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USPS finances

Woman sorts mail in postal plant

The Postal Service has reported its financial results for fiscal 2019’s first quarter (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2018). Here are some highlights:

• Revenue. Total revenue was $19.7 billion, up 2.9 percent compared to the same period one year earlier. First-Class Mail revenue declined 1.2 percent, while Marketing Mail revenue increased 4.9 percent. Shipping and packages revenue increased 8.7 percent.

• Volume. Total volume was 40.2 billion pieces, up 1.3 percent from the same period last year. First-Class Mail volume declined 2.8 percent, while Marketing Mail volume grew 4.8 percent. Shipping and packages volume increased 5.4 percent.

• Expenses. Total operating expenses were $21.2 billion for the quarter, a 7.9 percent increase from the same period one year ago. Excluding the effect of a $621 million non-cash workers’ compensation expense increase resulting from changes in interest rates and actuarial assumptions, operating expenses would have been $20.6 billion for the quarter, a 4.8 percent increase compared to the same quarter last year. The remaining operating expense increase was largely driven by increases in compensation and benefits due to additional hours and contractual wage adjustments, and transportation costs due to higher fuel costs and highway contract rate inflation.

• Net loss. The net loss for the quarter totaled $1.5 billion, an increase in net loss of almost $1 billion compared to the same quarter last year.

“We continued to drive growth in our package business and expanded use of the Marketing Mail channel during the quarter. Nevertheless, we face ongoing financial challenges. We remain focused on aggressive management of the business, legislative reform and pricing system reform, all of which are necessary to put the Postal Service on firm financial footing,” said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan. “Our nation is best served by a financially sustainable Postal Service that can invest in its future and meet the evolving mailing and shipping needs of the American public.”

The Postal Service’s Feb. 8 news release has more information.

Ready to roll

Man in postal uniform sits inside delivery vehicle

My name is David Demanchick, and I’m an automotive technician at the USPS Vehicle Maintenance Facility in Rochester, NY. I help keep delivery vehicles moving.

My day starts at 6 a.m. After I punch in, I go to work on the “tags,” which is what we call a vehicle that breaks down. It might be a mail truck or a car that has a flat tire. We fix these first because they need to get back on the road for mail delivery.

After the tags are done, I start on regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance. I try to find problems before they become problems.

I work with 25 employees, and we service about 900 vehicles a year.

My shift ends at 2:30 p.m. I used to work the night shift, but my wife Rachel and I just had a baby boy — Landon, who is six months old. This shift works better for me and my family.

Before I joined USPS in 2012, I worked for an auto repair shop. I also served four years in the Navy, which I joined right out of high school. When my military career ended, I went to automotive repair school on the GI Bill. I’ve always had an interest in car repair.

I’m from a close Italian family, so when I’m not working, we’re off doing things. I like boating on Lake Ontario. I also like hunting deer.

The Postal Service is great. You get a pension, you get time off. The pay is good. There’s a good team environment. I have a bunch of friends at work.

Vehicle maintenance doesn’t get a lot attention. Nobody ever sees us. But without us servicing these trucks, the mail will never get to where it has to go. So I think this is an important job.

“On the Job,” a series on individual employees and their contributions to the Postal Service, appears regularly in Link.

Answering the call

Four workers stand in postal processing plant

Caleb and Aubrey Rhodes recently prepared to travel to Bangkok on a humanitarian mission to help hearing impaired people.

Their flight was the next day, but their passports still had not arrived.

So the Rhodeses contacted Brookport, IL, Postmaster Carrie Obermark, who put out a call for help to colleagues in Gateway District.

Benny Cockrell, an electronics technician at the St. Louis Network Distribution Center, was one of the people who responded.

“We all kept our eyes on the product tracking report to see if the barcode got scanned,” he said. “It got close to 12 a.m. and no hits on the [report]. I got to thinking the envelope could have been keyed and wound up being facedown, so that would mean it would not be scanned.”

Cockrell found the envelope in an outgoing mail sack around midnight and gave it to his supervisor, Bruce Allen. Employees then worked together to personally transport the envelope to the Rhodeses so they could make their flight.

Said Chuck Sciurba, the district manager: “It’s rewarding when we can make a late or missing package customer experience a positive one.”

Know your numbers

Woman exercises in class

February is American Heart Month — a time to be good to your heart — and knowing your numbers can help.

Cardiovascular disease is a top cause of death around the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

Here are five things to help you protect and care for your heart:

  • Exercise regularly
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Skip salt at mealtime
  • Balance your stress with enjoyable activities
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend knowing some key numbers when it comes to your health. When you have your annual physical, make sure you find out your blood pressure, body mass index and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The Wellness Toolkit LiteBlue page has more information, including a Know Your Numbers chart that explains how your numbers provide a glimpse of your health status.