Sharp drop in federal employment expected - BaltimoreSun.com
Budget cuts and retirements likely to account for 14 percent decrease in workforce
March 6, 2014
...The Postal Service will be one of the hardest-hit agencies, projections show, as consumers continue to rely on the Internet and order fewer magazines and catalogs. The agency stands to lose an estimated 169,000 positions ó more than 40 percent of lost government jobs.
"We do see declines in occupations in the Postal Service as people use more email and online payments to pay bills, so there's not as much mail volume," said Teri Morisi, branch chief for occupational employment projections at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "The Postal Service is using automated systems to sort mail and also is moving toward more centralized mail delivery, clustered mailboxes and not door-to-door."
Unions that represent postal workers, including those in the greater Baltimore area, believe the Postal Service has been unfairly targeted as a money-losing enterprise. Much of the agency's fiscal woe stems from a congressional requirement that it pre-fund health benefits for future retirees for the next 75 years.
"The postal worker's job is definitely under attack right now," said George Askew, president of the Baltimore-based Local 181 of the American Postal Workers Union. "Any business owner will tell you you can't cut your way to prosperity."
As the workforce is reduced, Askew said, customer service will erode. His local represents 1,400 postal mail process clerks, vehicle drivers and maintenance employees in the Baltimore area.
Reducing services will mean "consolidating postal offices and reducing good-paying postal jobs," he said. ....
Amazon plans revamp of U.S. shipping with mix of private fleet, regional carriers, USPS - DCVelocity.com
Company-controlled capacity to serve 40 largest population centers, consultant says.
March 6, 2014
Amazon.com. Inc. is moving quickly to revamp its delivery network to gain more control over its fulfillment infrastructure while reining in spiraling transportation costs, according to a supply chain consultant with close ties to the e-tailing giant.
James Tompkins, who runs Tompkins International, a Raleigh, N.C.-based consultancy, said Amazon has divided the nation into three segments based on population size: The top 40 markets, which comprise about half of the U.S. population; the next 60 largest population areas that account for about 17 percent, and the remaining population, which account for about one-third.
The top 40 markets will be served by a private fleet being built by Amazon to support an expansion of its online grocery business, called "Amazon Fresh," according to Tompkins. The next 60 will be served by an array of regional parcel delivery carriers, he said. The remainder will be served mostly by the U.S. Postal Service, he said.
UPS Inc., which today handles much of Seattle-based Amazon's current deliveries, will not play a prominent role in the network realignment, Tompkins said. Nor will FedEx Corp., which manages a lesser portion of Amazon's delivery business. An Amazon spokeswoman was unavailable to comment.
Orders will be routed through Amazon's 55 fulfillment centers, with deliveries made the same day, the next day or, at most, in two days, Tompkins said. Inventory will be positioned to exclusively support local deliveries. A national delivery network as operated by providers like FedEx and UPS will be rendered irrelevant because they will be considered too slow to suit the typical Amazon customer, he said.
Tompkins said that Amazon has a timeline for its rollout, but that he is unaware of the details. "They are moving on this very aggressively," he said. ....
Postal workers to picket Ben's in Belleville over in-store post office - BND.com
March 6, 2014
A postal workers union is planning to picket along the sidewalks Friday outside Ben's Crafts & Floral because the downtown Belleville retailer houses a new post office.
Edward Eversman, vice president Southwestern Illinois Area Local 407 of the American Postal Workers Union in St. Louis, said the informational picket outside 112 E. Main St. is in response to the post office that opened last inside Ben's last month. Eversman, whose union represents maintenance workers and employees who staff the customer counters at the Belleville Post Office at 120 W. Washington St., said his union and others believes this new in-store post office threatens the jobs and integrity of the Belleville Post Office.
"Our belief is post office retail centers like the one inside Ben's, which is only three blocks away from the post office, will pull business away from the Belleville Post Office and lead to reduced hours reduced business at the Belleville Post Office," Eversman said.
The post office retail center, or "contract postal unit," is one of 65,000 that the U.S. Postal Service operates inside retail stores across the country, said U.S. Postal Service Gateway District Spokeswoman Valerie Welsch. She said the contract postal unit that has opened inside Ben's is not intended to reduce or phase out services at the downtown Belleville post office.
"The concept of the postal union is not all at all new to the postal service," Welsch said. "The fact that we have 65,000 across the nation says a lot. The CPUs have not taken away from the postal service and has not eliminated jobs. They have just provided greater access to our customer service and postal products."
Eversmann said as many as 60 to 120 will be picketing the downtown Belleville store between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday and will include members of the local AFL-CIO.
Ben's store manager Beth Wamble said she and the store staff are extremely upset about the planned picketing. In a statement released Wednesday said the in-store postal service provides convenience for customers. She has been told that this will not impact current postal employment.
"We entered into this contract in good faith and with good intentions," Wamble said. "We are a locally owned business and have made a sizeable investment to help support the post office in Belleville and we feel that the union should take their issues to the post office rather than taking actions that could negatively affect our business and our future."
Chicago Mail carriers fret over later shifts - SWNewsHerald.com
March 7, 2014
ďWe are definitely opposed to this change,Ē said Mack I. Julion, president of Local Branch 11 of the National Association of Letter Carriers. ďIf people think they are getting their mail late now, it is going to be even later.
ďThis is not being done in a vacuum,Ē added Julion, noting that shifts are being altered for postal workers in Florida and various other places around the country.
After being told that some carriers expressed safety concerns about working late, Julion said he agreed, and added that they have reason to be worried.
ďThere are some dangerous neighborhoods out there,Ē he said, pointing out that there have been many incidents of carriers being robbed and assaulted on their routes.
A USPS spokesman could not be reached for comment earlier this week, but USPS officials have stated that the later start times have been initiated in an effort to get more mail delivered. The later start times are expected to allow time for more shipments to be brought to the sorting stations before the carriers start their shifts.
However, Julion maintains that many of the problems are due to the closure of mail-processing plants, and reduction in staff that began in 2012 as a cost-saving measure.
The main plant in Chicago was closed, and mail is now processed in Bedford Park and other locations. Julion said those plants should adjust their hours, and be open 24 hours so the mail will be at the sorting stations earlier for the carriers.
Hail, mail! - HeraldTribune.com
Keeping the processing center local
March 5, 2014
Hold the sympathy cards. Instead, you might want to send congratulations to a host of public officials in Manatee County and Washington on the last-minute rescue of the local mail distribution center.
Thanks to their 18-month effort, some 300 local, good-paying jobs will remain in our community -- while handling and delivery of local mail might be a little bit quicker than expected.
The Postal Service's Manasota Processing and Distribution Center, near Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, had been scheduled to close this week and have its operations shifted to Fort Myers.
That questionable decision -- following a lengthy roller-coaster ride of conflicting studies and financial estimates -- was put on hold Sunday when the Postal Service announced that the center will remain open. ....
Help Out the USPSóand Yourselfóby Amping Up Your Direct Mail - DMNews.com
March 6, 2014
The recent decision of the Postal Regulatory Commission to increase postal rates by 4.3% to make up for recessionary lossesóon top of a 1.7% inflationary spikeóhas been lambasted by direct mail organizations. But should we be sounding the death knell for direct mail as an effective marketing channel? Hardly.
Businesses can actually help pull the struggling USPS out of the red and make a decent buck in the process by investing more, not less, in direct mail marketing during 2014. The key is designing clever, targeted direct mail campaigns that take advantage of some creative approachesóand technology. ....
City Delivery Efficiency Ė South Florida District - USPSOIG.gov [pdf]
USPS OIG Audit Report Number DR-AR-14-004
March 4, 2014
WHAT THE OIG FOUND:
The South Florida District has opportunities to enhance efficiency in city delivery operations. We found that 83 of 112 delivery units (74 percent) used 374,982 more workhours than projected. This occurred because management did not always enforce policies and procedures for supervising city delivery operations. Also, office and street supervision was inconsistent at the delivery units, allowing for some inefficiency in operations. Officials indicated their office workload priorities limited their ability to monitor carriers delivering mail. We identified the potential to eliminate 374,982 workhours through improved supervision and other efforts. This would increase overall efficiency at these delivery units and allow the Postal Service to avoid about $15 million in costs annually.
We also identified assets at risk totaling $165,508 at four delivery units due to inadequate safeguards. Management immediately initiated corrective action on these security matters.
WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:
We recommended the manager, South Florida District, instruct unit supervisors at the 83 delivery units to eliminate 374,982 workhours. We also recommended the manager reinforce policies and procedures for supervising city delivery office and street operations at these delivery units and eliminate inefficient practices. Further, we
recommended the manager require delivery supervisors to establish, review, and update integrated operating plans to ensure mail arrives timely and in route order for easy retrieval by letter carriers.
Long Island Community Not Alone In Quest For Regular Mail Deliveries - NewYork.cbslocal.com
March 5, 2014
"Sometimes I get my mail, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get other peoples mail. Sometimes I get my mail three or four days later," said North Babylon resident Jill Swensen.
"It's unheard of, my neighbors are all complaining," said Manhasset Hills resident Vera Zarenva.
Now, residents in Babylon, Bay Shore and Huntington Station say they're dealing with the same problems.
"Sometimes I get mail late. Sometimes I don't get mail at all," Babylon resident Charles Smith said.
"It should be there Monday through Saturday and when it's not, it's quite disappointing," another resident said.
The U.S. Postal Service told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff that staffing is an issue.
The National Association of Letter Carriers, however, said there's a manpower shortage not just on Long Island, but in other high-cost living parts of the country.
One-third of carriers are actually $15 per hour carrier assistants called CCAs, Gusoff reported. And through this harsh winter, there's been a high turnover rate within the USPS.
"The CCAs are working seven days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day. It's hard to keep that up seven days a week, for 30 days. It's brutal," said Larry Cirelli of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
Itís dťjŗ vu all over again
Obamaís 2015 budget follows PMGís misguided lead on Saturday delivery - NALC.org
March 5, 2014óAs it has for the past four years, the Obama administrationís budget proposal for 2015 defers to the misguided wishes of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe by calling for the end of Saturday mail delivery and for allowing the Postal Service to ďbegin shifting to centralized and curbside delivery where appropriate.Ē Rather than eliminate or repeal the pre-funding burden, the budget would simply restructure and re-amortize the liability for future retiree health benefits, pushing the problem off into the future.
The 2015 budget proposal also would make permanent the 4.3 percent exigent postal rate increase enacted in January, an increase that the Postal Regulatory Commission had set to expire in two years.
These budget proposals not only fail to address the main source of the Postal Serviceís problems, they also directly threaten nearly 100,000 good postal jobs at a time when the Postal Serviceís finances have rebounded strongly.
These proposals, cooked up in the panic of 2009 and 2010 when the Great Recession was in full swing, never made sense: Cutting service is a prescription for driving even more business away. The proposals make even less sense now that the Postal Service is earning operating profits (before one accounts for a pre-funding expense that no other agency or company faces), while an e-commerce boom is pushing the Postal Service to provide service seven days a week.
ďThe Office of Management and Budget remains under the spell of a misguided postmaster general, a leader who seems committed to sticking to an obsolete austerity plan devised in very different circumstances,Ē NALC President Fredric Rolando said. ďOMB has lazily produced a weak, job-killing postal reform plan that Congress should soundly reject.Ē
Republican leaders denounced President Obamaís plan as ďdead on arrivalĒóalbeit for much different reasons. ďStill, Ďdead on arrivalí seems about right to me,Ē Rolando said. ďNALC and other postal stakeholders must come together with our allies in Congress on a plan to help the Postal Service innovate and grow.
ďItís time to maximize the value of our incredible universal networks, not to dismantle them,Ē Rolando said.
NALC has communicated our views to the Obama administration. White House officials have indicated their willingness to discuss alternative postal reform proposals, and the NALC will pursue those discussions expeditiously.
Meanwhile, the four postal unions will work together to mobilize our members as well as the general public to support a strong and innovative Postal Service.
(comment/see related articles on "Politics and Global Issues" page at 21cpw.com)
Postal Service publishes Final Rule on service changes for Standard Mail - SaveThePostOffice.com
March 5, 2014
Today the Postal Service published the Final Rule [pdf] on the Load Leveling plan in the Federal Register. As the Rule states, "The Postal Service is revising the service standards for Standard Mail that is eligible for Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) rates. These changes will allow a more balanced distribution of DSCF Standard Mail across delivery days." The effective date is April 10, 2014.
Apparently the Postal Service is not going to wait to hear what the Postal Regulatory Commission has to say about Load Leveling in its Advisory Opinion, which is due out around March 27.
Itís been clear for a while now that the Postal Service was going to implement the plan regardless of what the PRC or anyone else had to say about it. We made that point in a previous post, and last week, the PRCís Public Representative discussed the matter in her Reply Brief [pdf].
As the PR notes, in comments filed with the Commission, Quad/Graphics stated that during a January 10, 2014 webinar with mailers, the Postmaster General said that he planned to go ahead with the Load Leveling Plan regardless of the Commissionís opinion. Many of the mailers have said that they felt ďrailroaded [pdf]Ē and ďmanipulated [pdf]Ē by the Postal Service and that they believed the Postal Service decided to move forward with these changes ďwith limited regard [pdf] to the views of its customers.Ē ....
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): There's No Need to End Saturday Mail Delivery - Sanders.senate.gov
March 5, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service is one of our most popular and important government agencies. It provides universal service six days a week to every corner of America, no matter how small or remote. It supports millions of jobs in virtually every other sector of our economy. It provides decent-paying union jobs to some 500,000 Americans, and it is the largest employer of veterans.
Whether you are a low-income elderly woman living at the end of a dirt road in Vermont or a wealthy CEO living on Park Avenue, you get your mail six days a week. And you pay for this service at a cost far less than anywhere else in the industrialized world.
Yet the Postal Service is under constant and vicious attack. Why? The answer is simple. There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that government now performs, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, public education or the Postal Service. They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services, and couldn't care less how privatization or a degradation of services affects ordinary Americans.
For years, antigovernment forces have been telling us that there is a financial crisis at the Postal Service and that it is going broke. That is not true. The crisis is manufactured.
At the insistence of the Bush administration, Congress in 2006 passed legislation that required the Postal Service to prefund, over a 10-year period, 75 years of future retiree health benefits. This onerous and unprecedented burdenó$5.5 billion a yearóis responsible for all of the financial losses posted by the Postal Service since October 2012. ....
Press Release: Quad/Graphics to Expand East Coast Commingling Operations - WSJ.com
Expansion Will Enhance Postal Savings Opportunities for Direct Mail Marketers
March 3, 2014
Quad/Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: QUAD), is strengthening its market leading direct marketing platform with a multimillion-dollar expansion of its East Coast commingling center in Westampton, N.J. The expansion includes six new state-of-the-art letter sorters housed in newly leased space that will enhance clients' postal savings opportunities and mail delivery efficiencies.
"Given the recent exigent postal rate increase, marketers are more pressured than ever to find solutions to offset their total cost of production and distribution without having to cut into important sales and revenue-generation activities such as prospecting," said Steve Jaeger, President of Direct Marketing for Quad/Graphics. "Direct mail remains one of the most effective channels for engaging consumers and driving response and our expanded commingling platform helps marketers optimize delivery of this powerful print channel to achieve their business goals."
The commingling process merges individual letter-size mail pieces from multiple clients into a single mailstream that qualifies for U.S. Postal Service presort discounts and dropship savings. The process appends mail pieces with an Intelligent Mail (IMb) barcode to qualify for the most advantageous postage rates while also giving marketers the ability to track their campaigns at the per-piece level. Quad/Graphics' massive commingling volumes drive the greatest possible postal savings while speeding in-home delivery predictably and efficiently. ....
USPS News Link - Balancing the load
ĎLoad levelingí to more evenly spread Standard Mail delivery
March 4, 2014
USPS is implementing new rules designed to revise delivery expectations for some Standard Mail that will result in a more balanced distribution of volume throughout the week.
Standard Mail pieces that qualify for the Destination Sectional Center Facility rate generally are delivered in three days. With its new rules, USPS is extending delivery to four days for mail entered Friday or Saturday.
USPS says this change will improve delivery efficiency and reduce the traditional heavy Monday workload by spreading the delivery of these Standard Mail pieces across the week. The broadened delivery expectation also benefits customers, since a smaller number of mailpieces delivered each day will more effectively compete for the consumerís attention.
Prior to implementing this change, the Postal Service worked with a mail industry workgroup to conduct a test of the load-leveling concept. The test confirmed that extending the delivery date for Standard Mail entered Friday or Saturday helps balance delivery volume during the following week.
The new rules will go into effect April 10. The Federal Register [pdf] has more information on the final rulemaking.
USPS OIG Audit: Address Management System Data [pdf]
Report Number DR-AR-14-003
February 28, 2014
WHAT THE OIG FOUND:
The Postal Service's efforts to reduce address database errors were ineffective. The reported address errors increased from 267,478 in fiscal year (FY) 2011 to 430,843 in FY 2013, primarily because carriers did not update edit books consistently and management did not conduct necessary street reviews. The Postal Service reduced its emphasis on ensuring address accuracy by initially reducing the number of address management specialists by nearly 40 percent and then reclassifying the specialist position from non-bargaining to bargaining. Further, the Postal Service did not have a formal standardized training program or a follow-up process to ensure compliance.
We estimated address corrections costing about $14 million were not made to the Address Management System in FYs 2012 and 2013. Effective controls over address corrections would increase delivery efficiency and avoid future costs of about $16 million for FYs 2014 and 2015. Incorrect addresses increase business mailersí costs to process returned mail. Inaccuracies could also cause mailers to lose confidence in the effectiveness of mail, which could significantly reduce postal revenue.
WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:
We recommended the vice president, Delivery and Post Office Operations, in coordination with the vice president, Product Information, establish deadlines for edit book updates, develop a formal training program, and update supervisor training. We also recommended establishing a follow-up process that ensures that address errors are corrected using Address Quality Improvement Process reports and that necessary street reviews are completed.
USPS: Americans Still Love Mail - WICS.com
March 4, 2014
Today, we can communicate to each other by the touch of a button, using our cellphones to make a quick phone call, writing a text, or sending an e-mail. But according to a new report, Americans still love getting mail hand-delivered.
The report from the U.S. Postal Service found Americans want the post office to stay exactly the way it is. Even though the agency is currently in a financial bind, residents still love sending and receiving letters.
Many people we spoke with had varying opinions as to why they love getting mail. Some say it keeps them informed, while others say it's always an exciting mystery as to what will be inside the mailbox or P.O. Box.
When you do get a special letter or card, U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Sue Litterly calls it the "mail moment."
"When you go to your mailbox and you've got a card and it's from someone that you care about, it really makes your day," Litterly said. "It's nice to get those cards in the mail. It's nice to know that someone took that extra time to stop and pick something out just for you."
The inspector general's office asked 101 people in 10 focus groups nationwide, and only two people said they wouldn't be negatively affected if the post office closed in five years.
Oversight chief questions millions going to Alaska mail service - Macon.com
March 4, 2014
...The bypass mail system is unique to Alaska. The postal service subsidizes the shipping of pallets of goods and mail to remote rural Alaska villages by commercial air carriers.
Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich said 80 percent of Alaskan communities are off the road system, so groceries and other necessities have to be shipped by mail. The bypass mail system is cheaper than if the postal service had to ship the items itself, he said, and lets Alaskans have universal postal service in the most cost-effective way. ...
...The postal serviceís Alaska district manager, Ronald Haberman, supported the bypass mail system in his testimony. Haberman said it works well and is the most efficient way to handle the goods headed to rural Alaska. He said the postal service has a mission to provide reliable service to everyone, even if that delivery comes at a loss.
Issa said the system forces Americaís postal ratepayers to subsidize a select set of air carriers, and that if nothing else it needs to be opened to competition from other carriers. Begich said letting carriers in that donít have a solid share of the rural Alaska market would lead to unreliable service and higher costs.
LTE: Letter carrier defends their work in a "challenging season' - BucksCountyCourierTimes.com
March 4, 2014
In a recent letter to the editor, two points were made that prompted me to write a letter of my own and hopefully "shed light" on the subjects.
First was the writer's "perception" that the Postal Service "costs the public" millions of dollars when in fact, we don't cost the public a dime! Barring, of course, the cost to mail your letters or packages. He further noted that we have been "operating in the red for far too long now". This is true -- but is due primarily to a congressional mandate (issued in 2006) which required that the Postal Service (not the public) prefund its retirees at a cost of $5.5 billion per year. Keep in mind, no other organization is required to do this!
Next subject at hand: "The weather" and the notion that "the letter carrier doesn't want to get out of the truck". My route consists of just under 700 deliveries (some routes are larger!). If we had to get out for each one (in the case of one that is designed to be a "driving route"), we'd never get done!
In what has proven to be a "challenging season" (to say the least!), it is important to realize that we all bear a responsibility. You, the customer, need to keep the approach and departure area of your mailbox clear of snow, trash cans and vehicles so we can complete our routes in a timely manner. Walkways too need to be free of snow and ice for "safety's sake." The townships need to clear streets adequately so they are safe and manageable for all.
We bear a huge responsibility, too. Most certainly to our customers and the U.S. Postal Service (our employer). They require us to make our deliveries in as "timely and safely a manner as possible" and we must abide by these guidelines.
To the customers who have taken the time to offer a simple "thank you," let me say, it has meant so very much to know that you recognize. . . We do our level best!
Fixing mail delivery in N.D. important - BismarckTribune.com
March 4, 2014
"There finally may be a fix. The Postal Service and National Rural Mail Carriers Association reached an agreement that allows carriers to get pay increases of up to 20 percent to help deal with retention, and bonuses for signing new employees. The idea is to make positions at the post office competitive with the local job market ó keeping existing workers on the job and beefing up their ranks. That makes good sense.
