Postal Service:

Performing Remote Barcoding In-House Costs More Than Contracting Out

GGD-95-143: Published: Sep 13, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO compared the direct costs to the U.S. Postal Service of contracting out for remote barcoding services versus having the work done by postal employees, focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of using postal employees for these services.

GAO found that: (1) in-house barcoding would cost an estimated 6 percent more than using contractors, based on a mix of 89 percent transitional and 11 percent career employee workhours; (2) the cost differential is expected to increase to 14 percent annually to process 23 billion letters, based on an union agreement of 70 percent transitional and 30 percent career employee workhours; (3) if transitional employees receive benefits similar to career employees, as the union has requested, the cost differential would increase to 28 percent or $174 million annually; (4) using postal employees for barcoding would result in improved relations with the union; and (5) the postal union believes that using postal employees for barcoding provides the opportunity for the Postal Service and the union to cooperate in establishing and operating remote barcoding sites.

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