U. S. Postal Service officials constantly look for new technology to deliver the mail more efficiently, but it's been 35 years since they updated their labor-management rule book.

The Postal Service's "Employee and Labor Relations Manual" is almost as out-of-date as the agency is old, according to the USPS Inspector General.

There hasn't been a complete review and update since the manual was published in 1978, only seven years after the postal service was established.

The manual contains the policies and regulations that govern the "organizational structure, pay administration, employee benefits, employee relations, training and development, safety, health and environment, and labor relations," according to the IG.

The "guidance" section of the manual, which is used to "publish electronic and paper documents containing corporate policies, procedures, and forms," has not been updated since 1996.

But nobody says postal managers must update the manual, and they aren't even sure who "owns" the publication's content, the IG said.

"The ELM is frequently cited by both internal and external stakeholders in matters concerning Postal Service employment; therefore, it is vital that it contains information that is current and in agreement with Postal Service policy," the IG said.

An out-of-date ELM "could potentially result in negative legal, contractual or other business consequences to the Postal Service," the IG found.

The Postal Service said it will now conduct ELM reviews to make sure necessary updates no longer go unnoticed.