But it did not come easy. The wage modification, says Donald Maston, executive committeeman for the association is, ďvery rare and difficult to achieve. This took a lot of effort from the union, the postal service and (North Dakota) officials.Ē"
APWU Web News Article #039-14, March 3, 2014
PRC Dismisses APWU Service Complaint
APWU Vows to Fight On
The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has dismissed an APWU complaint which charges that the Postal Service is failing to meet its own service standards regarding the delivery of first-class mail. The union brought the complaint in its capacity as a large mailer.
The unionís complaint [PDF] alleges that the USPS regularly fails to meet its service, including the first-class mail of the APWU. The union mails millions of pieces of first-class mail every year to APWU members and locals in every state and territory of the United States.
In a decision issued Feb. 27 [PDF], the commission concluded that the APWU had failed to allege any particular harm due to the Postal Serviceís failure to deliver the unionís mail as required by postal regulations. The APWU ďmerely alleges violations of service standardsÖwithout harm or injury,Ē the commission wrote.
The PRCís decision is under review by APWU attorneys and may be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Commenting on the ruling, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said, ďI am astonished to learn that the Postal Regulatory Commission doesnít consider regular violations of Postal Service standards to be harmful to mailers. We strongly disagree.
ďWe are determined to carry on the fight against the Postal Serviceís failure to provide service mailers and mail recipients expect and deserve.Ē
Big Changes in Canada - USPSOIG.gov
March 3, 2014
Canada Post shares a number of similarities with the U.S. Postal Service, including its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1753 when both Canada and the 13 colonies were under British rule. Both posts are self-supporting, meaning they pay for their operations through the sale of postage and services. And Canada Post, like the Postal Service, has suffered volume losses the past few years.
Hereís where things get different, though. Canada Post has adopted a radical plan to restore its financial health, featuring bold initiatives that might seem too politically difficult in the United States. Canada Postís five-point plan is intended to streamline operations, cut costs, and return the corporation to fiscal self-sufficiency by 2019.
The plan features:
1. Ending to-the-door residential delivery over 5 years. Two-thirds of Canadian residents already are without to-the-door delivery, so, while it is a major change, perhaps it is not as disruptive as it would be in other countries.
2. Upping the price of postage. Bought in bulk, stamps that now cost 63 cents (CAD) will be 83 cents. Bought singly, the same stamps will cost $1. The increase still needs approval from the regulator.
3. Streamlining via franchise post offices. Franchise post offices are more convenient for customers and less costly to operate. Thereís a moratorium, however, on closing existing rural post offices given their popularity among customers.
4. Increasing efficiency. Consolidation and technology improvements, including faster sorting equipment and more fuel-efficient vehicles, should improve operations. No resulting changes are expected in the corporationís fairly relaxed 2- to 4-day delivery standard for letter service, yet parcel delivery is expected to improve.
5. Reducing labor costs. Along with the service cuts, Canada Post said it would eliminate 8,000 jobs, mostly through attrition.
Canadaís plan has met with criticism from opposition political leaders, labor unions, and some citizens. But Canada Post defends the plan saying without major operational changes it will lose $1 billion a year starting in 2020. It also faces a $6.5 billion pension fund shortfall.
What could the United States learn from the Canada Post plan? Are some of these initiatives worth trying in the United States? Or are they not the right approach for the U.S.? What cost-cutting and revenue-generating ideas should the Postal Service focus on?
Ecommerce Shipping: Fast, Free and 7 Days a Week? - eCommerceBytes.com
March 3, 2014
The partnership may have large retailers concerned about what the Amazon-USPS partnership means for them. One industry publication recently asked readers, "What's the bigger threat for competitors? Amazon's same-day delivery or its Sunday delivery?" The first response: "This isn't an either/or question. Both same-day and Sunday delivery are part of Amazon's growing brand promise."
For small sellers, the news that ecommerce giant Amazon may be changing consumer expectations about Sunday delivery was received with mixed reaction on the AuctionBytes Blog.
One seller wrote, "The only thing I don't like is that the USPS isn't doing this for all businesses. Just the ones that pay. Don't want to send a carrier out to pick up my packages, fine but at least let me drop off my already paid for packages from my website. All you would need is one worker to be there to take my package and scan the scan sheet."
Others seemed more concerned about being able to ship out later on Saturdays to get their late-week orders into the mail stream sooner than Monday mornings. Wrote one seller, "It would be great to have more options for dropping off packages to ship out. The PO could save loads of money if they'd set up some automated kiosks or windows at the PO building where we could deposit our packages and scan a scan sheet or label. That process really doesn't need human intervention most of the time. It's sometimes difficult to make it to the PO during their limited business hours, especially if one has to work a day job."
Montclair residents complain about interuption of mail service - NorthJersey.com
March 2, 2014
"Lori Reich of Midland Avenue called recent mail service a "disaster" when speaking with The Times. Reich said that she and her neighbors often receive mail every other day and said a relative who resides on Valley Road and Claremont Avenue has gone without mail for four consecutive days."
"A South Mountain Avenue resident by the name of Kimberly emailed The Times to complain of her own struggles with mail. The woman said that she and her neighbors hadn't received mail in over a week. When contacting the Glen Ridge Post Office, Kimberly said that she was told that employees have not been coming to work."
"Laszlo Bartus, a Walnut Street resident who runs a Hungarian news publication, said that the issue with mail isn't specific to Montclair. Bartus said that his subscribers have complained about not receiving the publication and, on the other end, Bartus has struggled to receive money orders from subscribers."
Under same management: Some reservations about postal banking - SaveThePostOffice.com
March 2, 2014
"Considering that I myself have been a proponent of postal banking, I hate to throw a wet blanket on the idea. The proposal has gained tremendous traction and gotten many people excited, but there are just too many reasons to be skeptical. Given the current structure of the Postal Service, the mindset of its leadership, and the attitudes and expectations of politicians in both Congress and the Administration, a move towards postal banking would not only be unlikely to save the Postal Service and the postal network, but it could also turn out to be as abusive and harmful as the current landscape of payday lenders and predatory banks. The last thing we need right now is for the Postal Service to try to balance its books by extracting billions of dollars in fees from some of the most financially vulnerable folks in society. Thatís not the way to save the post office."
"We talk about American exceptionalism, but listen carefully and you will hear postal management tell us that we should not be exceptional. They will point to European postal systems that have been privatized, even though the record shows that costs havenít been contained, service has deteriorated, and the public is generally unhappy.
Postal banking is one of a thousand good ideas, but good ideas wonít save our postal system if we simply lay them on a rotten foundation. The corporate model of a postal system that eschews the idea of public service and public infrastructure has brought us to our current state. More of the same is not a winning prescription."
Bryker Woods residents upset with mail issues - KHOU.com
February 28, 2014
AUSTIN -- Imagine not having your mail delivered for days and missing out on important bills, packages and more. It's happening in one Central Austin neighborhood.
It's Liz Opalka's birthday, but she hasn't gotten any cards in the mail. In fact, for the past three days, she hasn't gotten mail at all.
"It's extremely frustrating,Ē Opalka said. ďWe're not getting any bills. We're not getting any credit card statements, and I'm not getting any birthday cards."
Others living in the Bryker Woods neighborhood said the same thing. They told KVUE as many as four days can go by without a mail or package delivery. ....
Postal Service delays decision on facilities closure; cites better finances - ColumbiaTribune.com
No word yet on local plant closing.
February 28, 2014
"Jim Marsden, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 7065, said because of the "imminent doom" that the Columbia plant might close, it has not been filling positions when employees retire or leave their jobs. That means longer hours for remaining employees to continue to keep the plant's current level of service. That might mean more overtime pay for those workers, Marsden said, but that also means more fatigue for workers, some of whom are putting in 70-hour weeks, he said."
"If they're going to have a moratorium, they need to fill any of the jobs that they've been holding open," Marsden said."
Amazon, Postal Service gear up to launch Sunday delivery in St. Louis - StlToday.com
February 28, 2014
Amazon is working with the local district of the U.S. Postal Service to roll out Sunday delivery in the St. Louis region by mid-March, a move thatís expected to put additional pressure on local retailers.
"But Bill Lister, local union president for the National Association of Letter Carriers, said Sunday delivery in this region was originally set to launch this month. The delay to March, he said, was due in part to the Postal Serviceís needing more time to hone its scanning procedures and to update some of the local hubs with the technology needed to download information about delivery routes.
He said that it would be the Postal Serviceís lower-wage employees with minimal benefits ó the ďnoncareerĒ workers whose employment is renewed on a yearly basis ó who will be delivering the packages on Sunday. New employees will be hired to handle those routes, he said."
While he is wary of the Postal Serviceís increasing the ranks of these lower-wage employees, Lister said he welcomed Sunday delivery, which could help boost the fortunes of the struggling Postal Service.
"Fred Wolfmeyer, president of the local American Postal Workers Union, which represents other postal service employees such as clerks and mechanics, echoed Listerís sentiments.
ďItís got to help the bottom line,Ē he said."
Don't Close Our Post Offices -- Put Them To Work! - CommonDreams.org
February 26, 2014
"So, use it! Put a coffee shop in it, a public Internet facility, a library and museum, a one-stop government services center ó and, as USPS employees have suggested, a public bank offering basic services to the thousands of neighborhood people ignored by commercial banks. Come on, USPS, show a little gumption, and remember that service is a key part of your name and mandate."
Stamp of Disapproval - InTheseTimes.com
Activists and union workers fight to stop the U.S. Postal Service from shedding buildings and jobs.
February 25, 2014
Occupation to save the Berkeley Post office on August 9, 2013. (Steve Rhodes / Flickr)
(Click on image to enlarge)
...The proposed sale of two buildings, in particular, has generated an uproar: Berkeley, Californiaís downtown post office and the Bronx General Post Office (built in 1914 and 1935, respectively). The New York Times describes the Bronx structure as ďa centerpiece of life in the borough for more than 75 years.Ē Unloading the buildings is just the USPSís latest attempt to relieve financial pressure. In 2011, it targeted 2,000 branches for closure, but abandoned the plan after aggressive pushback nationwide. Instead, it cut back operating hours in many branches. One office slated for closure served the Hudson River Valley hometown of Steve Hutkins, a professor of literature at New York University. In response, Hutkins became a vocal post-office advocate and created the website SaveThePostOffice.com. Hutkins, who teaches a course about how literature creates a ďsense of place,Ē says that while most local post offices may not be as historically significant as the Berkeley and Bronx branches, theyíre just as critical to the fabric of their communities. ďItís the place where you see your neighbors and find out whatís going on,Ē he says. Those community spacesóand the jobs they supplyóremain under threat. A large-scale sell-off is no longer the primary concern, says Hutkins; rather, itís death by a thousand cuts of privatization. ďThey find all kinds of ways to privatize it, without the big moment when they would privatize the whole thing,Ē he explains. ďItís been going on gradually.Ē
The USPS eliminated more than 37,000 jobs last year, and ďpostal jobs are going to keep disappearingóat a faster rate than in any other sector of the labor force,Ē warns retired postmaster Mark Jamison in an essay on Hutkinsí website. As a result, ďby 2022 the number of clerks, mail processing workers, and letter carriers will declineĒ by 28 percent. The downsizing and privatization have mostly happened under the radar, but they occasionally generate public flare-ups, as when the USPS began opening mini-post offices in dozens of Staples stores nationwide last fall. The outlets are staffed by non-unionized Staples employees, whose hourly wage is estimated at $8.25, rather than unionized USPS clerks, who make about $25 per hour.
In January, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) mounted protests against the new USPS partnership with Staples, and it is mobilizing its 222,000 members for a broader, long-term fight. ďWeíve been sending delegations to Staples stores all over the country,Ē says APWU President Mark Dimondstein. ďWe certainly think that the workers are going to have to be more engaged and involved than they have in the past.Ē ...
Care packages for troops stuck in DeKalb post office for months - WSBTV.com
February 24, 2014
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. ó More than 100 care packages meant for troops serving in Afghanistan are just sitting at a postal office in DeKalb County.
The packages were sent out months ago by the Kingís Bridge Retirement Community Center on Briarcliff Drive.
ďIím real confused as to why that would be. We had no notification they're just sitting there,Ē said Jim Waldrop, the executive director at the Kingís Bridge Retirement Community. ...
A spokesperson for the United States Postal Service sent a statement, saying, ďDue to a paperwork error by the Postal Service, Kingsbridge Retirement Center's mailing destined for U.S. troops overseas was not processed in a timely manner. We sincerely apologize for this delay. These packages will be processed immediately and dispatched on tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.Ē
Click Here for video
Exclusive: Long Island Residents Blast Postal Service Over Lack Of Deliveries - NewYork.cbslocal.com
Expert: Institution's Financial Situation Making It Tough On Administrators, Public
February 24, 2014
...The Postal Service claims itís unaware of widespread irregularities for sustained periods. It said every attempt is made to ensure all mail is delivered every day and urge those with missing mail to report it to their customer care center.
ďWeíre doing the best we can,Ē one Postal Service employee said.
Letter carriers who didnít want to speak on camera said that there have been new routes assigned in this area, longer routes with fewer hands on deck. They blame the problems on mismanagement, Gusoff reported.
Columbia University Professor Richard John, a Postal Service historian, said customers could be seeing the results of service cuts.
ďThe institution has suffered some big financial hits and thatís causing an awful lot of challenges for postal administrators,Ē John said. ....
Click Here for video
In reversal, Postal Service to keep Manatee distribution center - Bradenton.com
February 24, 2014
The Postal Service had said it will save $8 million by consolidating the Tallevast site with Fort Myers. Hunsicker said the Postal Service was swayed by in-depth number-crunching indicating moving the jobs to Fort Myers would not save the money initially projected and the southern Florida site was more vulnerable to hurricanes than the Tallevast facility.
"With the steady hand and attention from the Board of County Commissioners, and hard work from the 21st-Century Group and especially congressman Buchanan, I believe we worked together to raise enough questions to effectively challenge the wisdom of the move to close the Tallevast mail-processing center," Hunsicker said in an email release. "I wanted to wait just a few weeks before bringing this good news to you in the event that there was yet another last-minute change. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work this issue to a satisfactory resolution."
Two years ago, the Tallevast operation looked irretrievable. But Hunsicker said the Manatee County contingent remained determined.
The Peter Stuyvesant Post Office closes for good - EVGrieve.com
February 21, 2014
"Initially, word was that the USPS was unable to come to terms on a new lease with the building's owner. However, a rep for the owner, Benenson Capital Partners, told the Town & Country blog and the Save the Post Office blog that it was actually the USPS's decision to leave because of a desire to downsize."
Post office wants to sell West Chester building - DailyLocal.com
February 21, 2014
"The building, firmly within the boroughís historic district at the corner of Gay and Walnut streets, shares a connection with the Washington Monument: They are both constructed of Cockeysville Marble, according to an article by the New York Times identifying historic buildings the post office may sell."
PRC Among The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government - PRC.gov [pdf]
February 24, 2014
Washington, DC Ė For the second year in a row, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) is designated one of The Best Places to Work in the Federal Governmentģ. Based on published scores, the PRC had the largest positive point increase of any very small agency with less than 100 employees; and the third highest survey response rate out of all agencies participating in the FY 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.
As regulator of the United States Postal Service, the PRCís mission is to ensure transparency and accountability of Postal Service operations and foster a vital and efficient universal mail system.
ďI am pleased to have our agency recognized in this way again. This honor reflects the culture at the PRC and the dedication of our professional staff to fulfilling our mission,Ē said agency Chairman, Ruth Goldway.
U.S. Needs to Pay Attention to Canadaís Delivery Decisions - MultiChannelMerchant.com
February 24, 2014
Canada Post announced on Feb. 20 that 11 communities across the country will start receiving their mail through community mailboxes beginning this fall. This move is the first part of a five-year national initiative that could potentially save Canada Post $400 to $500 million a year.
...The American people understand that it is time for a change in the way the USPS delivers in order to keep up with the ever changing communication needs. In the report the USPS states, ďwe witnessed a shift in mindset from a demand for services to remain the same to a willingness to adapt and compromise to preserve the Postal Service for the future.Ē
ďOur research indicates that Americans are more comfortable with a focused Postal Service that offers reduced service levels in areas such as number of delivery days and curbside/door slot delivery than adopting new products and services to generate additional revenue,Ē according to the report.
The USPS needs to watch very closely how these community mailboxes are received and what money it saves in Canada. If it works for them, it could very well work for us.
Serving up Self Service - USPSOIG.gov
February 22, 2014
"Our recent audit of self-service kiosks [pdf] found that customers are not using kiosks as much as anticipated for a few reasons: they sometimes are located in hidden parts of the lobby; kiosk signage is not always visible; and lobby assistants are not always available or fully trained to help customers help themselves. In addition, self-service kiosks are generally housed in retail outlets with the highest mail volume, primarily urban and suburban areas. Low-traffic retail outlets, often in rural areas, get a double whammy. They are not likely to have a kiosk and their Post Office hours are reduced.
How can the Postal Service ensure that customers receive suitable services while reining in operating costs? Does the Postal Service need more self-service kiosks, or should it redistribute the 2,500 now in service? What incentives might the Postal Service offer merchants to house Village Post Offices? Or should the Postal Service restore hours to its own post offices, even those that are not profitable?"
Postal Service's new demand fails to deliver - Sun-Sentinel.com
February 21, 2014
It's disappointing to hear the U.S. Postal Service is demanding that new South Florida housing developments install cluster mailboxes at centralized locations.
Recently, two high-end developments in Parkland and Boynton Beach were told to forget individual home delivery. Rather, they must build a centralized mailbox area, such as those found at condominium and apartment complexes. The communities are among the first in Broward and Palm Beach counties to be warned of the change expected to hit all new housing developments nationwide. One U.S. lawmaker is pushing for cluster boxes in existing neighborhoods, too.
"People are right to be upset," said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, who is working to stop the change. "The problem ... is you have homeowners moving into new homes with the rightful expectation they're going to have a mailbox outside their home."
Few federal institutions are more troubled than the American postal service, which bleeds money daily. The National Association of Letter Carriers largely blames a federal mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years ó with the tab to be paid off within a decade. The pain now extends to Broward and Palm Beach homeowners, who face some distance to retrieve their mail.
Postal Serviceís Load Leveling plan hits a load of opposition - SaveThePostOffice.com
February 23, 2014
"According to the Public Representative, the Load Leveling case is not just about delaying ad mail from Monday to Tuesday so that carriers can get back to the post office earlier. The very integrity of Title 39 is as stake.
If the Commission gives the okay to Load Leveling based on such an inadequate record, it will virtually ensure that future advisory opinions are essentially irrelevant, and the Commission will be a party to making itself irrelevant as well.
If, on the other hand, the Commission does what the Public Representative, the mailers, and the APWU have recommended and finds the Load Leveling plan, at least as presented so far, to be inconsistent with Title 39, the ball will be back in the Postal Service's court. Will the Postmaster General ignore the Commission and proceed with implementing the plan anyway?"
INSIDE PITCH ó Postal Service defies Congress, effectively cuts back to less than five-day delivery - VoiceOfBaltimore.org
February 22, 2014
There are no simple answers to explain why mail delivery gets worse each year. The problem relates to cuts in the wrong places, spending in the wrong places, dysfunctional and bureaucratic upper management, unwise policy decisions in the systemís history, and, most importantly, interference and absence of leadership from Congress.
When customers complain about lack of service, they are given a wide series of reasons and excuses, ranging from road conditions to shortage of manpower.
When service is rendered, deliveries often take place late into the evenings, probably running up huge overtime wage totals.
Sometimes, even on clear days when temperatures are above freezing in most parts of the state, a decision during delivery hours will be made by an upper management bureaucrat in a remote location to pull all trucks off the roads because one area has slippery conditions.
The result: Mail service is finished for the day and many customers go without a delivery.
Postal Officials Don't Know Whether the FSS Is Saving Money - DeadTreeEdition.blogspot.com
February 22, 2014
Both postal officials and mailers have been hoping for several years that FSS would yield substantial decreases in the cost of handling and delivering flat mail. But only about 30% of flat mail is being processed on the football-field-sized machines, which are failing to live up to expectations and have led to a legal dispute between USPS and the company that built the machines.
A big wild card in the debate is whether a recent change in postal regulations will boost FSS productivity. Starting late last month, presorted flat mail going to FSS ZIP codes must be packaged in a manner that is optimal for the FSS operation. In theory, the change will decrease mail-handling costs without affecting delivery operations.
But that still leaves us with a troubling question: If USPS doesnít really know how FSS is affecting its costs, how will it know whether to continue investing in and running the machines? Postal officials have typically brushed off such questions, responding that they have no choice but to automate the labor-intensive process of sorting flat mail.
Without good cost analysis, however, how will postal officials know whether all the ďtiger teamsĒ and machinery tweaks and changes in regulations are paying off? And how will they know whether to continue running the machines or to consign them to The Museum of Good Intentions Gone Bad?
Mail deliveries lagging in parts of Phila. region - Philly.com
February 22, 2014
Ray Daiutolo Sr., a regional spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said he had heard scattered reports from Philadelphia and South Jersey residents who have been without mail for more than a week.
He said he did not have hard numbers on how many in the region had been affected but said the situation was "getting better by the day."
"In some cases, our carriers still haven't been able to access customers' mailboxes or their streets," Daiutolo said Friday. "This is something that we're experiencing all across the country."
When postal workers encounter snowed-in streets or mailboxes, Daiutolo said, they are trained to leave and try again the next day.
That didn't assuage Frankel, who said her street and mailbox were easily accessible.
"Our boxes are completely within reach," she said. "I don't see how that could be the problem."
Frankel even called her congressman, Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), on Friday morning to find out more about what's been going on with her mail.
