Our analyses revealed that the Christmas overtime hours are no longer necessary to ensure timely delivery of mail for the following reasons:
Christmas mail volume no longer supports the need for overtime and the associated NRLCA agreement supplemental Christmas overtime pay provision.
Specifically, for five consecutive years, the December total delivered mail volume has been less than total delivered mail volume in the months of October, which had the highest mail volume for each of the years.
In fact, during October 2004, total delivered mail volume was 5.4 percent higher than in December 2004. Further, mail volume during the month of October, over the last four calendar years consistently exceeded total delivery mail volume during the month of December.
However, overtime hours for the October months were consistently less than overtime hours for the December months. For example, even though volume was 10.49 percent less in December 2008, the Postal Service used over 74,000 overtime hours in that month than in October 2008.
Since mail volume has continued to decline, most rural carriers use less time to deliver mail on their routes than the time established at the completion of the National Rural Mail Count in March 2009. Specifically, as of December, 2009 rural carriers routes were averaging approximately 1 hour less per day to deliver their routes than established at the mail count.
Finally, our analysis of mail classes showed parcel mail volume as the only class of mail that incurred a noticeable increased during the Christmas mailing season. Based on the above facts, we concluded carriers could absorb any increase in parcel volume with their regular hours during the Christmas mailing season. Considering these conditions, the Postal Service no longer needs the Christmas overtime hours and the associated pay provision in the NRLCA agreement.