Contracting Out Mail Delivery
According to feedback received at PostalMag.com, the USPS is
becoming more aggressive in contracting out mail delivery to the
private sector. This move by the USPS is going largely unnoticed
in the postal world, though the National Association of Letter
Carriers (NALC) has been fighting the encroachment behind the
scenes, but to
little avail. Reportedly, the contracting out issue doomed a
recent NALC/USPS contract agreement.
The USPS is expanding the contracting out of mail delivery
through the use of Highway Contract Routes (HCRs). In the past,
HCRs were restricted to sparsely populated areas with a
density of less than one customer per
mile driven. However, the USPS revised its policies in 2003:
BULLETIN 22110 (9-4-03)
Highway Contract Service
Effective September 4, 2003, the Postal Operations Manual (POM)
slightly to clarify language regarding Highway Contract Service.
incorporate these revisions into the printed version of POM 10
and also into
the online version of the POM.
532 Types of Service
Revise the last sentence of the paragraph by deleting the last
"in sparsely populated areas," to read as follows:
"Box delivery routes are similar to rural delivery service and
or business delivery of mail."
little on the subject ourselves, we asked readers of
PostalMag.com what they knew. We immediately started receiving
feedback from different areas of the country that the USPS is
indeed using HCRs to contract out mail delivery. Here is some of
WASHINGTON: "The USPS is putting contract delivery routes in cities like Puyallup, WA,
population 35,690! The local NALC branch has been notified that 300
townhouses in one new subdivision will be delivered by a contract carrier.
This is NOT a sparsely populated area. The streets have sidewalks and the
townhouses are close together."
the post office is trying to contract out at least city
deliveries in order to reduce the union (NALC) craft. The Postal
Office say its only new address but they are doing it in the
middle of a city, (supposedly 4 hrs or more ) but this is
not always true. This has always been city carrier (NALC)
territory but the Post Office says there is nothing in our
contract that prevents them from doing this. This is also the
reason why we did not settle our contract because the Board of
Governors did not want to agree not to contract out. I also feel
that this is because we (NALC) was instrumental in getting
Postal Reform passed which limits what the board can do. These
routes are similar to HCRs in that anyone can bid on the routes.
There was an instance in Las Vegas in which one person bid on
the route, then sold it to someone else who sold it to someone
else who never showed up to deliver the mail. City Carriers had
to do so on overtime. Many more nightmares beside this all in
the name of supposedly saving money but reduction in rates. The
NALC is working on fixing this through our contract negotiations
or through Congress if needed."
ARIZONA: "Just letting you know i am in a level 20 office in Maricopa, AZ
one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. All routes from now on
in our office are becoming HCR. We are talking new communities with 1000 to
3000 new homes per community. Already talked to state steward they
said there is nothing that can be done this is coming down from the
national level. Hard to get new subs they see no future unless 1 of us retires."
FLORIDA: "I deliver mail out of the Hollywood, Florida
area. Hollywood has 8 branches, which they deliver to the
following cities, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, and
the Miramar area. Hollywood facilities have about 3 contract
routes now. One of the contract routes which is out of the
33025 zip code, has had 3 carriers on there over the first 5
months. I think someone owns the route and hires the people to
deliver the mail.
Also down in the Hollywood Beach area, they are building at
least 8-10 building on the beach with around 600 apartments
inside. All those are going to be contracted out.
Hollywood has around 152,000 residents, Miramar is growing so
fast I could only guess (100,000), Cooper City has around
31,000 residents, and Pembroke Pines has 151,000 residents.
There is really no rural areas left, they have built all the
way to the Everglades. All these cities are on the south end
of Broward County FL."
NOT KNOWN: "YOU BETTER BELIEVE they have started this crap. In
my district the PM has to go to the district before any new
developments get delivery. If it's over 40 units it is getting
contracted out. I know of one new development that should be
rural delivery that is being contracted out. When finished
this will have near 1,000 new deliveries. I understand it will
be broken into 2 contracts.
identity and mail theft to go through the roof. There is
nothing to stop a contractor from "subcontracting" his route
to some illegal and pay him as little as possible.
is clueless on this. Hopefully NALC will get congressional
help to stop this travesty.
supervisor and PM I have talked to says this is a BAD IDEA."