Fattah's office estimated that it had received calls from as many as 25 constituents - including block captains speaking on behalf of neighborhoods - who complained of not receiving mail in recent days. Fattah's district stretches from South Philadelphia to West Oak Lane, Germantown, and Roxborough, plus parts of West Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
USPS News Link - Fastest VPO
Team effort leads to 21-day VPO contract
February 21, 2014
One of the newest Village Post Offices (VPOs) also has the distinction of being the fastest-completed VPO to date.
Santa Clarita, CA, Marketing Manager Ramela Younekian, with a team of retail and operations employees, processed the application submitted by the Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse in La Canada, CA, in just 21 days. The family-owned store is a bookstore, gift shop and coffeehouse and now offers postal services to community members during weekdays, evenings and weekends.
Younekian lives near the shop, and decided to discuss a VPO opportunity with the owner, Peter Wannier. The team scheduled a meeting, and after discussing Wannierís questions, left that afternoon with a signed contract.
The Flintridge Bookstore VPO was the first in the Sierra Costal District. The district opened its second soon after at Sequoia National Park.
Congressional Reps Call For USPS To Restore Regular Mail Service - BethesdaNow.com
February 21, 2014
The Congressional members wrote that they recognized the safety issues, but the service disruptions require an immediate fix:
"As you know, your customers depend on timely service to receive urgent mailings, including bills and prescriptions. We fully agree that it is necessary to protect worker safety in inclement weather and the evenings, particularly in light of the tragic death of Tyson Barnette, a US Postal Service letter carrier who was killed while delivering mail after dark in Landover, MD. A plan must be in place to protect worker safety and ensure that no homes or businesses experience multiple-day delays. These service disruptions require explanation and, more importantly, an immediate resolution.
Please let us know what you are doing to immediately restore regular and reliable mail delivery to our constituents. Thank you for your prompt attention to this issue."
USPS Denies Itís Making Letter Carriers Return Early to Avoid Paying Overtime - GovExec.com
February 21, 2014
Dave Partenheimer, a USPS spokesman, denied any such cost-cutting initiative to Government Executive, saying letter carriers are ďexpected to return in accordance with schedule and daily assigned work load.Ē Regarding D.C. specifically, Partenheimer said supervisors instructed their letter carriers to return by 6 p.m. due to a snowstorm ďregardless of deliveries madeĒ for safety reasons.
ďThat was a unique situation,Ē he said, referring to the areaís inclement weather during the week of Feb. 10.
WJLA, however, acquired photos of mail piling up in post offices, displayed text messages from managers telling employees to return by 4:30 p.m. and conducted interviews with D.C. residents who said they have not received mail for six days.
Mail routes to Baton Rouge, delaying delivery by days, union says - TheAdvocate.com
February 22, 2014
LAFAYETTE ó Postal workers and local leaders are striking back at a U.S. Postal Service consolidation effort that shifted the processing of Lafayetteís mail 60 miles away to Baton Rouge, a change the local postal union says lengthens delivery times.
A rally in support of bringing processing operations back to the Postal Serviceís Moss Street facility is set for 2 p.m. Monday in front of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Lafayette, said Joshua Montgomery, with the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union.
Montgomery said much of the processing was shifted to Baton Rouge beginning early last year. No workers were moved or laid off, he said, but thatís only because the employees in the roughly 20 affected positions retired.
The most obvious impact has been an increase in the standard delivery time for letters mailed within Lafayette from one day to ďanywhere from 3 days to a weekĒ because letters, even if mailed from and to a Lafayette address, must make the 120-mile trip to Baton Rouge and come back before delivery.
ďEverything that we collect is going to Baton Rouge to be processed,Ē Montgomery said. ďThat, in particular, is what is causing delays.Ē
RE: APWU Web News Article #033-14, Feb. 20, 2014
(see post below this one)
It seems APWU Management (aka HQ) was premature in the release of the news article yesterday. To reflect the current realities and give an accurate assessment to the membership, it has been revised today by APWU with edits and the following text added to the end of the article:
"It is important to note that in the Clerk Craft any management proposal to revert residual vacancies must be in carried out in accordance with the APWU-USPS Memorandum of Understanding - Reversion of Withheld/Residual Vacancies. The Memorandum requires advance notice to the APWU Regional Coordinator and does not allow agreement to revert a residual vacancy by agreement at the local level."
In the Maintenance Craft, Article 38.4 applies and in the Motor Vehicle Craft, Article 39.2 applies.
APWU Web News Article #033-14, Feb. 20, 2014
Excessing, Job Withholding Due to Consolidations on ĎIndefinite Holdí
Union members are sure to breathe a sigh of relief following a recent notice from the Postal Service to the APWU.
Excessing related to Area Mail Processing events has been placed on ďindefinite hold,Ē according to a Feb. 14 letter [PDF] from Postal Service to the APWU. As a result, the Postal Service is now releasing ďresidual vacanciesĒ that were being withheld. Residual vacancies are duty assignments that remain vacant after completion of a bidding cycle. Rather than filling the residual vacancies, the Postal Service has been keeping them open to serve as landing spots for employees impacted by plant consolidations.
The Feb. 14 letter follows a Jan. 24 USPS announcement that management is postponing implementation of Phase 2 of its latest mail processing consolidation plan, which was slated to begin on Feb. 1. The USPS also delayed implementation of changes to service standards that would have slowed mail delivery.
Each Area will review the withheld vacancies, the USPS letter notes. If the jobs are operationally justified, ďthe appropriate contractual process will be used to fill them,Ē it says.
ďThe end of job withholding is good news,Ē said Director of Industrial Relations Tony D. McKinnon Sr. ďWe encourage locals to make sure that management reviews all withheld positions and makes a legitimate evaluation of their viability. This process has the potential to create opportunities for the conversion of part-time flexibles to regular and the conversion of Postal Support Employees to career,Ē he said. Local officers who encounter problems should contact their Regional Coordinators, McKinnon said.
BRIEF OF THE AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION, AFL-CIO - PRC.gov [pdf]
DSCF-STANDARD MAIL LOAD LEVELING Docket No. N2014-1
Postal Regulatory Commission
Submitted 2/20/2014 4:26:53 PM
Filing ID: 89237
The APWU strongly objects to the Postal Serviceís proposal to change the service standard for Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Standard Mail. We object both categorically and specifically. Our categorical objection is that the proposed cut in service standards is one of a series of service cuts by the Postal Service that have reduced service to mailers and imposed higher costs on mailers without a corresponding benefit to the Postal Service sufficient to justify the change.
We also object to the proposal because the Postal Service has done no cost-benefit analysis to support the proposed service reduction. We disagree with the Postal Serviceís contention that ďan advisory opinion regarding whether the service change comports with Title 39 can be issued without an estimate of what those cost savings are expected to be.Ē
Related: APWU Web News Article #034-14, Feb. 21, 2014
5 Houston post offices closing, but Southmore remains undecided - Houston Advocate
February 19, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service has decided to move five of six post offices in Houston, but no decision has been made about the Southmore Station ó which stands at a historic site and has received huge support for remaining open at that address. ...
ďNotices for the five locations with the exception of Southmore have come forward,Ē she said. ďBecause we got so many letters, weíre still reviewing Southmore. There will be an announcement for Southmore shortly, once we finish the review process.Ē
Anyone can submit an appeal about the locations slated to be shut down and moved elsewhere. The deadline is March 21, 2014. Send a written statement identifying the post office name or location, the objection and the reason for the objection to: Vice President of Facilities, c/o Sandra Rybicki, Real Estate Specialist, U.S. Postal Service, Southern Facilities Service Office, P.O. Box 667180, Dallas, Texas, 75266-7180. ....
USPS workers say they are being forced to end shifts early - WJLA.com
February 19, 2014
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Rain, sleet and snow may not stop the United States Postal Service, but fear of paying overtime could keep letters from reaching your mailbox in a timely fashion.
Some Washington, D.C. postal workers say post office management is forcing them off the street early, even when their routes are far from complete. Although a USPS spokeswoman denied any such allegations, carriers tell ABC7 that the newly established rule is being strictly enforced.
"They're [management] constantly telling us to leave first-class mail, leave packages, everything, and it's getting ridiculous," a veteran mail carrier, speaking on a condition of anonymity, told ABC7.
USPS tells its post offices: Hold local newspaper mail at post offices or send to hubs! - AledoTimesRecord.com
February 19, 2014
A new directive from the U.S. Postal Service headquarters to mail processing plants and local post offices is expected to improve newspaper delivery, the National Newspaper Association said Feb. 12.
USPS released to NNA today an internal operating policy intended to stop local post offices from unnecessarily sending 5-digit containers of newspaper mail to mail processing plants. The directive tells local postmasters that newspapers already prepared for local delivery should be held at the local post offices or sent to other area post offices through operating ďhubs,Ē many of them former SCFs, rather than slowing delivery by sending them along for processing at distant, merged plants. ....
Management Alert Ė Risks Associated With CB Richard Ellis, Inc. Contract [pdf]
(USPS OIG Report Number SM-MA-14-003)
As a result of our audit and ongoing concerns surrounding the CBRE contract, we have identified additional information that increases the financial risks to the Postal Service. Specifically, Postal Service officials modified the contract in June 2012 to allow CBRE to negotiate on behalf of the Postal Service as well as prospective buyers and lessors in the same real estate transaction. Also, CBRE was responsible for soliciting appraisals to determine the fair market value of the properties that it then sells and leases.
The contract modification also requires CBRE to notify the Postal Service of any actual or potential conflicts of interest, such as owning or having an interest in a property that may be part of a Postal Service real estate transaction. To date, CBRE has not notified the Postal Service of any such conflicts. Given the multiple roles CBRE plays within the real estate industry, the Postal Service should take steps to lessen the potential for CBRE to engage in transactions that create conflicts of interest. CBRE conflicts of interest could lead to financial loss to the Postal Service and decrease public trust in the Postal Service's brand.
How many historic buildings might be affected? - NationalPostOfficeCollaborate.com
February 18, 2014
HISTORIC POST OFFICES SOLD OR CURRENTLY FOR SALE (as of 19 February 2013):
Annapolis MD, Northfield MN, Berkeley CA, Northport NY, Bethesda MD, Norwich CN, Boone NC, Palm Beach FL, Bronx NY, Palo Alto CA, Buffalo NY, Pawtucket RI, Burlingame CA, Plymouth MI, Camas WA, Princeton NJ, Charleston IL, Pinehurst NC, Cheraw SC, Racine WI, Eugene OR, Redlands CA, Fairfield CN, Reno NV, Fernandina Beach FL, San Rafael CA, Firestone Station -South Gate CA, Santa Barbara CA, Flemington NJ, Santa Monica CA, Geneva IL, St. Paul, MN, Glendale CA, Somerville MA, Gulfport MS, Stamford CT, Greenwich CT, Ukiah CA, Huntington Beach CA, Venice CA, Kingston PA, West Chester PA, La Jolla CA, Villa Park, IL, Lakewood NJ, Washington, D.C. Modesto CA, Westport CN, Norristown PA, Yankton SD, North Little Rock AR, York PA, Fullerton CA, Orange Plaza CA, Sacramento CA, Southgate (Firestone) CA
On-Roll and Paid Employee Statistics (ORPES), January, FY 2014 - PRC.gov
Filed February 18, 2014
Click Here for a PDF version
The Postal Service and the Vox Populi - USPSOIG.gov
February 18, 2014
Thereís no lack of opinions in Washington about what the U.S. Postal Service should do to get out of its precarious financial situation. Cut this, add that, restructure these, and so on. But what about the public? What do Americans want - expect - from the Postal Service?
Our office commissioned focus groups across the nation, speaking with scores of people young and old, from rural areas and big cities. The goal was to gauge perceptions of the Postal Service to understand what Americans not only want from the Postal Service, but also need from it. The results are compiled and analyzed in our new white paper, What America Wants and Needs from the Postal Service [pdf].
One key finding was that (a), many participants mistakenly believed that the Postal Service receives taxpayer funding, and (b), when they learned the Postal Service is in fact self-funded, much like any other business, nearly everyoneís views and expectations began to soften, allowing for greater flexibility and compromise on service.
Overall, we found that Americans were most willing to accept a reduction in a particular service they are currently pleased with. For instance, most rural participants were open to Ė even excited by Ė the possibility of shifting to cluster box delivery because it could provide more security in locations where mail theft and mail box vandalism are common. Reduced number of delivery days was also acceptable to almost all participants.
Among other key findings, all but two of the total 101 participants said they would, in general, be affected to some degree if the Postal Service were to disappear. And rural participants viewed post offices as community centers, while urban participants saw them as a convenience.
The big take-away: We found that what Americans need from the Postal Service is much less than what they want, and they are willing to make trade-offs to maintain a certain level of service. What America Wants and Needs from the Postal Service details the trade-offs, highlighting some of the different preferences that emerge when urban and rural populations are compared. And yet, among the differences, a common theme is also evident Ė Americans still value the Postal Service.
Tell us your thoughts:
◦What do you need and want from the Postal Service?
◦Did you know that the Postal Service is self-funded?
◦Does that knowledge affect your opinion or expectations regarding Postal Service services?
eBay and USPS Cast Doubts on Same Day Delivery Model - eCommerceBytes.com
February 18, 2014
There are signs that same-day delivery may not be as winning a model as some had hoped. The USPS suspended one of two pilot programs called Metro Post due to a lack of participation from retailers, and eBay CEO John Donahoe recently downplayed the company's same-day delivery service eBay Now during a presentation to Wall Street analysts.
However, the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is concerned about a movement it calls "crowdshipping" that retailers use to deliver same-day orders to their customers. ....
Postal workers rally to keep mail processing in Norfolk - HamptonRoads.com
February 17, 2014
Barbara McPherson, center, President of Virginia Beach Local 1518
of the American Postal Workers Union and other postal workers
demonstrating Monday, February 17, 2014 along Brambleton Avenue
across the street from the Post Office.
More than 50 postal workers rallied outside the Church Street center this morning to protest the shift of some local mail processing from the Norfolk complex to the Richmond area.
Lined down Brambleton Avenue, they carried signs saying ďJust Say No DelayĒ and ďDonít Let Our Mail Service Fall ApartĒ and shouted chants such as ďOur people are under attack until we get our mail back.Ē
The rally was sponsored by the Norfolk local of the American Postal Workers Union. Al Bradley, a member of the union, stood on the median of Brambleton Avenue near Church Street carrying a sign saying ďSave Americaís Postal Service.Ē
ďWeíre trying to save the Postal Service from closing this plant down and moving to Richmond,Ē said Bradley, a sales associate at the Lafayette office on Tidewater Drive and a postal employee for 35 years.
ďItís definitely going to delay the mail delivery,Ē Bradley said.
Hey USPS PMG Donahoe,
Just wanted to let you know how most of us feel about you and your incompetent idiot PCES/EAS minions destroying OUR Postal Service...
Postal Workers and Concerned Activists, Please share Donahoe "Wanted" Posters: PDF or JPG
USPS Environmental Assessment on historic Stamford post office runs into problems - SaveThePostOffice.com
February 17, 2014
There have been several new developments in the story of the historic Stamford post office. Last week, the Postal Service filed a status report with the PRC about its search for a new location, and earlier this month, the USPS filed papers in federal court opposing the complaint that has held up its sale of the building to Westchester developer Louis Cappelli.
In addition, attorneys for the National Post Office Collaborate, one of the parties that filed the complaint, have responded to the Postal Serviceís Environmental Assessment on the property with a scathing critique. They say the EA is "procedurally and substantively defective in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the USPSís own guidelines."
At this point, it looks as though the lawsuit and the future of the Stamford post office are a long way from being resolved.
Hereís a rundown on these latest developments. ....
TESTER SENDS POSTMASTER GENERAL A SPECIAL VALENTINEíS DAY MESSAGE - Tester.senate.gov
February 14, 2014
...Tester told Donahoe about a Montana ranch manager whose time-sensitive lease renewal took eight days to reach Helena via USPS-certified overnight mail. He also shared the story of a small business owner in Stevensville who said his "local mail service has deteriorated to the point it could have serious consequences on staying alive as a small business."
"I appreciate your past assurances that postal services would not suffer, but this kind of service is a slap-in-the-face to Montanans who should be able to rely on the service standards championed by the Postal Service," Tester told Donahoe. "I look forward to your response about how you reconcile these Montanans' stories with your promises of universal service."
Tester has previously sparred with the Postmaster General over rural mail service. His Valentine's Day message comes in the wake of Tester voting against a bill in committee that - according to Tester - would "move the Postal Service closer to privatization and hurt rural mail delivery." ....
Dismantling the Postal Service is the Wrong Way Forward - DeliveringForAmerica.com
The postmaster general and many members of Congress are pushing for service cuts as the ďsolutionĒ to the Postal Serviceís recent financial challenges. They continue to push for an end to Saturday mail and door delivery; they want to slow down mail processing times; and they are calling for the closure of many local post offices.
But these proposals ignore the importance of a strong postal network that reaches all Americans reliably, conveniently, six days a week; and they misunderstand the impact that these cuts would have on the Postal Serviceís profitability. At their core, service cuts would be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
You cannot slash the Postal Serviceís network without having a negative impact on the Americans who rely on these services, the communities USPS serves or the thousands of private sector businesses that depend on the connection it brings. And you cannot cut services without impacting Postal Service revenues. ....
Sunday deliveries for Amazon sign of major changes for U.S. Postal Service - SJ-R.com
February 16, 2014
Amazon.com and the U.S. Postal Service are about to become partners in southwestern Illinois.
The scheduled March 16 start of Sunday package delivery for Amazon is a sign of major changes to come, say U.S. Postal Service executives who oversee operations in central and southern Illinois. The downstate market is among the first for the Amazon service outside of New York and Los Angeles.
Nearly two years after the Postal Service began consolidation of mail processing centers nationwide ó including relocation of some Quincy operations to the Cook Street postal facility in Springfield ó regional and national officials say that process has been nearly completed.
More closings and consolidations remain a possibility in the long term. But the focus, they say, has shifted to revenue growth.
"Conversion of temporary workers to ďcareerĒ employees was a necessity not a choice, according to Jim OíConnell, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 239 in Springfield. The union represents 150 full-time and 20 support employees.
Postal Service figures indicate mail-processing volume in Springfield has increased 6.2 percent as a result of the Quincy consolidation. OíConnell said employees have routinely worked six-day, 60-hour weeks in recent months, adding that the union is considering a formal grievance.
ďThey (postal officials) know the temporaries are working enough hours to qualify for full-time duties,Ē said OíConnell, and there have been discussions with postal officials toward the reassignment of temps to permanent status. ďIf they do it on their own, we wonít have to go through that (a grievance filing),Ē he said."
Residents Pepper USPS Reps with Complaints and Questions - Philipstown.info
Postal service seeks new Cold Spring site for retail operations
February 15, 2014
Two representatives of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) listened and responded to a litany of complaints and suggestions regarding Philipstownís two post offices at the Feb. 11 (Tuesday) meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board. The meeting was held in Haldaneís music room to accommodate the larger than usual audience.
Cold Springís post office recently moved its retail operation to a trailer at the south end of the Foodtown Plaza, a move necessitated by the upcoming expansion of the supermarket. Letter carriers for Cold Spring now operate out of two trailers at the Garrison post office. Coincidentally, the Garrison postal facility is also undergoing interior renovations.
USPS will soon begin a search for a new retail post office in Cold Spring.
A number of Garrison residents expressed concern and frustration over noise, safety and communications related to the recent changes at their post office. ....
Preservationists oppose change to USPS NEPA regulations on property disposal - SaveThePostOffice.com
February 14, 2014
A coalition of historic preservationists and citizen groups has filed comments opposing a change in the Postal Service's NEPA regulations that would make it easier to dispose of historic post offices. The coalition includes the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Post Office Collaborate, the La Jolla Historical Society, the California Preservation Foundation, the Los Angeles Conservancy, and the City of Berkeley. The coalition's letter to the Postal Service is here [pdf].
The letter comes in response to the Interim Final Rule that the Postal Service published in the Federal Register on January 13. The rule change concerns a revision of 39 CFR Part 775, the section of the federal regulations that deals with procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The rule change expands the scope of the Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) in a way that makes it less likely the Postal Service would need to a full Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement when it disposes of its properties. The aim of the change is to make it easier to sell post offices. The Postal Service would not need to worry about hiring consultants to do an environmental review, providing opportunity for a lot of public participation, sharing the administrative record with the public, and following similar requirements that could slow down the sale or prevent it altogether. ....
Kevin Hunt: Why Is My Mail Delivered Now At 6 P.M.? (Or Not At All In Snow?) - Courant.com
February 14, 2014
Q: "For some months, my mail has been delivered between 5 and 6 in the evening, a far cry from the 'usual' 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
"I asked my carrier about it and she told me that . . . when a carrier quits or leaves, the person is not replaced, so the rest of them work double shifts.
"On Tuesday, I paid some bills and put the envelopes in my mailbox. That evening, it was snowing, and I checked at 5:30. Envelopes still there. Same at 6:30. Same yesterday morning. No pick-up or delivery in my neighborhood.
"I called the Glastonbury post office was told that it became too dangerous for the carriers to complete their routes. So much for "neither snow nor rain [nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds].
"Apparently it is the U.S. Postmaster General who has instituted this "no replacement" policy. With postage rates going up again, this is unacceptable."
"Have you heard about this from anyone else?"
Nancy Eaton, Glastonbury
Mail problems lead to staff changes - JamaicaPlainGazette.com
February 14, 2014
The spate of mail delivery problems that hit Jamaica Plain last month has resulted in managerial changes, according to United States Postal Service spokesperson Melissa Lohnes.
The Gazette reported last month that several areas of Jamaica Plain had problems with undelivered mail, including St. Rose, Boylston and Jamaica Streets, as well as Robinwood and Spring Park Avenues.
ďWe have been taking our customersí recent experience with the Postal Service very seriously,Ē Lohnes said in an email to the Gazette. ďWe have made managerial changes to our staff and we have addressed the past issues with deliveries. We will continue to take the appropriate actions to provide the service all of our customers expect from us.Ē ....
