Postal Policy Lunch
The proliferation of new flat sorting machines in post offices around the country was discussed as an important new development. These machines sort magazines and other larger articles of mail much faster than the old system, much like the letter sorters currently in place.
USPS just completed an important evaluation of the machines in Indianapolis. The flat sorters are huge and can require building restructuring. But they have the capability to save each carrier about one hour of handsorting each day, theoretically allowing each carrier to reach 620 houses instead of 550. This could render about 20,000 routes obsolete if the Postal Service were able to adjust its workforce accordingly.
These machines shift manual sorting from mail carriers to clerks. Postal clerks generally belong to the American Postal Workers Union, while carriers to one of the different carrier unions. The APWU used to be the largest postal employees union, but it has fallen to number 2 since USPS has reduced the number of clerks in its workforce.