Watchdog says USPS regularly cheats workers of pay
An investigation from a government watchdog has found that managers within the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) regularly cheat workers out of their pay and are rarely disciplined for their actions.
The federal government has cited the agency 1,150 times since 2005 for underpaying letter carriers and other employees, according to an investigation from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).
According to the watchdog, the Labor Department found that those workers lost a combined $659,000 in pay, but only allowed the Postal Service to pay back less than half that amount.
The watchdog further found that at least 250 managers in 60 post offices nationwide changed mail carriers’ time cards to show them working fewer hours between 2010 and 2019, citing private arbitration awards.
Mail carriers told the center that they faced pressure to keep overtime costs down at a time when the agency is short staffed and carriers are delivering record numbers of items.
The precarious finances of the USPS were spotlighted during election season last year due to concerns over the speed and reliability of mail-in balloting.
CPI noted that the Postal Service has cut nearly 142,000 jobs since 2007, and needed $10 billion from Congress to help pay bills in March 2020. And Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has continued pushing to cut costs despite the service repeatedly missing its delivery time targets.
Postal carriers regularly log extra hours, and CPI found that managers often delete hours to show carriers ending shifts earlier or taking unpaid lunch breaks. Supervisors often didn’t explain the changes or notify employees that their hours were being altered.
CPI found those supervisors were rarely disciplined, and some continued to alter time cards after saying they would stop.
Dave Partenheimer, a spokesperson for USPS, told The Hill in a statement that the agency “does not condone supervisors making unsupported timecard adjustments and takes such allegations seriously.”
“Additionally, the Postal Service continues to enhance its time and attendance technologies and processes to provide greater oversight of timekeeping practices and increase employee insight into their own work hours,” Partenheimer said.