The U.S. Postal Service Tests Same-Day Delivery - BusinessWeek.com
February 13, 2014
"Launched in December, New York Metro Post is still a test-tube-size experiment. There are just five letter carriers making same-day deliveries in the city. The USPS is cagey about detailsóit wonít say how many businesses have signed up or how much it charges customers for each package. It may be wary of calling too much attention to the service. New York is its second try at same-day delivery."
Premature motion: PRC dismisses bid to view non-public Amazon docs - SaveThePostOffice.com
February 13, 2014
Almost three months ago, I filed a request [pdf] with the Postal Regulatory Commission seeking access to documents filed under seal in the docket that dealt with the Postal Serviceís deal with Amazon to deliver its parcels on Sundays. Last week, the PRC finally responded to the request.
The Commission ruled [pdf] that my motion was ďdismissed without prejudiceĒ as being ďpremature,Ē meaning I could resubmit the request again when the time was ripe ó sometime next year. I was also advised to confer with the Postal Service and Amazon "in an effort to resolve the request for access in a mutually agreeable fashion." The Postal Service and Amazon had both filed briefs vehemently opposing my request, but somehow we were supposed to confer together and thereby "resolve the dispute without court action."
This seems like a strange way to respond to a request for access to non-public documents, and the whole story illustrates the disturbing lack of transparency in how the Postal Service conducts its business ó and with PRC approval to boot. ....
Using the ĎCrowdí to Deliver Packages - USPSOIG.gov [pdf]
This brief discussion of an ďIssue in FocusĒ contains candid observations and opinions from staff members of the Office of Inspector General.
February 12, 2014
What Might Crowdshipping Mean for the Postal Service?
Obviously, if crowdshippers crack the code of same-day delivery, and can do it for less than the Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx, it could eat into local package delivery volume, particularly in major metropolitan areas. The more market share crowdshippers gain, the worse it would likely be for the existing package business ó one of the biggest areas of growth for the Postal Service in recent years.
Could the Postal Service jump into the crowdshipping fray? That may be far-fetched. There are a lot of potential issues, including legal questions, liability concerns, and reputational risks. But if crowdshipping takes off in a big way, the Postal Service may need to find new, creative ways to do business.
INLAND: Postal Service warns about cluster-box mail thefts - PE.com
February 12, 2014
Tom Jerele shows a valndalized community mailbox at a Moreno Valley strip mall on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014.
The cluster boxes allow letter carries to deposit mail for a dozen or more customers in only one
location, but they're also convenient for criminals.
As parts of the Inland Empire experience a rash of thefts from community mailboxes, U.S. postal authorities caution customers to empty the receptacles every day.
The mailboxes, also known as cluster boxes, are cemented into the ground in many shopping centers and newer housing developments to allow letter carries to deposit mail for a dozen or more customers in only one location.
The boxes, however, are also convenient for criminals who are hunting for credit cards, checks and personal information that can be sold. Stacia Crane, a spokeswoman for the Postal Inspection Service, said thieves often trade their bounty for drugs.
ďWhere thereís meth, thereís theft,Ē Crane said.
Her advice: ďTake the mail out. Donít leave it there overnight. You are inviting someone to break in.Ē
Postal authorities say the customer is responsible for the purchase, installation and maintenance of cluster boxes.
Bryan MacMurtrie is division manager for Mailboxes R Us, which sells and installs the cluster boxes. He said his company, based in Yorba Linda, receives about three calls per day to replace burgled cluster boxes. ....
West suburban residents sound off on postal delays - ChicagoTribune.com
February 10, 2014
Rep. Danny Davis, left, and Peter Allen, a suburban district manager for
the Postal Service, addressed area residents midday Monday at the Oak Park Public Library.
(Wes Venteicher, Chicago Tribune / February 10, 2014)
Reports of delayed mail, vanished packages and poor customer service prompted apologies and promises of improvement from a regional Postal Service official during a Monday meeting in Oak Park.
"There has been consistent non-delivery," Peter Allen, the agency's district manager for Chicago's south suburbs, told a crowd of about 100 people at the Oak Park Public Library.
Residents told stories of receiving Christmas cards in February, failing to get packages sent months ago and finding their neighbors' bills in their mail boxes. Calls to local post offices were often met with busy signals, recordings and hang-ups, they said. ....
The Senate Can't Part With Saturday Mail Delivery - BusinessWeek.com
February 11, 2014
Something puzzling happened last week, when a U.S. Senate committee passed a postal reform bill allowing the U.S. Postal Service to move to five-day delivery if mail volume falls below 140 billion pieces a year, which would amount to a 10 percent decline over 2012.
The bill that emerged on Thursday, however, has an amendment forbidding the USPS from moving to five-day delivery until the fourth quarter of 2017. Thatís happens to be the precise time when the USPS predicts volume will actually tumble to 140 billion level. In other words, defenders of Saturday delivery concede that mail volume is likely to dramatically diminishótheyíre just worried it could happen even sooner. They are trying to throw a further road block in front of the USPS, even though the postal service insists that carrying letters six days a week is no longer cost-effective. ....
U.S. Postal Service Records Large Quarterly Operating Profit, Yet Reports Loss - SaveOurPostOffice.us
February 11, 2014
The recent Postal Service Financial Report for the last calendar quarter of 2013 shows an operating profit of $765 million Ė yet the official postal press release, duly reported in the media, announced a loss of $354 million.
The announced loss was due solely to a to a $1.425 billion charge for a mandated payment to a federal budget account for future Ė not current Ė retiree healthcare. No payment was actually made, but the amount was recorded as a liability. The Postal Service and postal unions have called for a repeal of the portion of the 2006 law that mandates this ďpre-funding.Ē
A promising recovery in postal finances was highlighted by an increase of $1.5 billion in postal cash, spurred by revenue increases and cost reductions.
American Postal Workers Union president Mark Dimondstein stated in response that ďďThe USPS is suffering from a manufactured crisis. Privatizers have used the ginned-up crisis to undermine a great national treasure. Theyíve been closing mail processing plants, outsourcing retail operations, threatening to eliminate six-day delivery and generally harming service.Ē National Association of Letter Carriers president Fredric Rolando said, ďlawmakers should strengthen the postal network while addressing the remaining problem: the congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree benefits.Ē
Communities and Postal Workers United spokesperson Jamie Partridge stated that ďthe large operating profit demonstrates that no cuts in service to the community are justified. Current service and delivery standards should be maintained, and mail processing plants should be re-opened to maintain those standards.Ē ....
Postal Service manager apologizes, promises fix - OakPark.com
Carrier shortage, cold weather causing delivery delays
February 10, 2014
...At a public meeting called by U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th), USPS District Manager Peter Allen apologized to residents for slow delivery, lost mail and the lack of response to customers explaining the problems.
Allen got an earful from some 60 frustrated residents who gathered at the Oak Park Public Library's main branch on Lake Street Ė in view of the handsome Art Deco main post office just across Lake Street.
"There have been a number of service complaints, and I believe I owe you all an apology because I don't think we have been providing the service that you expected," he said.
Allen acknowledged that there has been "consistent non-delivery" in Oak Park because of a shortage of carriers.
He said the Oak Park Post Office has hired 18 non-career carriers, known as city carrier assistants to fill in the gaps. When carriers and other postal workers are injured on the job and take leave or simply call in sick for the day, the remaining workers have to pick up the slack, causing delivery delays, Allen said. ....
Who Would Make A Better Bank: Walmart or the US Post Office? - Forbes.com
February 10, 2014
Adam Levitin has an article in American Banker where he discusses some of the issues surrounding postal banking. One important note that I think is really worth emphasizing is this:
ďTo the extent that postal banking is meant to plug the budgetary hole in the USPS, it is not particularly appealing.Ē
I think this is correct, and it raises an important question: if banking is not going to fix their budgetary problems, then is it really wise to let a structurally declining industry hold bank deposits? Like Levitin, I am skeptical that the large retail network will allow banks to make a profit without charging high fees to low-income, currently unbanked customers. Without a solution for the structural decline, I am struggling to see postal banking as anything more than a solidification of the too-big-to-fail status of the USPS, and maybe a program to increase employment there. ....
Thousands of early retirements help USPS cut losses in first quarter - PostAndParcel.info
February 10, 2014
...The Postal Service said improvements made in its operating costs came following last yearís decision to accelerate its network downsizing ó a decision taken because of the repeated failure of Congress to enact postal reform.
USPS sealed new agreements with the unions allowing use of more non-career part-timers, to help with flexibility of staffing levels and cutting labour costs.
Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett said: ďWe grew revenue by over $300 million through aggressive marketing and improving service, and we reduced operating costs by $574 million in Quarter 1, partially due to the separation of approximately 22,800 employees in 2013 under a Voluntary Early Retirement program and improved efficiency in our workforce.Ē
Patrick Donahoe, the USPS chief executive, said he was ďproudĒ of the achievements his team had made cutting operating expenses while growing the package business. ....
Network Consolidation on Hold - USPSOIG.gov
February 10, 2014
Hold everything, folks. Thatís the recent message from the U.S. Postal Service on phase two of its network consolidation plan and associated changes to service standards. The Postal Service has delayed the second phase, which was set to take effect this month.
The Postal Service launched its consolidation plan Ė the Mail Processing Network Rationalization Initiative Ė in 2011 as part of a larger $20 billion cost-reduction strategy that seeks to realign the size of the postal network and workforce with reduced mail volumes. In phase one, the Postal Service targeted 178 consolidations. It also adjusted service standards for certain types of mail. For example, the Postal Service significantly reduced the overnight delivery area for First-Class Mail and cut in half the geographic reach of 2-day delivery.
Phase two planned to eliminate overnight delivery of First-Class Mail and consolidate another 89 facilities. Current processing operations were designed primarily around providing overnight delivery of First Class Mail, the product line that is in steepest decline. So at some times in the day, mail processing machines sit idle. Without the constraint of overnight standards, the Postal Service would have a more flexible operating schedule, allowing for higher efficiency and lower costs.
Customers have mixed feelings about network consolidation. On one hand, mailers support reducing costs and eliminating excess capacity. It makes no sense to pay for unused capacity. They also understand the need for the Postal Service to have greater operational flexibility. On the other hand, a reduction in service standards acts as something of a de facto price increase: Customers are paying the same for reduced service.
Further, some mailers are suspicious that these kinds of efforts, such as the latest proposal to add a day of service to some drop-shipped Standard Mail and Periodicals, are merely shifting postal costs onto their backs. They support approaches that reduce total combined costs. Other stakeholders, such as the American Postal Workers Union, have raised outright objections to changes in service standards.
We want your thoughts:
◦ Should the Postal Service continue with phase two as originally outlined or does it need to make adjustments?
◦ Are changes to service standards a reasonable trade-off for lowering overall postal costs?
◦ Can the Postal Service afford premium service standards in a time of declining volume and revenue?
◦ How do the changes to service standards affect you or your business?
◦ Have you seen an increase in mail delays or service problems due to network consolidation?
The Senate puts the PRC in the backseat ó or maybe not even in the car - SaveThePostOffice.com
February 9, 2014
...Rather than finding ways to marginalize the PRC when it comes to rates, Congress ought to be looking for ways to increase the role of the PRC. The Commission should be given more authority to compel the Postal Service to comply with the law on rate matters, it should be able to hold the Postal Service accountable for service deficiencies, it should have more power to ensure that the Postal Service conduct its affairs in as transparent a manner as possible, it should have the power to overturn the Postal Serviceís decision to close a post office (rather than simply remanding the decision for further consideration), and it should have more power to deal with post office suspensions, relocations, and the preservation of historic post offices. The Postal Service doesnít need less regulation. It needs more.
At the moment, the mailing industry is angry with the Postal Service because of the exigent rate increase, but can anyone doubt that without the presence of a strong and effective regulator, the relationship between the Postal Service and the industry would approach crony capitalism and that the interests of the American public would be reduced to that of bystanders?
Senator Carperís version of the amendment prevailed, and at the end of the day a very flawed bill was passed out of committee and sent to the floor of the Senate.
The Secret Weapon at Christmas for the Post Office: Sundays - WSJ.com
February 7, 2014
Both United Parcel Service Inc. and rival FedEx Corp. struggled with a flood of last-minute deliveries over the holidays, with varying degrees of success. But public-sector rival U.S. Postal Service said Friday it thinks it did just fine.
The secret to success? Sunday delivery.
ďThe key for us is the seven-day a week delivery,Ē said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe during the Postal Serviceís quarterly earnings call with journalists. ďIf we hadnít delivered on Sunday, we would have carried heavy volumes into Monday and that would have been problematic.Ē ....
[EdNote from PostCom.org: Huh? Whatever happened to going to five days delivery being essential?
Okay, where's the truthiness? "Five days are essential" or "seven-day delivery is the key"?]
USPS Sets the record straight - USPS.gov
Customers are protected from price gouging
February 7, 2014
Does legislation pending in the U.S. Senate designed to reform current laws governing USPS give the organization ďunchecked, unprecedented power to charge Americans whatever it wants for its services?Ē
The answer is no, based on protections against theoretical monopoly abuses in current laws.
This assertion was made by Association of Magazine Media CEO Mary Berner in an opinion article that appeared in the publication, Roll Call. But, according to USPS officials, the underlying sentiment of Bernerís assertion is untrue.
ďThe bill provides reasonable authority and greater flexibility to develop and price products and services,Ē USPS said in response to Bernerís article. ďThis is a basic need for an organization that derives all of its income from the sale of postage.Ē
Also, the Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) are bound in current law to determine ďjust and reasonableĒ postage rates. This requirement wonít change under proposed legislation. ďIt will always be in our interests to preserve the affordability of mail,Ē USPS said in the response.
Magazine publishers only pay about 27 cents for delivery on average, a fee far lower than the rate at which the Postal Service can recover its costs to deliver their products.
Rahall Announces USPS will not change hours at Bluefield Post Office - BDTonline.com
February 7, 2014
BLUEFIELD ó U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., announced Friday that the hours of operation will not be changing at the Bluefield Federal Street Post Office.
ďI appreciate the Postal Service fixing this problem but it should have never happened, and there is no guarantee the Postal Service will not try again to shorten hours,Ē Rahall said. ďI think that such moves are incredibly misguided. Reduced window hours can have a terrible effect on our local economy, hurting our small businesses and inconveniencing our residents. We must stay vigilant in protecting our postal operations and facilities.Ē
Postal service acknowledges problems with delivery in West Utica - UticaOD.com
February 7, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service is aware of the issue, and the biggest problem is a lack of staff for Utica, said spokeswoman Maureen Marion.
"In a perfect world we would have 76 carriers for Utica," she said. "We have around 68. That's a huge difference for us."
Some of those routes that no longer have a regular carrier are in West Utica. Carriers from surrounding areas outside of Utica have been chipping in to help cover routes.
Delivering along an unfamiliar route or taking on additional routes means sometimes mistakes happen, but relief is on the way, Marion said.
"We're hiring for 10 employees in Utica and we already have eight in the pipeline," she said.
Metro Post Same Day Delivery Pilot Ė San Francisco District
USPS OIG Report Number DR-MA-14-002 [pdf]
February 5, 2014
WHAT THE OIG FOUND:
The Postal Service did not properly implement the pilot. They did not have sufficient participation from the six selected retailers to achieve the required daily minimum target of 200 packages per delivery day. Only 95 packages were sent by the six participating retailers over a 5-month period. Implementation in the San Francisco District was based on the expectation of agreements with several large retailers. However, only one large retailer agreed to participate in the pilot, and later withdrew prior to implementation due other operational priorities. The Postal Service was left with small local retailers that could not produce the target daily package volume. As a result, the Postal Service earned $760 and spent $10,288, with a net loss of $9,528 on the pilot.
WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:
Postal Service Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing and Sales Office took actions during the course of our review and, therefore, this report does not contain any recommendations. Specifically, officials agreed to suspend the pilot in the San Francisco District beginning March 1, 2014 which will allow time to notify customers of the change. Officials further indicated they plan to re-initiate the program in this location when they can secure large retailersí participation. They have initiated the Metro Post Same Day Delivery pilot in the New York District where they have large participating retailers.
McCaskill Scores Victory for Rural Missouri in Fight to Save Post Offices - McCaskill.senate.gov
Senate committee approves McCaskill amendments increasing protections for rural post offices, delivery standards in postal reform bill
February 6, 2014
"McCaskill also worked with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) to protect mail processing facilities from closure and preserve six-day mail delivery. McCaskill has expressed concerns that the Postal Service may increase rates with inadequate justification or too quickly, harming consumers and mail volume. She has argued there must be meaningful review of Postal Service rate changes before they can be put in place and pledged to work to address her concerns on postal rate increases before the legislation is considered by the full Senate."
USPS FAQs for Service Standard Changes due to Load Leveling - Intelisent.com
Proposed Service Standard Rule Change for Destination Sectional Center Facility Change (aka Ė Load Leveling)
February 5, 2014
APWU Web News Article #022-14, Feb. 5, 2014
A Closer Look at the Jan. 28 Bay Area Staples Protests
A new video takes a closer look at the unionís recent protests in San Francisco and San Jose to stop the privatization of postal retail operations at Staples stores.
More than 200 APWU members and supporters took part in a lively protest outside a Staples store in San Francisco and San Jose on Jan. 28, challenging a deal between the company and the U.S. Postal Service that staffs ďpostalĒ counters in Staples stores with non-postal employees. The deal threatens good-paying union jobs and jeopardizes public post offices, they said.
Mail shouldn't be run like a business - PeabodyKansas.com
February 5, 2014
"Thereís nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be businesslike. Whatís fundamentally wrong is that the Postal Service never was intended to be a business. Make it a business and the first thing itíll want to get rid of are deliveries to ďnon-profitableĒ areas ó code words for basically every rural farmhouse and small town doorstep in existence. Saturday delivery? Of course not. Walk-up hours at local post offices? Make them no more than 45 minutes, scattered at odd times throughout the day.
Small town post offices and rural mail delivery are never going to be profitable. Nor will delivering newspapers and magazines people subscribe to. The answer is not to create more and more cumbersome Rube Goldberg systems that never seem to work and then, when they fail, try to compete with private businesses for junk mail distribution in hopes of making enough money to recover costs of universal service."
Are US postal kiosks facing a usage crisis? - KioskMarketplace.com
February 5, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General released an audit report [pdf] last month that detailed problems facing the nation's fleet of more than 2,500 self-service postal kiosks. At the center of the report, the OIG found that the kiosks were not being used as anticipated, and an outreach plan was recommended to boost the kiosk's role within postal locations.
The USPS kiosks are designed to process 80 percent of those transactions normally handled by a window employee at a retail postal service facility, according to the audit. As of June 2013, the performance rate of the kiosks was 26.11, below the nationwide customer adoption percentage target of 35 percent.
The OIG attributes the poor performance to several factors, including inconsistent signage, the positioning of some kiosks in partially obscured locations, and lobby assistants who were not properly trained to promote kiosk usage.
While USPS executive management disagreed with the assertion of faulty locations hindering the performance of the kiosks (in fact, a letter attached to the report shows management disagreed with the entirety of the OIG audit), those familiar with kiosk usage acknowledge that location is key. ....
Mail problems prompt public meeting - OakPark.com
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' office says mail service complaints are up
Calvert County Residents Upset About Delayed Mail Delivery - NBCWashington.com
Some southern Maryland folks are upset with the U.S. Postal Service
No Mail in Past Week, Claim Montgomery Co. Residents - NBCWashington.com
Some Bethesda, Md., residents say they haven't received mail in a week.
EDITORIAL: Backlog in cluster mailboxes must end - BeaumontEnterprise.com
February 5, 2014
If there's anything worse than getting your mail from a "cluster box" at the end of the street instead of an individual mailbox by your door, it's not even having a cluster box nearby. Unfortunately, that's what thousands of people are going through in Texas and other states.
In The Woodlands, new residents are waiting six to eight months to get cluster mailboxes installed near them. In the meantime, they have to go to local post offices to pick up their mail, sometimes standing in lines for up to an hour.
That's inexcusable. The Postal Service used to manufacture the locks for the cluster boxes but decided to outsource the business. That's fine, but that switchover combined with shortages in mail carriers have produced major backlogs.
Problems like this don't encourage more people to use the Postal Service to move envelopes or boxes. Postal officials need to realize that and start providing better service.
Protest Aside, Postal Service Is Taking Next Step to Sell Grand Property in the Bronx - NYTimes.com
February 5, 2014
"The Postal Service is moving forward with a plan to sell the historic Bronx building despite protests from many of its customers, community leaders and elected officials, who view it as a neighborhood institution, a place where people come to transact the daily business of their lives. The sprawling 1935 building, which anchors a corner of the Grand Concourse and East 149th Street, is a grand public space lined with 13 museum-worthy murals by the artists Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson Shahn."
USPS News Link - Expanded access milestone
USPS celebrates 500th VPO opening
February 4, 2014
USPS is marking the milestone opening of the nationís 500th Village Post Office (VPO).
The new facility opened in a hardware store in Greenwood, CA, Jan. 28. Postal officials from San Diego and Sacramento gathered with the store owners for a ribbon cutting.
ďPacific Area, and Sacramento District have the distinct honor of hosting this grand opening of the 500th VPO in the country,Ē said Pacific Area VP Dean Granholm. ďThe Postal Service has reached this milestone incredibly quickly.Ē
Selling the Mail Ė Whose Job Is it? - USPSOIG.gov
February 3, 2014
"Selling the business is to the advantage of everyone who works for it. But if the Postal Service wants to institutionalize this responsibility and require that its employees reach certain targets, then proper incentives, training and support are critical.
Should postal workers be required to ďsellĒ the Postal Service? Would a system of financial incentives, such as those used in the private sector, work best, or would another type of reward be more effective?"
