Postal Employment and Barcoding

GGD-96-54R: Published: Dec 15, 1995. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Postal Service's (USPS) automation program, focusing on: (1) changes in USPS employment since the 1992 downsizing decision; and (2) USPS actions and plans to convert contractor remote barcoding operations to in-house operations. GAO noted that: (1) during USPS downsizing, the total number of employees decreased 2.6 percent by April 1993, but the number of employees increased 9.5 percent by November 1995; (2) although the number of career employees fell short of the May 1989 level, the number of noncareer employees exceeded the May 1989 level by 44,000; (3) the volume of mail processed increased 11.7 percent from 1989 to 1995; (4) transitional employees at remote barcoding centers accounted for the largest increase in noncareer employees; (5) mail clerks, carriers, and handlers accounted for the largest increases in career employment; (6) USPS expects to convert all existing barcoding centers to in-house operations by December 1996 and is bringing its barcoding centers into compliance with occupational health and safety regulations; (7) USPS has spent $6.6 million to convert 9 barcoding sites to in-house operations as of October 1995; and (8) when possible, USPS has hired contractor employees to fill its barcoding positions.

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