WASHINGTON: "I've heard that a separate contractor for each box delivery route isn't
working well. I'm almost certain the USPS wants ONE contractor per area
(meaning facility or zip code) that then hires several individuals to work
for him. That reduces the USPS Supply Dept's workload supervising
contractors as there would be fewer of them.
Some contract box delivery routes are manned with couples (husband & wife,
father & son, mother & daughter, etc). One drives on the left and one sits
on the right stuffing mailboxes. Would city carriers like working in teams
if they could? It would be like "Amazing Race" in each office.
Unlike city carriers, contractors don't have to set their brakes, turn off
the ignition, lock their doors or turn their front wheels constantly. The
manual they follow is Handbook P-5, Highway Contract Routes."
Letter carriers protest plan for Beaverton-area
"The U.S. Postal Service plans to hire a contractor to
deliver mail in the Arbor Parc subdivision north of Beaverton, a
move that is believed to be a first for the Portland area but is
criticized by the letter carriers' union. In a letter to the
union, Beaverton Postmaster John Lee said the agency thinks it
can save $33,878 a year by using a contractor to serve the
growing subdivision." Beaverton: Stop
Contracting Out - Join The Picket Line March 15 (PDF) -
Mail delivery shouldn't be contracted out
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Rural Carrier: "We have 19 rural routes in our
office, and until just a few weeks ago, no HCR'S. Ours is not
your traditional HCR and that should scare all of us. We have a
direct mailing company called Herrington. This delivery has
ALWAYS been delivered by an RCA, and since about 2 years ago,
they also took care of the Express by noontime pieces. They also
in the evening did the collections in town. This was about an
eight hour day for a sub, although it was a split shift type
deal. This whole job has now been bid out and is an HCR of
sorts. Not a real "route" but a lot of different jobs that gave
subs hours. Now we have someone doing this Mon-Fri who hasn't a
clue. There has been a grievance filed by both the NRLCA and the
clerks union on this HCR."
asked for clarification on several points in the above
submission. The response:
"Yes, all the
express we receive in the am is now delivered by the HCR. We
only see it for second attempts. All pm collection boxes and 2
postal stores (like mailboxes etc) are picked up by the HCR.
Herrington is a large catalog company that has MANY parcel
returns, sometimes as many as 4 full LLV's full (Mondays) The
HCR person drives a new SUV and makes many trips everyday to
this business. This is a Mon-Fri job for this person, usually 7
to 8 hours per day, money out of the RCA's pockets. I can't wait
to see what happens the first time this person doesn't show up
indicates new growth in area will be contracted out to a CDS
(Contract Delivery Service Route or Contract Delivery Supplier), which appears to be similar
to an HCR:
"The most cost effective method of
delivering mail is a CDS (Contract Delivery Service Route).
The Postal Service has implemented that all new growth will be
entered on CDS routes. Therefore Mid-America is going to
comply. Below is Clarification for all future growth in Mid
America. Postmasters, Station Managers and Supervisors are
going to have to be pro-active and contact xxx xxxxx and xxx
xxxxx when they need a CDS route established. Contact your
city or county and get projected new growth, plat maps and
addresses prior to development in your Delivery area/ZIP. If
you have new subdivisions/phases/highrises/developments or
substantial new future growth that will result in at least 1
hour within the next year, contact xxx xxxxx and copy xxx
xxxxx. AMS will need to create a CDS (H000) route to put this
future growth on in your office. Then you will need to send
AMS at the address list, include the delivery mode,
business/residential and cell size needed. A 4003 will then
need to be created in order for xxx to send to the Area to
request a contract for this route
New deliveries added to a CDS
route do NOT need Area approval.
New deliveries added to existing
HCR routes do NOT need Area approval
NEW ADDRESSES ON CITY OR RURAL
ROUTES NEED TO BE APPROVED BY AREA- If you need to add single
delivery points to a city or rural route, you must answer the
following questions for each delivery point you request to add
to a city or rural route.
1.Is this a single delivery point
that is NOT part of a new subdivision/phases/highrise/development
or substantial new future growth that will result in at least
1 hour within the next year?
2.Does the carrier already deliver
this block range?
3.Is this in the carriers existing
line of travel?
If you have
information on the subject please send to
Thanks to the readers who responded with the information above.
USPS - Contract Delivery Service
Spokane, WA. Job Listing: Be an INDEPENDENT
CONTRACTOR for the USPS