US Postal Service Explores Adding Bitcoin Exchanges - CoinDesk.com
February 3, 2014
While the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) successfully monopolized media attention last week by assembling a cast of bitcoin A-listers at its regulatory hearing, it wasnít the only government agency to explore virtual currencies in a way that could impact the global community.
On 29th January, the US Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) held a webinar on virtual currency attended by representatives from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and World Bank that sought to ďexplore the possibilityĒ of a ďpotential roleĒ for bitcoin at post offices around the globe.
"Further driving the need to explore additional revenue streams is the erosion of the USPSí core business as a result of rising Internet use. Letter writing has declined by 25% since 2010, while the majority Ė 56% of bills Ė are now paid electronically.
However, any further action on virtual currency is likely to take time. According to one inside source, speaking to Bloomberg, the implementation of virtual currency services could be ďyearsĒ away for the USPS."
US Postal Service unable to provide mailboxes for spate of new Houston-area housing - DailyJournal.net
February 3, 2014
HOUSTON ó Judy Paskins hasnít had a single card or bill delivered to her new home in an upscale Katy subdivision since moving there six months ago from Michigan.
Itís not because old friends or bill collectors have forgotten her. The 62-year-old retired nurse is just one of hundreds of families in new developments surrounding Houston being forced to wait for the U.S. Postal Service to install cluster mailboxes.
ďOn average, we have homeowners waiting from six to eight months for their mailboxes,Ē Susan Vreeland-Wendt, director of marketing for The Woodlands Development Co., told the Houston Chronicle.
The Postal Service is responsible for erecting the cluster boxes, which became mandatory for new developments in 2012 as a means to off-set some of the agencyís $40 billion debt. A congressional committee working on postal-reform bills found that delivering to cluster mailboxes cost less than half of doorstep service ó $160 per address compared to $353 an address per year, officials say. The switch is expected to save the Postal Service around $4 billion annually.
The nationwide shortage started after the Postal Service, which had historically manufactured the locks, decided last year to outsource to a new supplier, said Patricia Licata, a Postal Service spokeswoman in Washington, D.C. The Postal Service declined to give the manufacturerís name or reason for the backlog, citing security concerns.
Several homeowners said Katy-area postal workers have told them that even if the locks are made readily available that they are too understaffed to install the cluster boxes and service the routes.
My Post Office Stacks Mailed Packages On Lobby Floor, Shrugs - Consumerist.com
February 3, 2014
Reader C. visited the post office recently, and what he saw upset him. The good news was that his post office was doing brisk business. It was early in the morning still, but it received a lot of packages. The bad news was that these packages were piled on the floor in the lobby.
ď[A]pparently the back area was so jammed with already-mailed packages that there wasnít any more room to send them through to the other side,Ē he complained to Consumerist. Photos? Of course he took photos.
Isnít that good news? Hurray, people supporting the postal service! Hurray, a busy local government entity! Yes, but thereís a problem with this workflow, too. ďAny joker could simply walk in and walk out with several armloads of packages,Ē notes C. ďand no one would ever know what happened! Hell, I could have done it if Iíd wanted to.Ē
C. told the people behind the counter about his package-related concerns. He also contacted his local postmaster, but didnít hear anything back. We passed his photos and story on to representatives of the U.S. Postal Service, but we didnít hear anything back either. It could be that this is just how theyíre dealing with an era when they have to cut back on staffing levels, but computer-addicted customers keep buying and selling stuff online and printing their own postage at home. Or maybe C. caught them on an off day.
Postal Service releases post office closure and suspension lists for 2013 - SaveThePostOffice.com
February 2, 2014
The Postal Service has released the official lists of post office closings and suspensions in FY 2013. The lists come in response to a Chairmanís Information Request made as part of the Annual Compliance Determination Review (ACDR) conducted by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The lists can be downloaded from the PRC website here. Weíve also put them on Google docs for easy access: the closure list is here and a map here; the suspension list is here. (Note the tabs for each sheet at the bottom of the spreadsheets.)
A discussion of the discontinuances and suspensions that have taken place over the past year can be found in this post.
Sisters and Brothers,
Please forward and share widely the attached newsletter [pdf] of Communities and Postal Workers United.
Please print (2-sided) and distribute widely at postal work places and among allies in the community.
for Communities and Postal Workers United
The Postmaster General's Scandalous(?) Salary - DeadTreeEdition.blogspot.com
February 2, 2014
Click on image to enlarge
The U.S. Postal Service reported Friday that Postmaster General Pat Donahoe received total compensation of $436,540 last year. Some people will see that as a shocking amount for a government employee.
But hereís the real shocker: The CEOs of the Postal Serviceís two chief rivals, FedEx and United Parcel Service, at last report each earned more than 27 times what Donahoe made.
The most highly compensated postal employee in Fiscal Year 2013 was actually Ellis A. Burgoyne, the Chief Information Officer & Executive VP. His $230,000 salary, $233,000 pension gain, and $7,000 in other compensation gave him a total package of $470,000.
Burgoyne's counterpart at FedEx made 10 times that amount, and the CIO at UPS made nearly seven times Burgyoneís pay. Both FedEx and UPS have smaller workforces than USPS and generate slightly less revenue (though more profit). ....
The Post Office Should Just Become a Bank - NewRepublic.com
How Obama can save USPS and ding check-cashing joints
January 28, 2014
"The report suggests three types of potential products. First, it proposes a ďPostal CardĒ that could make in-store purchases, access cash at ATMs, pay bills online, or transfer money internationally. Customers with paper checks could cash them at the post office or deposit them through their cell phones, loading them onto their Postal Card. Second, the USPS could offer an interest-bearing savings account, again through the Postal Card, encouraging savings from communities with little in the way of a personal safety net. Finally, the Postal Service could offer small-dollar loans, effectively an alternative to costly payday lending. The fees on all these services would be drastically lower than anything in the marketplace today."
Related: Coming to a Post Office Near You: Loans You Can Trust - HuffingtonPost.com
Members of APWU Trenton Metro at Staples in Lawrenceville, NJ last week:
Via Bill Lewis, President
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Postal service does away with parcel post - KYUK.org
January 31, 2014
Allen Murphy is the long-time Bethel Post Master.
ďNow it means there will be no more parcel post most places except Ketchikan in Alaska,Ē Murphy says. ďIt will come out priority, if you go to mail something, itís being charged the priority rate.Ē
The rate hikes are higher for packages 20 pounds and heavier. For packages less than 15 pounds, the rates actually go down slightly.
This does mean that packages will ship fasterÖif they are marked correctly. Murphy says residents should be careful because post offices all over the country will still be dealing with both parcel post and priority packages.
ďWhen theyíre mailing their boxes or theyíre taking them to the counter, they need to make sure that they get their priority stickers on them,Ē Murphy says.
CBRE CEO also serves on Board of Staples - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 31, 2014
There's a piece in Salon in which APWU president Mark Dimondstein connects the dots to show how Congress and the White House are working toward privatizing the Postal Service. Dimonstein has some choice words for Darrell Issa ó ďa pure enemy of the Postal Service" ó and his ďcynical and diabolical" proposal to dismantle the postal system.
Dimonstein talks about how postal counters in Staples are just the latest element of the plan, and he criticizes the sale of postal properties by CBRE, whose chairman is Richard Blum, husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Buried in the story is an interesting fact that no one seems to have noted before: CBRE CEO Robert Sulentic also serves on the board of Staples, a position for which he received $300,000 in 2011.
"Asked whether he had played a role in the retailerís USPS pilot program, a USPS spokesperson answered that the program 'was solicited publicly through a [Request for Proposals].' CBRE answered, 'Mr. Sulentic is not involved in the day-to-day management of Staples,' and referred questions regarding Staplesí programs to Staples."
Chicago magazine bags mail delivery - RobertFeder.com
January 31, 2014
Subscribers used to seeing Chicago magazine tucked inside their mailboxes each month are more likely to find them tossed somewhere on their porches or driveways instead.
Starting with the February issue, the Tribune Co.-owned magazine has ceased using the United States Postal Service for delivery to a majority of its subscribers, opting instead to utilize the Chicago Tribuneís own distribution system.
Rich Gamble, publisher and general manager of Chicago, cited the rising cost of postage for the move, which he said will improve the timeliness of delivery and help preserve the magazineís heavily discounted subscription pricing levels. ....
San Jose, CA Staples Protest - January 28, 2014
Members of the U.S. postal service protest against the privatization of mail through Staples which would leave thousands of people unemployed and U.S. mail in the hands of unqualified non-union Staples employees.
APWU Western Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez does an excellent job explaining our position to the media. - RZ
USPS News Link - New name, same service
Cincinnati District changes its name
January 30, 2014
Cincinnati District is changing its name to Ohio Valley District, beginning Feb. 8.
Click on image to enlarge
According to USPS, the new name better reflects the current identity of the communities served by the district.
During the 1993 USPS restructuring, Ohio was represented by the Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus Performance Clusters. Akron and Cleveland became what is now Northern Ohio District, and Columbus became part of Cincinnati District in 2011.
Ohio Valley District stretches from the upper portion of Kentucky northward, to the shores of the Sandusky River. The district includes Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and portions of southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky. The districtís eastern border is the Ohio River.
ďAlthough the name changes, the commitment to excellent customer service that the former Cincinnati District is well known for remains and will carry on under our new banner,Ē said Acting District Manager Sam Jaudon.
Postal Service ending door-to-door delivery to new developments - Sun-Sentinel.com
January 31, 2014
"It's all part of the Postal Service's national plan to save money: The average annual costs for city door-to-door delivery are $353; curbside service costs $224, and the tab is $160 for centralized delivery with cluster boxes, according to the Postal Service.
In July, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa , (R-Calif.) even proposed legislation to expand cluster boxes to existing communities nationwide to save the postal service money. The Postal Reform Act of 2013 has not been voted on in the House."
Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman: Helping Customers Through The Mega-Bureaucracy Of The Mail Since 1998 - Consumerist.com
January 31, 2014
The post office might be one of the most incomprehensible bureaucracies in the country. It is, on the one hand, a massive network spanning every state, county, and city in the nation. It is also, on the other hand, hyper-local: for most of us, letter carriers literally come right up to the front door six days a week.
When it works, it works amazingly. Less than fifty cents to get something from Boston to Juneau in a few days without having to think about it? Thatís some pretty sharp infrastructure. But when it doesnít work well, consumers can find themselves in a circle of bureaucratic hell even deeper than the DMV.
Enter the Postal Regulatory Commission. The PRCís mission, basically, is to keep the Postal Service in line. They approve mail rate increases and they make sure the USPS follows its own rules and regulations. They also can be a recourse for customers who canít get what they need from the postal service.
Chairman Ruth Goldway, the head of the Commission, sat down with Consumerist this week to explain what the PRCís role is, why some bad service keeps happening, what elements are working as intended, and how the United States Postal Service could evolve with tighter resources in an increasingly digitally-oriented world. ....
Postal Service ignores moratorium on post office closings, shuts down Glenoaks Station - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 31, 2014
"The Postal Service said that a notice it had sent the previous week announcing the potential closing of the Glencoe post office had been "issued in error." As the letter went on to explain, "We are in a moratorium. Any correspondence and activity concerning the proposed closing of Glencoe has been put on hold until further notice.Ē
Despite the PMGís pledge and this acknowledgement that thereís a moratorium, the Postal Service is closing the Glenoaks Station post office in Burbank, California. According to an article in the Burbank Leader yesterday, the Glenoaks post office closed its doors this month."
Begich demands answers to Postal Service problems statewide - AlaskaDispatch.com
January 30, 2014
Alaskans from around the state have reached out to U.S. Sen. Mark Begich for answers to problems with Postal Service rates, services and staffing. Pictured above is Francis Ozenna picking up a package from the post office in Diomede, Alaska. All mail is delivered there by helicopter, making it some of the most expensive mail service in the country.
Increased shipping costs and ďtroublingĒ delays due to staff shortages at post offices across the state have Alaskans irked by long lines, missing Christmas gifts, and groceries that arrive rotten and unsafe to eat, according to U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, who is demanding an immediate meeting with the nationís postmaster general to get some answers.
In a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Begich says heís ďalarmedĒ by the ďsudden and persistent volume of complaintsĒ his office has received from across the state related to postal delivery. ....
Speak Your Piece: The Vanishing Postmaster - DailyYonder.com
January 30, 2014
"Millions of Americans still rely on the post office for basic transactions. Some may call it junk mail, but itís estimated that the postal network affects $1 trillion worth of our economy and helps support 8 million jobs. Maybe most important is that the local post office is still a community center and a source of community identity. Postal employees, including rural and city carriers, clerks and postmasters, play important and useful roles in their communities.
The founding fathers saw the value of the post office. They understood that a postal network was more than a means of delivery. The postal network served as basic infrastructure that connected our nation commercially and civically. The ability to have an open and accessible network that brought news, opinion, culture and education to the doorstep of every American home had both economic and social value. The promise of universal service, that every American would receive free delivery, is an embodiment of the charge to the Postal Service to help ďbind the nation together.Ē More than that, it helps fulfill the explicit promise of the preamble to the Constitution that ďWe the peopleĒ would join together to ďinsure domestic tranquilityĒ and ďpromote the general welfare.Ē
The rural post office has been a contact point between Americans and their government. In many small towns and communities, the post office is the meeting place, the place where folks see their neighbors and participate in a most basic American trait of connection and community. As postmaster I was more than just a fellow who sold stamps, shipped packages and delivered mail. I was a part of the community, source of information, help and often comfort."
A video on yesterday's rally, shot by an activist reporter:
Dozens of postal workers and opponents of privatization of the US Post Office picketed the Staples store on Van Ness Street in San Francisco on January 28, 2014. The American Postal Workers Union APWU which initiated the action charges that the Staple store will not protect the mail and that it is being used to eliminate more post offices in an outsourcing privatization scheme. Other postal worker crafts joined the demonstration and spoke out against privatization.
[Production of Labor Video Project - www.laborvideo.org]
Expanding financial services is available route for the Postal Service, report says - WashingtonPost.com
January 27, 2014
... The physical presence is already there to serve the needs of Americans,Ē said Charles Crum, an economist in the inspector generalís office. ďAlso, the Postal Service is not beholden to shareholders to maximize profits,Ē so it could keep fees low.
Another area ripe for expansion is small-dollar lending, according to the report. The inspector generalís office said loans could be made available to people who have their paycheck directly deposited onto a Postal Service prepaid card. Consumers could borrow up to 50 percent of their paycheck at an effective annual interest rate of 28 percent, a fraction of the triple-digit interest rates that payday lenders typically charge, according to the report. ....
Postage Increase: New Price Rates May Be a ĎLose-Lose Propositioní - WebProNews.com
January 27, 2014
The agencyís price change is in response to a financial crisis the company has dealt with since the recession. Job cuts and the closing of a number of post office locations confirmed the setbacks the USPS has experience since the economic slump.
The Governors of the Postal Service have determined that because Congress has failed to enact laws that would alleviate the agencyís financial struggles, an increase in postage prices is necessary. Consequently, they have determined that a price adjustment will help to improve the Postal Serviceís performance, which will continue to meet the high-standards that America needs.
However, a number of mailing-industry organizations, like the Newspaper Association of America, are not too pleased with the new prices. An appeal was sent to the U.S Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 in response to the changes.
Senior Vice President Peggy Hudson of the Direct Marketing Association shared in a press release that the new rates would only cause issues for both parties.
ď[The rate increase] will simply drive mail from the system, which harms the financial viability of both the Postal Service and its business customers. It is a lose-lose proposition,Ē she said. ....
Hoeven: Postal Service Postpones Consolidation of Minot Area Mail Processing Center - Hoeven.Senate.gov
January 27, 2014
Senator Hoeven Requests Postal Service Review of Progress in Addressing Key Challenges in Western ND:
ē Minot Area Mail Processing (AMP) Center
ē Mail Delivery to Employer Housing Units
ē Consistent Local Newspaper Delivery
ē Review of POST Plan Facility Closures & Service Reductions
ē Expansion & Relocation of Postal Facilities in Williston and Watford City
ē Mail Delivery Inconsistencies
ē Staffing & Training
ē Premium Pay for postal workers
U.S. Postal Service Should Offer Loans, Bank Products, Agency Says - AmericanBanker.com
January 27, 2014
Washington ó The U.S. Postal Service should consider fixing its massive budget shortfall by offering financial products such as debit cards, remittances and loans to underbanked consumers, according to a paper issued Monday by the agency's Office of the Inspector General.
The white paper said the beleaguered Postal Service could raise approximately $8.9 billion in additional revenue and reach potentially 68 million adults by offering such products, including international money orders and transfers....
Related: Providing Non-Bank Financial Services for the Underserved - USPSOIG.gov - January 27, 2014
The disappearing postal workforce: Counting up the losses - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 27, 2014
... Since 2000, the Postal Service has shed 300,000 career jobs ó a drop of almost 40 percent. The Postal Service eliminated 37,400 jobs in fiscal 2013 alone. And itís not going to get any better. Over the next few years, postal jobs are going to keep disappearing ó at a faster rate than in any other sector of the labor force. According to the Occupational Outlooks Handbook just put out by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, by 2022 the number of clerks, mail processing workers, and letter carriers will decline another 28 percent ó 139,000 more jobs gone.
What is striking as one looks at all this data is not only the drop in postal employment but also the increase in part-time and noncareer employees. At the end of 2010, about 12.5% of the workforce was noncareer. Now about 20% of the postal workforce is noncareer. If one factors in part-time career employees (whose percentage has been relatively stable), about 24% of the workforce is less than full-time. ....
APWU Web News Article #015-14, Jan. 26, 2014
Getting Ready: First Staples Protests Set for Jan. 28 in California
APWU members and supporters in California are preparing for the first round of protests at Staples stores on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The first rally will take place at 10 a.m. in San Francisco, in front of the Staples store at 1700 Van Ness Ave, with a second set to begin at 4 p.m. in San Jose, in front of the Staples store at 121 Bernal Road.
The activities are designed to call attention to the deal between the Postal Service and Staples that jeopardizes the nationís public post offices and threatens good-paying union jobs.
The APWU has condemned the program, calling it ďa direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services.Ē Approximately 40 percent of APWU members work in retail operations, so the threat to postal jobs and to public post offices is real, the union points out.
ďThe APWU supports the expansion of postal services and retail hours,Ē APWU President Mark Dimondstein said. ďBut we cannot accept USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail,Ē he said. ďPostal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.Ē
The union is demanding that postal employees be assigned to perform the postal work at Staples stores. ďYou have a right to postal services provided by highly trained, uniformed Postal Service employees, who are sworn to safeguard your mail Ė whether itís at the Post Office or Staples,Ē the union wrote in a flyer that will be handed out to customers and passersby outside the Staples stores.
If Staples and the USPS refuse, the APWU will ask customers to take their business elsewhere.
Just the Beginning
ďThe Jan. 28 rallies are just the beginning,Ē Dimondstein said. ďWe are prepared to engage in a sustained campaign to fix this deal or stop it.Ē
A nationwide day of actions will soon follow, he said, and protests will be scheduled in other locations where Staples stores have postal counters.
The APWU has been seeking support for its efforts in the labor movement and the community. The three other postal unions have pledged support for the fight. The California Federal of Teachers is also urging its members to support the APWUís demands.
ďThe Teachers Unions are especially important allies in this fight,Ē Dimondstein said, because they are frequently Staplesí customers.Ē
ďWe will take this issue far and wide, looking for support among all those who believe in a public Postal Service and in protecting jobs that pay a living wage.Ē
Related: Staples Plucks Postal Jobs - LaborNotes.org - January 27, 2014
Environmental report on disposal of historic Stamford post office raises more conflict-of-interest questions - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 25, 2014
The Environmental Assessment (EA) on the disposal of the historic Atlantic Street Station post office in Stamford, Connecticut, was released a couple of days ago. For a dry, technical document about air quality, construction noise, and traffic issues, itís a pretty interesting thing to look at. You can see the whole report, including appendices, here; the main part of the EA is here.
The Postal Service never wanted to do an EA on the Stamford post office to begin with. A few months ago, however, a federal judge in Connecticut issued a temporary injunction blocking the Postal Serviceís sale of the post office to the Cappelli Organization, a Westchester developer. The Court ruled that the Postal Service had failed to follow its own federal regulations under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). ...
"The amount of money that CBRE and URS may have made off this deal is probably not very significant in the big scheme of things. The more important questions involve how all this happened. Did the Postal Service go through its normal contracting procedures in selecting URS or did the contract permit CBRE to do that on its own? Did the Postal Service know about this prior relationship between CBRE and URS? And why did anyone who was involved with this deal think that there wouldn't at least be an appearance of a conflict of interest?
Itís not as if the EA report was going to slip by under radar. The EA was essentially ordered by a federal judge, who will no doubt be taking a close look at it. The two organizations that brought the Stamford case to court ó the National Post Office Collaborate and the Center for Art and Mindfulness ó have lawyers, and theyíre going to be looking at the CBRE-URS connection too. The EA report is going to be available for public review, and there will probably be a public meeting in Stamford where it will be discussed. Isnít it likely that the public and the media will ask about this issue?"
Donít outsource postal services | Opinion - ABQJournal.com
By Mark Dimondstein / President, American Postal Workers Union
January 25, 2014
As the United States Postal Service confronts a changing future, those of us who work for the agency agree with the goals stated in a recent Albuquerque Journal editorial. The USPS must be creative, ďand do what is best for the agency to remain relevant in todayís world.Ē
But the workers I represent as president of the American Postal Workers Union differ sharply with USPS management Ė about how to achieve those goals. ...
...When it comes to turning your mail over to Staples, say ďno sale.Ē
APWU Web News Article #014-14, Jan. 24, 2014
USPS Postpones Consolidations
The Postal Service announced in the Federal Register on Jan. 24 that it is postponing Phase 2 of its latest mail processing consolidation plan, which was slated to begin on Feb. 1. The USPS is also delaying implementation of changes to service standards that would have been necessary if the plants were consolidated.
