maintain its financial stability; (2) some union leaders are skeptical that the Service will be able to bring needed change to the workroom floor because labor-management leadership is unable to settle disputes, an autocratic organizational culture persists, and postal employees are stressed, disgruntled, and believe that the Service is operating inefficiently; (3) although mail processing and distribution employees are generally satisfied with their pay, benefits, and work, they are dissatisfied with their working conditions, treatment by management and supervisors, and recognition and reward system; (4) the Service needs to improve its city carrier system by allowing more self management so that the carriers can work at their highest performance levels; (5) past efforts to improve labor-management relations have failed because of the lack of sustained management and lack of union commitment and participation; (6) although the Service has made progress in building a labor-management partnership and making the Service a more customer- and employee-oriented system on a national level, the Service has not devised a strategy to implement these initiatives at the local level; and (7) the Service needs to provide its employees with more flexibility in work processes.

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