The USPS will announce the new implementation date in the Federal Register at least 90 days before it takes effect.
ďWe are pleased by the decision to delay further cuts to the mail processing network,Ē said APWU President Mark Dimondstein, ďbut we will continue the fight for a vibrant public Postal Service.
ďThe Postal Service must find ways to expand and enhance service, not cut it,Ē he said. ďWe will work to make that happen and enlist our members and people of this country in that fight.Ē
Related: Postal Service Delays New Wave of Mail Processing Closures - GovExec.com
USPS not ready to process increased package load coming from online shopping - FierceGovernment.com
January 24, 2014
Postal Service auditors warn that the agency must improve its ability to process packages amid an Internet retail sales boom causing a double digit increase in parcel volume in recent years.
Currently, the Postal Service can process 24 million packages daily, but it's not ready to handle significantly more, a Jan. 21 Postal Service inspector general report says.
Between fiscal 2010 and 2012, Postal Service package volume increased by 445 million pieces, or 14.6 percent, the report [pdf] says.
USPS could solve the problem by improving run times for machines that process packages, the IG says. Between April 2012 and March 2013, those machines' average run times came in between 11 and 14 hours per day, but that should be upped to about 17 hours per day to meet future demands.
The Postal Service could also increase the number of workers staffing the machines, the report says, which would allow for more packages to be run through the machines without them getting jammed. Without enough staff, the machines jam and packages rotate around the machine multiple times before being sorted.
The report comes on the heels of a Dec. 11 USPS OIG report [pdf] that says the Postal Service lacks the staff and vehicles to handle projected growth in package delivery due to more online purchases.
The Postal Service delivers about 3.7 billion packages a year, and that total is expected to rise to about 4.6 billion in fiscal 2017.
USPS OIG Audit Report Number DR-AR-14-002 [pdf]
January 22, 2014
Self-service kiosks (SSKs) are in about 2,300 post offices nationwide. The majority of the kiosks are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. SSKs enable customers to buy stamps and postal products and to process about 80 percent of those transactions normally handled by retail window clerks.
The U.S. Postal Service evaluates the effectiveness of an SSK by measuring the customer adoption percentage, which is the percentage of applicable transactions performed at an SSK instead of by a retail clerk.
Our objective was to assess the SSK initiative in customer service operations.
WHAT THE OIG FOUND:
Customers were not using SSKs as anticipated. As of June 30, 2013, the SSK performance rate was 26.11 percent, 8.9 percentage points below the fiscal year (FY) 2013 nationwide customer adoption percentage target of 35 percent. This occurred due to several factors, including inconsistent signage, positioning of some SSKs in partially obscured locations, and lobby assistants who were not always trained and used effectively to promote SSK usage. The Postal Service could eliminate over 249,877 customer service retail window workhours and save about $12 million annually if it improved SSK promotion and customer assistance on the use of SSKs.
The Postal Service also incurred unnecessary SSK supply costs in FY 2012. A software issue prevented kiosk sensors from correctly identifying when all label paper used to print on-demand stamps had been used. Management began corrective action in February 2013 to address the sensor issue; therefore, we are not making a recommendation on this issue.
In related matters, we provided management with kiosk-related industry strategies and implementation practices for its consideration.
WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:
We recommended the vice president, Delivery and Post Office Operations, and the vice president, Channel Access, establish a national initiative to train additional lobby assistants, and assess SSK signage and placement. We also recommended deploying lobby assistants to promote and educate customers on SSK usage and eliminate 249,877 workhours to achieve cost savings of about $24 million over 2 years. Finally, we recommended evaluating industry best practices using SSKs and identifying any barriers to implementation.
Five of the 15 offices the OIG visited are using managers and supervisors for Lobby Assistants! Seven others are using none at all. Instead of sending injured workers and other employees home for ďno work available,Ē why donít they use them as Lobby Assistants?
Press Release: Cohen Introduces Legislation to Protect Consumers from Postal Delays - Cohen.House.gov
Congressmanís legislation would prevent late fees due to slowed postal service
January 23, 2014
[WASHINGTON, DC] Ė With the United States Postal Service (USPS) proposing the elimination of Saturday deliveries and other threats to the speedy delivery that consumers around the country rely on, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) late last week introduced the Postmark Payment Act of 2014 to protect Americans from being charged late fees stemming from delayed USPS deliveries. Just as the Internal Revenue Service accepts tax returns based on postmark date, the Congressmanís legislation would ensure that, for any payment made through the USPS, companies accept postmarks instead of receipt date when processing the payment.
ďĎNeither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of nightí stops USPS mail carriers from delivering our mailóusually within just a day or two,Ē said Congressman Cohen. ďWeather like this makes us realize just how hard those jobs are, but the Postal Service faces significant challenges to stave off delays and price increases. Citizens around the country including seniors and those living at or near the poverty line rely on speedy delivery by the Postal Service to pay their bills. They didnít cause these problems, and they shouldnít be punished for them. My bill will hold companies to the same standard used by the IRS, protect consumers from late fees stemming from delayed USPS service, and help Americans save money.Ē
Before returning to Memphis at the end of last week, Congressman Cohen also introduced the Expanding Nonpostal Services to Americans Act to help the USPS address its budget deficit without additional service cuts or price increases. The legislation would lift the ban on the Postal Service offering non-postal services including check cashing, public internet, and notary services.
APWU Web News Article #013-14, Jan. 24, 2014
Youngstown Local Hits the Road
Members of the Youngstown Ohio Area Local speak to manager and pose outside the Staples store in New Castle, PA.
On a recent winter morning, members of the Youngstown Ohio Area Local visited a Staples outlet in New Castle, PA to protest the office supply company's efforts to open postal retail units staffed by non-USPS employees.
The Staples in New Castle is one of the 80+ pilot locations where the company has already opened postal counters. The Youngstown delegation delivered a letter expressing their members' displeasure with the arrangement to the store's manager, who received it and promised to forward it to higher management.
"We also informed the store manager that we were closing our account and ending any further business with Staples, immediately," the local reported.
Members of the Youngstown team included President Dominic Corso, Vice President Ron Conrad, Treasurer Ellis Williams, Maintenance Director Rob Smith, and Legislative Director/Editor Frank Antinone.
The Privatization Ruse - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 24, 2014
"The PMG may say he has no intention of privatizing the Postal Service, but the obvious consequences of the agenda he has set, the policies he has promoted, and the actions he has undertaken is privatization. Mr. Donahoe may not want to be Apple or UPS or FedEx, but he wants the kind of independence that a private corporation enjoys.
If one looks not at stated intentions but at actions and consequences, itís clear that Mr. Donahoe, with the support of the Board of Governors and many in Congress, is less interested in providing an essential public service, fulfilling the universal service obligation, and preserving a valuable national infrastructure than he is in treating the Postal Service as if it were a corporation in the delivery business. And that, by any name imaginable, is privatization."
USPS to postpone changing service standards under Phase II of the Network Rationalization - PostalReporter.com
January 23, 2014
The APWU filed an amended complaint [PDF] with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) on Dec.13, alleging that the USPS is failing to comply with service standards on first-class mail and periodicals. The APWU alleged that significant delays in mail delivery are being caused by the closure of processing facilities around the country.
Fast forward : USPS is set to announce it is postponing Phase II of the Network Rationalization, and the corresponding service standard. The changes were scheduled to become effective on February 1, 2014. The current service standards currently in effect will continue until further notice. The service standard changes associated with Phase I of Network Rationalization became effective on July 1, 2012. The proposal to revise service standards applied to First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Standard Mail.
See: Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 16 / Friday, January 24, 2014 /Rules and Regulations [pdf]
APWU Web News Article #012-14, Jan. 23, 2014
Making the Point in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Metro Area Local Secretary-
Treasurer Bob Montana (left) and President
Chuck Pugar greet a Staples manager.
Members of Pittsburgh Metro Area Local paid visits to the three largest Staples stores near Pittsburgh on Jan. 22 to protest the retail supply chainís decision to open postal retail units staffed by non-USPS employees.
The Pittsburgh delegation hand-delivered letters to the store managers expressing the unionís disapproval of the companyís privatized postal staffing arrangement. ďOnly U.S. Postal Service postal employees are fully accountable to the public, and sworn to uphold the sanctity of the mail,Ē the letter said.
Replacing professional postal workers with low-wage, non-union Staples workers, they told the managers, will lead not only to the demise of the Postal Service but to the destruction of thousands more middle class jobs in communities across in the nation.
The US Postal Service ĖDelivering a 21st Century Solution - PostalVision2020.com
January 20, 2014
"It occurs to me that the resolution to this debate is not ďeither/orĒ but ďboth/andĒ. It is here where perhaps the US Postal Service can legitimately evolve into the digital world as the trusted provider to deliver communication. The service calls for the creation of essentially a small browser plug-in that would ensure all web queries would be routed through a proxy server that masked the users IP address. This would allow the user to anonymously browse the internet without being tracked. The proxy servers would also block and scan downloaded files for malware and viruses.
Services similar to this, such as Cocoon, exist today but are not widely known. If the US Postal Service were to add such services to its portfolio, it certainly has the pervasive coverage to promote awareness and encourage use.
Additionally, a service could be added that would issue an email address that routes messages through the proxy servers. This service would be specifically designed for transaction emails. Originators of these emails would have to be registered/verified to ensure authenticity. This could potentially eliminate situations such as below. These services would be available for reasonable fees."
"For those who eschew government involvement in such services, it should be noted that there is ample opportunity for private sector partnerships in delivery these services.
The US Postal Service remains one of the most trusted brands in the US. By adding a service to its portfolio that builds on this reputation, perhaps Congress, who controls USPS, might find a way to allow USPS to move beyond its 18th century roots."
Can U.S. Postal Service be saved? - Fosters.com
January 23, 2014
The answer is a resounding YES! The oldest Government entity has been through a great deal over the last 239 years. And the worst time in its storied history has been the last seven years, largely through no fault of its own.
A bipartisan piece of legislation called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) was passed in the wee hours of the morning in December 2006. Its design was to level the playing field for the United States Postal Service (USPS) with its competitors. The result of just one paragraph in that legislation has nearly destroyed the Service. That paragraph is the $54 billion requirement to prefund retireeís health benefits at the rate of $5.4 billion per year for 10 years. This is not a scoring issue or a paper chase. The Service must write a check for approximately $450 million per month to the federal government to pay down the debt. Everyone has read about the billion dollar losses and current lack of borrowing power of the Postal Service as a result of a well-intentioned bill that had unintended consequences which could mean the demise of the USPS.
It is not fair to blame all of the USPS issues on Congress. The Postal Service management and its unions deserve some of the blame as well. Poor management decisions over the years and some unrealistic union demands have also been responsible for a portion of this very serious problem.
The present Congress has an opportunity with bipartisan cooperation to change some of the elements of the 2006 PAEA and return the Service to a solvent entity once again. It is worthy to note that in the period from 1994 to 2006, the USPS retired nearly $13 billion in debt and saved the postal rate payers nearly $14 billion in costs while maintaining the best service and safety in its history. With some dynamic changes, the USPS can help our economy and ensure the Serviceís integrity for years to come. (cont)
Via APWU Western Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez:
Attached please find a news bulletin for our members to help educate them how the Staples CPU impacts them. There are many more impacts but, wanted to keep the message brief for now. Hopefully, our members can be educated, agitated and motivated to ďbuy inĒ to our struggle to maintain the peoples Post Office as a viable public service. After all it is- The UNITED STATES Postal Service.
Please forward, print and post as you deem proper. Eventually we will expand the picketing as the CPU expands. WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO LOSE THIS FIGHT! Thanks.
Staples SagaĖ ITíS ABOUT YOU! [pdf]
APWU Web News Article #011-14, Jan. 23, 2014
CA Locals Make the Rounds
Redwood Empire Area Local Secretary-
Treasurer Tracy Blakely (left) and President
David Ospital speak to a Staples manager.
APWU leaders in California recently finished visiting dozens of Staples Outlets near San Francisco to deliver the unionís message: Opening postal retail units staffed by non-USPS employees is a disservice to postal workers and the nationís mail service.
Members of the Redwood Empire Area Local paid calls to the office supply companyís outlets in San Rafael, Novato, Sonoma, and Ukiah to present letters to the store managers expressing the unionís disapproval of the companyís privatized postal staffing arrangement. ďOnly U.S. Postal Service postal employees are fully accountable to the public, and sworn to uphold the sanctity of the mail,Ē the letters said.
The APWU delegation making the visits included Redwood Empire Area Local President David Ospital, Executive Vice President Dave Swaney, Secretary-Treasurer Tracy Blakely, Clerk Craft Director Larcye Wright, and Tom Harm.
PMG blames Congress, APWU President and Congressman for keeping Saturday delivery - PostalReporter.com
January 23, 2014
In an effort to stem its massive losses, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has been pushing a bold move Ė cutting Saturday deliver permanently.
ďThe key thing is this. The Postal Service needs to make serious change,Ē says Donahoe. ďWe need to address a number of issues, six to five days of letter mail to save two billion dollars.Ē
The USPS is facing strong opposition, starting with the Postal Union. The newly elected president is rallying his membership to fight for Saturday service. [PR note: NALC is not putting up a fight to keep Saturday delivery?]
Then thereís Congress, which has the final say on any change in delivery and has repeatedly refused to allow the Postal Service to drop Saturday Service.
U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, who sits on the committee that funds the USPS, says ending Saturday delivery means the elimination of up to 30-thousand employees, many of those Asian, African-American, and Hispanic, who make up about 40 percent of all Postal Service employees.
Try, try again: Postal Service and mailers to appeal PRC ruling on exigent rate increase - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 23, 2014
According to a short article in yesterday's Federal Times, the Postal Service will file an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals today challenging the decision of the Postal Regulatory Commission regarding the exigent rate increase. The article also says that "the mailers alliance" will be appealing the PRC's ruling as well. There's no association with that name, so presumably that's a general reference to the group of mailers and mailers associations that will be joining in the suit.
The Postal Service's appeal comes as no surprise, and it was predicted here the day the PRC issued its ruling. That the mailers would appeal as well was harder to predict, since it seemed that they had come out on the better end of the decision. But immediately after the Commission granted the increase, the mailers started complaining and talking about a lawsuit, so it won't be surprising if the Federal Times is right and the mailers file an appeal today too.
Today is the day, though. The parties have 30 days in which to appeal a PRC decision in the courts, and today is the 30th day since the Commission issued its ruling back on Christmas Eve. In a two-to-one decision (with Commissioner Taub dissenting), the Commission determined that the Postal Service could raise rates by the 4.3 percent it had requested ó but only for about 18 months, not permanently. That fell considerably short of what the Postal Service was seeking, but it was still more than the mailers wanted to pay.
The Court of Appeals will probably take several months to make a decision. In the meantime, the rate increase will go into effect on January 26. Overall, rates will go up about 6 percent ó 1.7 percent for the "normal" increase under the price cap, plus 4.3 percent for the exigent increase.
USPS OIG Report Number NO-AR-14-002 [pdf]
Readiness for Package Growth Ė Processing Capacity
January 21, 2014
WHAT THE OIG FOUND:
The Postal Service has sufficient machine capacity to process all non-peak period package volume. It can process an average of about 29 million packages daily, which is more than sufficient to process the 24 million packages it receives. During the December peak period, the Postal Service augments its machine capacity with manual processing. The Postal Service does this to avoid having excess machine capacity and its associated costs for the other 11 months of the year. But, to meet anticipated package growth, the Postal Service could improve machine throughput by properly staffing machines and adjusting the mail arrival schedule.
WHAT THE OIG RECOMMENDED:
We recommended the vice president, Network Operations, ensure package processing equipment is adequately staffed, standardize package processing operations where feasible, and adjust mail arrival schedules as necessary.
Click Here for full report [pdf]
MTAC Open Session Presentation: Operations Update [pdf]
By Meghan J. Brennan, Chief Operating Officer
Released January 15, 2014
Network Rationalization Phase 1
Completed 176 Consolidations
2 Remaining Consolidations Will be Completed by Feb 1, 2014
7,995 Implementations Completed in FY 2013
Remaining 5,186 Will be Completed in FY 2014
As USPS Outsources the Counter, Will Ecommerce Packages Be Safe? - eCommerceBytes.com
January 21, 2014
In November, the U.S. Postal Service launched a Retail Partner Expansion Program pilot with Staples, an office-products chain-store. Under the pilot program, Staples sells postal products and services at select stores in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Georgia - including Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.
That means online sellers can go to a participating Staples store and mail packages 7 days a week with expanded hours. (The USPS won't necessarily pick up and process packages the day it is entered into the mail stream.) Here's how the USPS worded it in one of its press releases:
"The Staples retail store in Pittsburgh is one of the first locations to open a USPS counter for the convenience of mailing and shipping customers seeking an alternative location to conduct post office transactions."
While calling them "USPS counters," they'll actually be manned by USPS-trained Staples employees.
The union representing postal workers went on a media blitz last week to protest the move, stating that opening postal retail units staffed by non-USPS employees is a disservice to postal workers and the nation's mail service. Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, told CNN the union would be willing to support the program if it were staffed with United States Postal Service employees (it's not).
Going Postal published details of the partnership in a November article, revealing that the pilot program would end on September 30, 2014, at which point the program will be evaluated and may be expanded or discontinued. Going Postal described the mail classes offered through the Staples CPUs (Contract Postal Units), and said Staples would offer 5% Staples Rewards for the postage on packages paid for and shipped at its locations (but would offer no Rewards points for the sale of postage stamps).
The article (the best source for information about the program) also reveals the revenue model for Staples and said the USPS has previously (but unsuccessfully) attempted such CPU programs with national retailers including Sears.
Last week the APWU union delivered letters to managers of Staples stores across the country that read in part, "Only U.S. Postal Service postal employees are fully accountable to the public, and sworn to uphold the sanctity of the mail."
Janice Kelble, legislative director of the New Hampshire Postal Workers Union, told the Union Leader newspaper, "We are adamantly opposed to any efforts to replace decent postal jobs with non-union, low-wage, non-postal workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail."
And that gets to the root of what has some online sellers concerned.
A letter from an EcommerceBytes reader pointed to the convenience factor of the Staples CPUs, but brought up two concerns:
ē Would packages posted at Staples counters be as secure as packages handed over the counter at the Post Office?
ē And, "With Postal Service employees facing job losses, would there be a backlash in the form of intentional handling delays of packages left with Staples?"
A commentor on a Washington Post article about the USPS-Staples partnership wrote, "Do I want my precious mail handled by a minimum wage, "specially trained" Staples worker? Or do I want it protected by a Federal employee?"
At MLK Memorial: Postal workers protest against delivery in the dark
January 20, 2014
Click on image to enlarge
Congress wants delay in selling of historic post offices until federal report is completed - WashingtonPost.com
January 20, 2014
NEW YORK ó The U.S. Postal Service is facing entrenched resistance to its selling of historic post offices, with lawmakers inserting their call for a moratorium on the sales in the recently passed omnibus spending bill.
From California to Connecticut, communities have been opposing the sales, accusing the agency of ignoring federal preservation guidelines and not allowing enough time for public comment. ....
U.S. Postal Service placing Staples stores in middle of union battle? - PennLive.com
Protests, boycotts threatened
January 20, 2014
Could the opening of U.S. Postal Service retail centers in dozen of Staples office supply stores around the country deliver unwanted union protests to a shopping center near you? The American Postal Workers Union, already under siege by cuts to the money-losing mail service, is threatening to fight back against putting Postal Service retail centers in Staples stores. And union officials say protests and boycotts of participating Staples stores are possible.
And the reason for the unionís ire? The new Postal Service outlets inside Staples would be staffed by Staples employees, not postal workers. And labor officials say this move replaces well-paying union jobs with low-wage, nonunion workers. All this, according to the Associated Press.
Postal Service explains increase in headquarters staffing - FederalTimes.com
January 20, 2014
As FedLine recently reported, official U.S. Postal Service statistics showed that the career employee headcount fell in almost all segments of its workforce from 2009 through 2013, with USPS headquarters being the one exception. FedLine asked the Postal Service for comment on that point on Jan. 3; the agency responded this past Friday. Here is the full statement provided by USPS spokeswoman Patricia Licata; it has also been added to the original FedLine post.
ďThe Postal Service reductions in career employees were equally felt across both management and craft ranks. While the specific headquarters number has increased slightly, it cannot be viewed in isolation. Efficient management is about effectively allocating resources, and throughout this period, we have eliminated, shifted, streamlined and consolidated work across various functions, including human resources, customer relations, operations and finance, and across various levels, including local, district, area and headquarters.
ďFor example, the centralization of HR transactional work from the local and district level to the HQ level through an HR shared service center resulted in cost savings and operational efficiencies. Additionally, we have in-sourced work once performed by contractors in the form of three call centers, which has improved our customer service. Steps have been taken within the management ranks as in the craft ranks to efficiently allocate resources and cut costs while maintaining the highest level of service and customer satisfaction.
ďBased on our integrated management approach, the appropriate way to view these career reductions is to look at the headquarters, headquarters field support, inspection service, area offices, and professional administration and technical personnel in total, which has been reduced by 17% over this period. The second level of management, including postmaster/installation heads and supervisors/managers was reduced by 21% over this period. In total, the management ranks over this period had a 21% reduction, which is commensurate with overall craft reductions.Ē
Postal Service, union wrangle over Staples outlets - Boston.com
January 19, 2014
Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union poses for a photo at their Washington
headquarters, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON (AP) ó The opening of Postal Service retail centers in dozens of Staples stores around the country is being met with threats of protests and boycotts by the agencyís unions.
The new outlets are staffed by Staples employees, not postal workers, and labor officials say that move replaces good-paying union jobs with low-wage, nonunion workers. "Itís a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services," said Mark Dimondstein, president of the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union.
The dispute comes as the financially struggling Postal Service continues to form partnerships with private companies, and looks to cut costs and boost revenues. The deal with Staples began as a pilot program in November at 84 stores in California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania as a way make it easier for customers to buy stamps, send packages or use Priority and certified mail.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the program has nothing to do with privatization and everything to do with customer service and driving up demand for the agencyís products. "The privatization discussion is a ruse," Donahoe said in an interview. "We have no interest in privatizing the Postal Service. We are looking to grow our business to provide customer convenience to postal products."
Staples spokeswoman Carrie McElwee referred questions about union concerns to the Postal Service. She said the company "continually tests new products and services to better meet the needs of our customers."
Union leaders fear that if the Staples program is successful, the Postal Service will want to expand it to more than 1,500 of the companyís other stores. That could siphon work and customers away from nearby brick-and-mortar post offices, taking jobs from postal workers and even leading traditional post offices to close. ...
...Back in 1988, the Postal Service tried a similar plan to put retail units in Sears stores in Chicago and Madison, Wis. APWU members picketed Sears headquarters in Chicago, mailed thousands of letters of protest to then Sears Chairman Ed Brennan and even cut up their Sears credit cards.
The pressure worked and a year later the program ended, with Sears saying it did not want to be at the center of a dispute between the Postal Service and the union. But the APWUís membership now is almost half of what it was 25 years ago, and unions donít carry the same clout they once did.
Dimondstein, who took the helm of his union in November and pledges a more activist approach, insists his members will bring considerable pressure on Staples. "I think we have a lot of clout," he said. "Weíre in every hamlet, town, city and state in the country."
Related: APís Hananel Weakly Covers Unionís Threats Against USPS-Staples Retail Partnership - BizzyBlog.com
From 1989: Postal Service Eyes New Outlets - ChicagoTribune.com
Canadian Postal workers to host forum on coming service changes - News1130.com
People concerned about the cut-backs are invited to a meeting on Tuesday evening
January 19, 2014
"Postal workers are inviting you to take your anger and concerns to a town hall meeting in Surrey this Tuesday. Theyíre hoping if enough people say ďnoĒ Canada Post will reverse its controversial decision. That decision will see the phase out of door-to-door delivery service to five million Canadians.
Stephen Gale, with the Fraser Valley branch of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, says the big question is where new community mail boxes will be located."
How slowing down Standard Mail paves the way for ending Saturday delivery - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 19, 2014
The Postal Regulatory Commission is currently reviewing a request from the Postal Service to change delivery service standards for a large portion of Standard mail. The plan is to ďload levelĒ the heavy volume of mail that is normally delivered on Monday by delivering some of it on Tuesday. The plan has been presented as a way to "ease the burden" on processing and delivery operations, but documents released this week to the PRC indicate that the plan may have another purpose ó preparing the way for ending Saturday delivery.
In the Request [pdf], the Postal Service explains the rationale for the plan this way: ďBy changing the service standard for DSCF Standard Mail, the Postal Service can adjust operations in a manner that will level the load of the DSCF Standard Mail that it delivers throughout the week, thereby removing the disproportionate burden associated with Monday Standard Mail delivery that is currently placed on the Postal Service network.Ē
47% Of All Jobs Will Be Automated By 2034, And 'No Government Is Prepared' Says Economist - HuffingtonPost.co.uk
January 17, 2014
"Those conclusions are echoed elsewhere. Another study, released on 17 January by Aruba Networks, points out just how fast traditional working models are changing.
It says that 72% of British people now believe they work more efficiently at home, and that 63% need a WiFi network to complete their tasks - not bad for a technology that was barely standardised 10 years ago.
Meanwhile in 'The Second Machine Age', out this week, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee argue workers are under unprecedented pressure by the automation of skilled and unskilled jobs."
Amazon Just Patented Shipping Items Before They're Even Ordered - HuffingtonPost.com
January 18, 2014
Click on image to enlarge
Late last month, Amazon patented a process they've termed "anticipatory package shipping," in which products would be sent to fulfillment centers near the customers most likely to purchase them, before customers even order them.
In a bit of "Minority Report" meets Wal-Mart, the online retail giant could feasibly ship items before they're actually purchased, filling in the relevant details -- like a buyer's address, for instance -- at a later date.
"The patent's examples illustrate a speculative shipment system that deploys goods to specific geographical areas," Engadget explains. "If a customer in that area places an order that matches a nearby package, it would then be redirected to its final destination."
Which means the complete box-set of Monty Python's Flying Circus isn't going to arrive on your doorstep unannounced. It does mean, however, that Amazon may shuffle the product to a distribution center nearer you for faster fulfillment when you inevitably succumb to your love of British comedy and hit the "checkout" button.
Of course, Amazon wouldn't ship items ahead of time in the absence of clear demand for the product. To assess that demand, reports the Wall Street Journal, factors like a customer's previous orders, product searches, wish lists, returns and shopping cart data would all be taken into account. Shoppers who linger over an item with their mouse cursor may also attract Amazon's attention.
The anticipatory shipping is the latest development from Amazon that feels straight out of the future. In December, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Amazon Prime Air on "60 Minutes," a fleet of delivery drones that could be available within 4 to 5 years.
Forever Stamp-ede: Consumers May Hoard Stamps This Week But Stop Buying Next Year - Dead Tree Edition Blog
January 19, 2014
"This weekís stamp-ede should provide a nice cash infusion for the unprofitable USPS, which has come perilously close to running short of cash at times. By the same token, consumers are likely to hold off on buying Forever Stamps in 2015 as the exigent increase nears expiration.
The Postal Service will have difficulty figuring out how such fluctuations in the demand for Forever Stamps will affect its long-term finances. It can only guess at how many Forever Stamps have been purchased but not used. In fact, USPS realized last year that its guess was too high, resulting in a $1.3 billion favorable accounting adjustment."
UPS charged $186 to take boxes to post office - AZFamily.com
January 18, 2014
"Hallman took the packages to a Valley UPS store in November and paid the company $186 for shipping.
Christmas came and went, and her family never received the packages.
Hallman said she received a stunning response when she asked the world's largest shipping company what happened.
"They're telling me that they take the boxes from their store and drop it off at the post office, and then that's basically the end of it for them," she said."
Postal problems - MinotDailyNews.com
Christmas mail swamped area post offices
January 18, 2014
WATFORD CITY There was a belated Christmas party for the Watford City community at their post office Thursday night.
Karen Fredrickson, marketing and outreach manager for the U.S. Postal Service, said the office scheduled an open house and invited people to stop by to see if any of more than 200 undeliverable parcels might belong to them.
Fredrickson explained that the post office became overwhelmed in December by the volume of packages and had been holding undeliverable mail rather than immediately returning it. The postal service decided to hold the open house to try to locate as many recipients as possible before making the returns.
Canada Post should deliver service, not profits - TheTelegram.com
January 18, 2014
At some point in the next three to five years, Iím going to lose my door-to-door postal service. Sympathy for my loss may be hard to come by. Still, as users of the postal service, we should be concerned with Canada Postís plans.
Postal service continues to work on delivery issues - MinotDailyNews.com
January 18, 2014
Although troubles with mail delivery have eased in Minot and parts of northwestern North Dakota over the past year, the U.S. Postal Service continues to work on nagging issues that might only be resolved with more staffing.
Finding and retaining employees has been difficult, but the postal service has had some success, said Karen Fredrickson, marketing manager for the U.S. Postal Service in Sioux Falls, S.D. Since June 2013, the postal service has hired 161 employees to fill vacancies or new positions in western North Dakota.
Fredrickson is managing an outreach program in northwestern North Dakota, set up by the postal service to address mail-delivery frustrations that peaked in oil patch communities a year ago. Late, returned and undelivered mail were common complaints, particularly in Williams and McKenzie counties.
Going postal: when tragedy becomes a business - PeoplesWorld.org
January 17, 2014
Turns out Goin' Postal is listed as one of the worst franchises to buy (according to UnhappyFranchisee.com). One opened up in a neighboring town and lasted about a year before it shut its doors. This one in Royal Oak opened up about a block north of a well-established UPS store that offers basically the same services. There has been talk of picketing the store but that would only bring some undeserved attention in my mind. I truly believe the good citizens of this town will make the right decision and spend their money where it is deserved to be spent. They did so after the tragedy of Nov. 14, 1991. Our post office patrons returned two days after the shooting to buy their stamps and send their packages. It helped to heal the wound and bring our town back to sanity. That, in a perfect world, would be the true meaning of "going postal."
USPS denies Canada Post claims over international registered mail - PostAndParcel.info
January 17, 2014
The US Postal Service has insisted it is scanning and obtaining signatures for inbound international registered mail, after Canada Post complained that it was not.
Canada Post issued a statement this week announcing that it has suspended its Registered Mail (USA) service, effective 13th January 2014, because items ďmay not be scanned and a signature at delivery may not be obtainedĒ after they arrive in the US.
The suspension came, Canada Post said, because USPS had changed the way it handles Registered Mail from other countries Ė processing them within the First Class Mail stream.
Canada Post also claimed that the number of claims for lost or undelivered items from its Registered Mail (USA) service had increased ďsignificantlyĒ following the changes.
It said of the suspension of its service: ďThe suspension will remain in place until Canada Post is confident that the service performance of USPS has improved enough to offer the Registered Mail (USA) service to its customers once again.Ē
Thinking inside the PO Box - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 17, 2014
On January 26, postage rates are going up ó about 6 percent across the board, which means a First Class stamp will go from 46 to 49 cents. But there's another rate increase going into effect on that day, and it hasn't gotten much attention.
Three weeks ago, deep in the back of the December 26 issue of Postal Bulletin (on page 69), the Postal Service announced that it was raising the fees on post office boxes at some of its post offices. Depending on the size of the box and the fee group, the new rental prices for a six-month period will range from $16 to $625.
The new fees are within a range previously approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission back in December 2011, so they do not need any additional approval, and the Postal Service simply informed the PRC of the new fees in a letter on December 27.
Raising rates on boxes at just some post offices is actually a relatively recent event. Historically, box rates were considered market-dominant products and subject to rate caps. That changed a couple of years ago, though, when some 6,800 postal facilities were classified as ďCompetitive Post Offices.Ē At these offices, the Postal Service could charge higher fees than at its ďregularĒ post offices. The Postal Service also added some service enhancements for these competitive boxes.
The issues surrounding fees for PO boxes are rather arcane, and the story of how the PO boxes at some offices came to be categorized as competitive is not likely to make headlines. But PO boxes are an important part of the postal infrastructure, and what happens to them is inextricably tied to whatís happening to the rest of the Postal Service infrastructure of post offices, processing plants, historic buildings, vehicles, and workforce. To understand the significance of what's going on with PO boxes, it helps to start with a little history.
APWU Web News Article #009-14, Jan. 17, 2014
Union Delivers the Message At Bay Area Staples Stores
APWU leaders in California recently delivered the unionís message to 13 Staples stores in the San Francisco Bay area: Opening postal retail units staffed by non-USPS employees is a disservice to postal workers and the nationís mail service.
The postal counter at a Staples store in
An APWU delegation covered a lot of ground on Jan. 14, paying visits to the office-supply retail chainís outlets in Berkeley, El Cerrito, Pinole, Pittsburg, Antioch, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Napa, San Ramon, Sean Leandro, Fairfield, and two locations in Freemont.
At each location the group hand-delivered a letter to the store manager expressing the unionís disapproval of the companyís privatized postal staffing arrangement. ďOnly U.S. Postal Service postal employees are fully accountable to the public, and sworn to uphold the sanctity of the mail,Ē the letter said.
The APWU officers included East Bay Area Local President Stephen Lysaght, Vice President Lisa Herrera and Legislative Director Al Ross, as well as National Business Agents Shirley Taylor, Chuck Locke and Jimmie Waldon.
The APWU delegation was ďreceived and treated cordially at all stores except Berkeley,Ē they reported. In Berkeley, where there has been a great deal of community opposition to USPS efforts to sell the historic post office, Staplesí acting manager greeted the APWU delegation warily and refused to discuss the matter.
Staplesí selling postal products without USPS workers stirs fears of privatization - WashingtonPost.com
January 16, 2014
ďOur goal,Ē Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in an interview, ďis to provide universal access to products and services, and if we can do that through agreements with companies like Staples . . . we need to do that. . . . It gives us an opportunity to grow the business.Ē
Thatís cool, as far as the American Postal Workers Union is concerned, but why not have postal employees work those counters in Staples? ďI canít dictate to Staples what their hiring policies should be,Ē said Donahoe, who is chief executive of the Postal Service.
But canít USPS say it wants a postal employee to sell postal products at a postal counter in Staples? ďIt would never be my intention to do that,Ē he said. ďThatís their business. . . . Thatís their call.Ē
Itís the wrong call, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said.
APWU Web News Article #008-14, Jan. 16, 2014
State AFL-CIO Federations to Staples: Postal Workers and Customers Deserve Better
Local union leaders are winning allies for the unionís campaign against a pilot program that placed postal retail centers in more than 80 Staples stores, reports Northeast Region Coordinator John Dirzius.
Alternatives to the Post Office: Expanded Access in FY 2013 - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 16, 2014
The APWU is currently sending delegations to Staples stores in their communities to meet with store managers to protest the postal counters that have been installed at 82 stores, with plans for more. After the visits, the APWU plans to organize a day of action at Staples stores around the country, followed by sustained actions at a number of stores where postal retail units have opened.
Putting these contract postal units ó or ďmini post offices,Ē as theyíre being called ó in Staples is a threat not just to union jobs but to brick-and-mortar post offices in general. It represents the latest initiative by the Postal Service to get rid of post offices ó something it's been wanting to do for a long time, due largely to encouragement from a variety of sources. ....
APWU Web News Article #006-14, Jan. 16, 2014
Staples Controversy: Illinois Local Delivers the Message
Postal workers in Springfield IL delivered a letter to the cityís Staples franchise on Jan. 14 voicing opposition to the retail chainís plans for opening pilot postal retail units staffed by non-USPS employees in more than 80 Staple stores.
Postal Service shreds misdirected Imagination Library books - TimesNews.net
January 15, 2014
...ďIt has been a year-long process where the post office would no longer allow volunteers to pick up books,Ē said Theresa Carl, president of Governorís Books from Birth Foundation, a partner with Imagination Library. ďSince 2008, the post office would allow volunteers to pick up the books and we would change the address so books wouldnít be sent to the wrong address.Ē
Once the books were picked up, volunteers would try to deliver the books to the owners or donate them to places that served children.
The USPS said setting the books aside was a service it was not being paid for and therefore had to stop.
ďThe Postal Service appreciates Imagination Libraryís business and acknowledges its service to the community,Ē David Walton, USPS corporate communications spokesman said in an emailed statement. ďHowever, the Postal Service cannot offer a free service to one organization when other organizations and businesses are paying for the same services.Ē ....
PRC's Goldway Tells What Was Behind the Exigency Decision - DMNews.com
January 15, 2014
On December 24, 2013, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved an exigent increase that shot postal rates up 6% and sent direct mail marketers and their accountants back to their strategic models and financial forecasts to remake plans for 2014. Mailers had hoped the PRC would soften the blow with a lower percentage increase and were disappointed by the Commission's ultimate decision to give USPS the rate it asked for.
To learn more about what was behind the PRC's decision, Direct Marketing News spoke with Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation. ....
Our Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Brothers and Sisters are in a situation similar to the USPS downsizing agenda:
Canada Post carriers, clerks deliver resignations ahead of cuts - Canoe.ca
January 15, 2014
MONTREAL - Canada Postís decision to stop delivering mail to Canadiansí doors has prompted many carriers to quit, often just a few years short of retirement, QMI Agency has learned.
Resignation letters from carriers and post-office workers suggest the cuts announced late last year have shattered morale among some workers at the Crown corporation.
Montreal-based post office clerk Pier Alberto Pierini quit Canada Post on Dec. 23 after eight years on the job.
ďSavage restructuring of branches cuts off customer service and it puts more pressure on employees,Ē he wrote in his resignation letter.
ďMy office has become unhealthy and inhumane over time.Ē
Canada Post announced last month that it will be phasing out door-to-door delivery in favour of community mailboxes as it faces hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.
APWU Web News Article #005-14, Jan. 15, 2014
NJ Local Doesn't Just 'Mail it In'
Store Manager Juan Soto listens as
Local President Dennis Bowie explains
the unionís position and presents a letter
of protest. Looking on are Executive
Vice President Barbara Quigley, and
Retiree Jack W. Dougherty.
The North Jersey Area Local sent a delegation to the Staples store in Totowa on Jan. 14 to express the unionís displeasure with the pilot that establishes postal counters in more than 80 stores in four areas ó California, Atlanta, Central Massachusetts and Pittsburgh.
Related: Staples to Provide Postal Services - January 15, 2014 - LaborPress.org
Neither rain... nor contract - JHNewsAndGuide.com
January 15, 2014
Postal workers may brave rain and snow to complete their appointed rounds but they canít fight a bad contract. Thatís what hundreds of Jackson residents are fuming about as Jacksonís postal mess finally got a hearing in front of Jackson Town Council members last week. The council responded to a petition. A pregnant woman helped start it after she broke down at a post office counter when a special pillow she ordered to help her sleep was sent back for lack of a post office box number.
Residents have learned that packages received for delivery to post office boxes are routinely returned if addresses on them donít include a box number. The problem in Jackson begins with contracts the post office here has with United Parcel Service and FedEx. Those call for the post office to deliver packages ďthe last mile.Ē In Jackson, because there is no home delivery, that means putting packages, or notices thereof, in individualsí and businessesí post office boxes. The post office likes the contracts. Under financial strain, the U.S. Postal Service welcomes deals that bring in money. ....
Suspension of Registered Mail (USA) Service - CanadaPost.ca
January 13, 2014
Recently, the United States Postal Service (USPS) changed the way it handles Registered Mail received from other countries. The items are now processed in the First Class mail stream once they arrive in the U.S. This change has resulted in the following:
ē Registered Mail (USA) items may not be scanned and a signature at delivery may not be obtained.
ē The number of claims for lost or undelivered Registered Mail (USA) has increased significantly.
As a result of these issues, Canada Post is suspending the Registered Mail (USA) service effective January 13, 2014. The suspension does not apply to Registered Mail sent within Canada or to International destinations.
The suspension will remain in place until Canada Post is confident that the service performance of USPS has improved enough to offer the Registered Mail (USA) service to its customers once again.
Staples-USPS Partnership Causing Controversy - WICS.com
January 14, 2014
Some Staples stores are going postal. But union members with the cash-strapped United States Postal Service aren't happy about the ins and outs of the decision.
More than 80 Staples locations across the country will soon have postal counters where people can take their mail and use other USPS services. But as of now, those counters won't be staffed by USPS employees. Instead, they'll be staffed by Staples employees. That, union members say, is a problem.
"They're taking a risk that it could be lost, that they could just not care when it gets delivered," James O'Connell of the American Postal Workers Union said. "They could put it somewhere else. I mean, there's a safety issue here, and that's what the qualified postal employees are all about, is protecting the mail."
The union president of Lincoln Land Area 239 delivered a letter to Staples in Springfield today, voicing the unions' concerns.
There are not any confirmed postal counters opening at Staples stores in Illinois, but that is a possibility if the pilot program is successful.
We reached out to Staples for their take on the controversy, but never heard back.
How the Omnibus Spending Bill Cripples the Post Office - Slate.com
January 14, 2014
The United States Postal Service is a large and complicated government agency, and discussions of postal policy and the details of USPS budgeting can get very complex and detailed. But from 50,000 feet up there's no real mystery hereóAmericans in 2014 do not rely on first class mail to the same extent as we did in 1994 or 1974.
If the volume of mail were to suddenly double, common sense would say the Postal Service should hire lots of new people and open new facilities and expand service. Instead the volume of mail has been sliding, so common sense says the Postal Service should shed staff via attrition and reduce service.
Instead, the omnibus spending agreement reached by congressional appropriators last night includes specific language requiring the USPS to continue delivering the mail on Saturdays and prohibiting it from closing rural post offices. Now if Congress had decided to appropriate money to keep rural post offices open, I would say that's a not-so-smart use of tax revenue. Then again, a lot of tax revenue is used on not-so-smart schemes to subsidize rural America. But Congress in its wisdom has not delivered any money. The Postal Service continues to be required to operate with an independent budget and to account for its pension obligations in an onerous way. It's just that it's also not allowed to decide which cuts to make in response to revenue shortfalls. Congress over-represents rural areas, anti-spending small government Republicans love big government spending on subsidies for rural life (here's some bipartisanship from South Dakota's senators), and regulatory mandates on the Postal Service have hidden rather than transparent costs and so on it goes.
This isn't the biggest deal in the world. At the same time, the structural decline of first class mail is not going to turn around. Eventually something will have to be done. So I will once again push my preferred solution of privatizing the Postal Service as a worker-owned cooperative, which would then be allowed to manage its affairs as it sees fit.
Rural communities that want to maintain a level of postal service that doesn't make financial sense could contract with the company to pay for it.
Rate hike will harm postal service - TheHill.com
January 14, 2014
"We all want to see the agency get back on its feet and regain financial health. But a sustainably strong Postal Service must be one that is able to maintain universal services while keeping rates competitive.
To that end, the Greeting Card Association has put together a set of commonsense solutions that will permanently strengthen the structural integrity of the agency, helping it improve efficiency and productivity and ultimately leading to increases in revenue.
First, the Postal Service should immediately begin the installation of cluster boxes wherever feasible, while abandoning politically divisive proposals to end services like Saturday delivery.
Second, as the only federal agency required by Congress to pre-fund its retireesí health benefits 100 percent within 10 years, the Postal Service needs steps taken to reform this unprecedented funding requirement and unreasonable timetable.
Third, the Postal Service should assess the cost savings achieved by the implementation of the first two steps over the balance of this year. If a determination is reached that more deficit reductions are needed, it can develop an additional plan that draws from any of the 53 remaining proposals available under the authority of its existing management without congressional action or union negotiation."
Going Postal - ScreenMag.com
January 13, 2014
"A few years ago, I did some casting for the United States Postal Service. A campaign was being written that would feature interesting postal workers in the United States. So I hired a crew and the agency flew postal workers into a hotel near OíHare and interviewed postal workers from the Midwest. I approached each postal worker as I would approach a CEO of a big corporation. I needed to find people with vibrant personalities and interesting stories to tell. As far as I am concerned, I think everyone has at least one interesting story to tell. And the thing that stood out to me was how complicated being a postal worker can be. ..."
"They were all very well-trained. Everyone took pride in their job. I gained a new respect for postal workers after I did those interviews. Personally, I ship everything USPS. Itís the best deal around. ...."
Why the U.S. Postal Service Can Win the Battle for the Same-Day Delivery Market - Forbes.com
January 14, 2014
"Logistical problems ó even without Amazonís promised used of drones ó remain to be worked out. Googleís fleet consists of about 5o Priuses. EBay also uses small cars, and recently bought Shutl, a U.K.-based provider of same-day delivery. FedEx and UPS, of course, already have huge numbers of vans on the streets.
But the Postal Service might be in the best position to fulfill the physical requirements of same-day service, according to Whitehouse. ĒStarting around 4 p.m., it has vehicles largely sitting in parking lots,Ē he said. Google and eBay, by contrast, have had to invest in cars and staff their fleets with new hires.
In addition to its existing fleet and experience in reaching every residential address, the Postal Service is not tied to any particular seller. ĒIt has the ability to be a player whenever this market opens up,Ē Whitehouse said."
APWU Web News Article #004-14, Jan. 14, 2014
Charlotte Local Heeds the Call
APWU members Venus Abaoag-Smith and Roy Gernhardt
look on as Local President LeRoy Moyer discusses
the issue with Assistant Manager Mindy Press.
Members of the Charlotte (NC) Area Local visited three Staples stores on Jan. 14, to deliver letters protesting the establishment of postal retail units staffed by low-wage, non-union, non-postal workers.
Managers of two of the stores seemed to be aware that a group might be coming, reports Local President LeRoy Moyer, but the manager of the third store didnít seem to be expecting them. The managers at two of the stores accepted the letters and agreed to pass the letter up to the district level, but the third manager was unwelcoming and didnít engage in any real discussion, Moyer said.
Many locals are organizing delegations. If your local sends a delegation, please send photos and a brief report.
Fewer Jobs, Longer Wait Times: The New Postal Service Slogan? - GovExec.com
January 13, 2014
Jobs at the U.S. Postal Service will disappear at a faster clip over the next eight years than in any other labor sector, according to an analysis from the Labor Department.
In its 2014-2015 Occupational Outlooks Handbook, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics identified three separate USPS categories that will see a workforce reduction of more than 26 percent by 2022, the three largest declines of the nearly 600 positions from different sectors included in the projections. Total employment for Postal Service clerks will drop by 32 percent by 2022, BLS predicted, marking the largest decrease, followed by Postal Service mail sorters, processors, processing machine operators and mail carriers.
In total, Postal Service jobs will decline 28 percent by 2022 -- a reduction of more than 139,000 jobs. That analysis was based on 2012 data, when USPS employed 491,600 employees.
The Postal Service has aggressively used buyout and early retirement incentives to reduce its workforce during the last several years as part of a larger effort to better align its network with declining mail volumes. It shed 37,400 jobs in fiscal 2013 alone, and has cut more than 200,000 jobs in the last several years. Most of the cuts that BLS anticipated may come sooner rather than later; Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said he plans to shed an additional 100,000 jobs by 2017. At that point, the agency hopes to once again begin hiring. ....
Postal Service proposes changing environmental regulations on post office disposals - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 13, 2014
The Postal Service has proposed a revision of federal regulations that would help it avoid going through an extensive environmental review process when disposing of postal properties like post offices. The Postal Service wants to make things easier because it has many more sales planned for the future. As the posting in the Federal Register says today, ďThe Postal Service anticipates that the frequency of property disposals will persist or increase in the foreseeable future.Ē
In the Interim Rule published today in the Federal Register, the Postal Service requests comments on proposed changes to 39 CFR Part 775, the section of the federal regulations that deals with National Environmental Policy Act Procedures.
The changes may seem relatively minor, and the Postal Service states that it does not believe ďthe proposed revision should be significant or controversial.Ē But nothing could be further from the truth: The proposed changes are extremely significant, and they will be the source of considerable controversy and opposition.
The changes are clearly intended to avoid the kind of problems the Postal Service encountered trying to dispose of the historic post office in Stamford, Connecticut, where the sale was challenged in federal court by the National Post Office Collaborate, the Center for Art and Mindfulness, and a Stamford resident. That sale was blocked, and it is still being held up, precisely because the court found that the Postal Service had failed to follow its own NEPA requirements. Now the Postal Service wants to revise the language governing these requirements so that this doesnít happen again.
Rural post offices finding a way - MansfieldNewsJournal.com
Postal cutbacks have been hardest on smallest offices
January 12, 2014
ďRural people are going to suffer the most,Ē Thomas Gamble, president of the Ohio Rural Letter Carriersí Association, said. ďTheyíre targeting the rurals over everyone else, and rural customers can least afford to have their business cut. In some cases in farm country you have to travel 18 to 20 miles to get to a post office.Ē
Locally, the Postal Service is about halfway through implementation of its eight-year-old Post Plan, which will impact rural post offices in Richland and Crawford counties substantially. ....
Sale of historic Bronx Post Office moves forward; bids due Jan. 1 - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 12, 2014
"The DC court may one day have something to say about the Bronx post office, but by then, the building will probably have been sold and the Postal Service will be renovating the space on the new post office for the neighborhood."
Rally & March for Safe Delivery
Monday - January 20th - Martin Luther King Day
Starts MLK Memorial, 5:30pm
Click on image to enlarge
Flyer Link: Rally & March for Safe Delivery [pdf]
Facebook Link: Rally & March for Safe Delivery
Canada Post and its CEO apologize for delivery delays - TheStar.com
January 10, 2014
"Chopra, who was appointed to a five-year term in 2011, earns between $422,500 to $497,100, and has the possibility of receiving a bonus of up to 33 per cent of his salary. He has been the driving force behind Canada Postís transformation plans, which include hiking the price of stamps and ending door-to-door delivery in older urban areas.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers accuses Canada Post of causing undue stress for workers, and of not replenishing its lists of casual employees."
FedEx Ground Plans $175 Million Massive Distribution Center in Lehigh Valley - MultiHousingNews.com
January 10, 2014
Just before the end of 2013 a large shipping company submitted plans for a 1.3-million-square-foot package sorting center in Allen Township, in Pennsylvaniaís Lehigh Valley region. The project was filed with the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission by Moon Township, PA-based FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of the FedEx Corporation that serves businesses and retailers delivering merchandise to customers in no more than five days.
The Morning Call reports that the FedEx Ground ďmegahubĒ could generate more than 800 new jobs in Allen Township and a $25 million private investment in infrastructure improvements. Furthermore, the distribution center would be able to process roughly 15,000 packages per hour that will be brought by trucks from across the region. The entire process of unloading the packages and sorting them by ZIP code and type of freight could be completed within minutes from the arrival, so that the packages could be reloaded and delivered more quickly throughout the United States and Canada. ....
Delivery after dark: Postal Service presents data showing big increase in carriers out after 5:00 - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 11, 2014
Yesterday the Postal Service published data showing what letter carriers have been complaining about for a long time: More and more of them are out on the street after dark. Since 2005, the percentage of carriers out after 5:00 p.m. has gone from less than 20 percent to over 40 percent.
The numbers were produced as part of the request filed by the Postal Service with the Postal Regulatory Commission concerning a proposed change in service standards on some Standard mail. The Postal Service wants to ďload levelĒ the mail and deliver on Tuesday mail that would have normally been delivered on Monday. That would help lighten the work of carriers on Monday, the busiest day of the week. (There's more on the request here.)
In order to justify the proposed change, the Postal Service included in its testimony [pdf] the following chart. Its purpose is to show that the percentage of carriers out after 5:00 on Mondays is much greater than the rest of the week. The red line shows Monday; the blue line shows the average for all seven days of the week.
The PRCís Public Representative asked the Postal Service to provide the data on which this chart was based, and thatís the data set published on Friday. Weíve put the spreadsheet on Google Docs here. (Itís USPS-LR-10 in Docket N2014-1, and it's on the PRC website here.)
The chart and the data do show that Monday is a long day for carriers, and many more of them are out after 5:00 on Monday than any other day of the week.
But the chart and data show something else as well. The percentage of carriers still on their routes after 5:00 has increased significantly over the past three years. ....
Fix My Mail: How is Your Postal Service Working For You? - Heitkamp.Senate.gov
Fix My Mail is a grassroots effort to hear stories from North Dakotans who have encountered delayed mail delivery times or are dealing with other problems with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Senator Heitkamp has heard too many concerns from North Dakotans about the problems they face getting their mail on time, and it absolutely needs to be fixed. So letís talk about it.
Please fill out the below form with your story. You can also go on Facebook or Twitter and use #FixMyMail to tell your story. And please encourage others you know who have faced problems with their mail service and standards to join the effort.
Senator Heitkamp is also asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the postal service standards that customers experience and if that matches with what USPS is reporting. Weíre hearing about terrible delivery times from North Dakotans, but USPS is saying service standards are mostly met. That doesnít add up. Senator Heitkampís office will gather these stories and send them to USPS so they can hear the stories firsthand, and send them to GAO to help with the study. No personal information will be shared with the USPS or GAO, only the stories.
North Dakotans Express Postal Service Concerns - KXNet.com
Senator Heidi Heitkamp meets with officials in Dickinson to discuss challenges the United States Postal Service face in our state.
January 10, 2014
Concerns with the postal service are on the rise and federal cutbacks continue to threaten services--especially in rural areas.
Heitkamp has heard complaints from many North Dakotans about delays in the mail service.
Small communities fear their rural service is also at risk...
Curtis Feland is a resident of Almont, North Dakota and has received his mail right in town his whole life.
"Being able to mail letters and that here has been just as handy as it can get. I don't have to have a mailbox in the middle of nowhere and packages sitting out in the weather or you know anything like that," says Curtis Feland, Almont Resident.
"Even if you could do online shopping, you get the mail and I do a lot of online shopping because I don't get to go to Bismarck a lot and so it comes in here and it's - instead of traveling 15 minutes to go pick up a package, I can travel two minutes downtown," says Heather McManus, Almont Resident.
Heitkamp says she's working to improve the current postal situation in our state and is working to make sure rural services are protected.
Postal Service Bypasses Union Workers in Deal with Staples - AllGov.com
January 10, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has angered the union representing its employees by opening more than 80 retail post offices in Staples stores that will be manned by the companyís workers, not USPS ones.
The deal with Staples, which was concluded last October, is a pilot project by the Postal Service to create a ďone-stop shoppingĒ experience for customers. Depending on how the Staples experiment goes, USPS officials may expand the program with other retailers.
But the effort has upset the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which is threatening to stage demonstrations later this month.
ďThis is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,Ē APWUís President Mark Dimondstein said in a union newsletter in November. ďThe APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail. Postal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.Ē
The agreement between Staples and USPS allows the retailer to use its own employees. This decision didnít come as a surprise to outsiders, considering that 78% of the Postal Serviceís costs are employee-related (salaries and benefits).
Setting up small postal units in retail locations has become something of a trend for USPS, as use of mail has declined due to widespread use of email and social networking. Postal clerks are also finding themselves being phased out of their counter jobs in post offices as the agency replaces them with automated self-service machines.
The Postal Service responded to the unionís complaint by saying it respects the right of its employees to protest. But it did not offer any conciliation.
ďThe U.S. Postal Service recognizes and respects the right of its employees to exercise their First Amendment rights,Ē Darlene Reid-DeMeo, an agency spokeswoman, told Government Executive. ďPostal Service employees who choose to participate in picketing activities must do so while off-duty and abide by all local laws regarding public gatherings.Ē
APWU says it will first meet with Staples store managers by January 18 to express its concerns. If a solution cannot be reached, union officials intend to proceed with the demonstrations.
Click Here for more information on Staples - APWU.org
New England Views: At rural post offices, a steady erosion of service - ConcordMonitor.com
January 10, 2014
"The steady erosion of postal services in rural regions may seem inevitable. But if residents are displeased about current plans, we urge them to attend meetings scheduled to discuss the changes afoot. Notices will be delivered to residents according to ZIP code, and the meeting schedule is available through the USPS website by searching for ďPost Plan.Ē Widespread dissatisfaction with the original plan to close many rural post offices forced the Postal Service to think again. Users arenít likely to have too much sway now, but they should make their objections known nonetheless. If Congress isnít going to save the post office from irrelevance Ė or cancellation Ė the people who use it should at least speak up."
Keyless Parcel Lockers - January 7, 2014 - FBO.gov
Solicitation Number: 3D-14-A-0065
Agency: United States Postal Service
Office: Supplies and Services Purchasing
Location: Mail Equipment Portfolio
"The USPS is seeking suppliers and sources for a planned program for the manufacture and installation of electronic keyless parcel lockers for indoor retail environments. Potential sources must have the ability to provide a keyless parcel locker solution that is flexible (expandable/reconfigured), easy to install or assemble as applicable, secure, and provide technology that can easily adapt to Postal Service IT systems, and with a simple customer interface that can quickly be updated as technology changes."
Watchdog: Hiccups in mail delivery could be precursor of future - DallasNews.com
January 9, 2014
In recent years, USPS has closed some of its mail processing centers. Sometimes that causes an extra dayís delay. For Dallas residents, mail is still processed in Dallas and Coppell. But Waco residents arenít so lucky.
Wacoís mail processing center was closed a year ago. Mail is now transported to Coppell or Austin for processing before returning to Waco. That can add an extra day, according to a complaint filed by the American Postal Workers Union with the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The workforce has changed. As career employees retire or lose their jobs in consolidations, one-year temporary employees are hired. These workers have few benefits and make about half the salary of career workers.
The two types of workers hired are ďcity carrier assistantsĒ and ďpostal support employees.Ē After review, they are eligible to become full-time employees, Boyd told me. Currently, these workers donít earn sick leave. Nor do they receive health benefits in that first year.
Records show that in the vast Dallas district, 878 of these workers were hired in the past year.
Does the new workforce affect service quality? ďYou get what you pay for,Ē says Jennifer Fulbright, secretary-treasurer of the Dallas area postal workers union, Local 732, whose members are obviously antagonistic about the new setup.
ďA lot of these employees know they wonít be here and canít make a career of it,Ē she says. ďThe postal service just literally uses these people up, lets them go and brings in another group.Ē
Staples Accused Of Cutting Employee Hours Ahead Of Obamacare - BuzzFeed.com
January 9, 2014
Click on image to enlarge
Staples managers are now forbidden to schedule part-time associates for more than 25 hours a week, according to a Dec. 6 memo. A petition against the move is circulating saying the decision is based on the Affordable Care Act.
Staples is limiting the number of hours part-time associates can work to 25 hours a week, a move that has drawn the ire of disgruntled workers who claim it is a way to skirt impending rules requiring companies to provide health insurance for full-time employees or face a steep penalty.
Workers Deliver Protest Letters to Staples - LaborPress.org
January 10, 2014
New York, NYóPostal workers with the NY Metro Area Postal Union walked from their union offices to Staples on 35th Street Avenue to deliver protest letters to Staples management indicating they arenít happy with the stationary store hiring what they say are low-wage, non-union workers to work in the storesí postal units. ....
Postal workers to hold rally against delivery in the dark - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 9, 2014
On Monday, January 20, Martin Luther King Day, postal workers will hold
a rally and march in Washington DC to protest delivery in the dark.
WE DEMAND THAT POSTAL MANAGEMENT
*End Delivery in the Dark
*Start Letter Carriers Early
*Fully Staff Clerk and Carrier positions
*Adjust Overburdened Routes
*Re-open Mail Processing Plants
Facebook Link: March/Rally to End Delivery in the Dark!
Do UPS, FedEx Guarantee On-Time Delivery? Sometimes Not - MoneyTalksNews.com
January 7, 2014
...ďThe bottom line is that these companies have tried to absolve themselves of on-time delivery responsibilities, and have been relatively silent about how they would make good for disappointed shoppers,Ē Mouse Print says.
I guess youíll just have to plan ahead next year, as delivery "guaranteesĒ may not be applicable when you need them most. Oh, and read the fine print next time.
APWU Web News Article #002-14, Jan. 9, 2014
New York Metro Sends Delegations to Staples
The APWUís New York Metro Area Local sent delegations to three Staples stores on Jan. 8 and 9 to deliver letters protesting the establishment of postal retail units staffed by low-wage, non-union, non-postal workers.
ďIt felt good to take action,Ē said Chuck Zlatkin, the localís Legislative and Political Director. ďYou see the Staples sign and you want to do something. This was easy ó it was fun,Ē he said.
ďThe Staples managers all had a similar reaction,Ē Zlatkin reported. ďAt first they gave us that Ďdeer in the headlightsí look. But they said they would pass our letters of protest on to their headquarters.Ē
Six members of the local who work at the USPS New Jersey Network Distribution Center (NDC) visited a Staples store in Jersey City on Jan. 8; five members who work in Manhattan walked a few blocks to a Staples store near their worksite on Jan. 9, and four members who work in the Bronx visited a Staples store in the cityís northern borough, Zlatkin reported. ....
Related: Staplizing the Post Office: A dozen reasons to just say no - SaveThePostOffice.com
Union: Donít Fill Staples Jobs with Non-Postal Employees - GovExec.com
January 8, 2014
The contract between Staples and the Postal Service allows the retailer to use its own employees.
APWU first will meet with Staples store managers by Jan. 18 to express their concerns, particularly that postal-related positions within their stores are being filled by ďlow-wage, non-union, non-postal employees.Ē Then the union will organize a day of action and subsequent protests.
The Postal Service said it respects the right of its employees to protest, but fell short of offering any conciliation.
ďThe U.S. Postal Service recognizes and respects the right of its employees to exercise their First Amendment rights,Ē said Darlene Reid-DeMeo, an agency spokeswoman. ďPostal Service employees who choose to participate in picketing activities must do so while off-duty and abide by all local laws regarding public gatherings.Ē
From the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission:
On-Roll and Paid Employee Statistics (ORPES), December, FY 2014
Postal Service Active Employee Statistical Summary (HAT Report), Pay Period 26, FY 2014 [pdf]
Dalpra, AZ: Postal Service deserves protection - EACourier.com
January 8, 2014
"The ill-conceived Postal Commission has not allowed the Postal Service to take on new revenue-producing services because such initiatives would intrude themselves into the profit potential of private enterprise. Instead, the mandates include shuttering facilities that expedite the flow of mail, threatening to cut out weekend deliveries and suggesting that the workers take up that slack by extending the hours in their workday. It is an ugly situation attracting virtually no attention by the mainstream media, which, if they comment at all, act as megaphones for those who hype operational losses. To be blunt, there is a current drive to emasculate the Postal Service to the point where corporate interests can finish it off.
Smaller post offices are under constant threat, saved only by members of Congress who, when push comes to shove, realize that their constituents are highly supportive of the level of service their postal employees provide for communities large and small. Privatization? Like UPS, for instance. The company exists only because Congress negated a historic license for the Postal Service to be the sole provider of mail deliveries, including parcel post.
The USPS has user-friendly staffed facilities in Fort Thomas, Pima, Central, Thatcher, Safford and Solomon. Meanwhile, for the past 35 years or more, the UPS level of accommodation has been limited to a couple of prefab modules located out of sight behind a local freight service warehouse. Hours of service are dependent upon the volume the local employees can handle at any given time, and parking is limited to spaces between the companyís own fleet of delivery vehicles.
Take a look. Is that the kind of future you want in place of an institution that has served with considerable class and efficiency since the birth of our nation? Donít take the continued survival of the Postal Service for granted because there are powerful forces working hard to bring it down."
APC Postal Logistics expands operations to US West Coast - PostAndParcel.info
January 8, 2014
US mail and parcel export specialists APC Postal Logistics have opened a new processing facility in California.
The company said the facility opened just ahead of the festive break will serve as the nexus of its West Coast sales and operations in the United States.
Expansion will mean enhancing the international delivery and logistics services it offers to online retailers, fulfillment companies, publishers, mail houses and printers in the Western United States, while extending live customer service hours.
The new facility is located in Bell, close to LAX Airport in the Los Angeles area, and is designed to process and export both parcels and mail.
It will work alongside APCís existing state-of-the-art 35,000 square foot facility on the East Coast, which is located near JFK International and Newark Liberty Airports.
The new facility will be about 8,500 sq ft, with its proprietary tracking software system at the location able to process and barcode 260,000 parcels each month, the company told Post&Parcel. ....
Postal limbo annoys citizens - JHNewsAndGuide.com
Residents complain about a system that returns some packages to senders.
January 8, 2014
As of Tuesday, 361 people had signed a petition on Change.org asking that the widespread problem of ďauto-returningĒ packages be dealt with.
Jackson Town Council members have picked up on the issue, which they say is a common complaint from constituents, especially during the holiday season.
At a meeting Monday the council questioned Jackson Postmaster Jennifer Grutzmacher, asking whether home delivery would be possible in the valley and what it would take to stop packages from being returned to their senders en masse.
ďThis holiday season it seemed to be particularly acute,Ē said Councilman Jim Stanford, who first brought up the subject. ďIt seems to get worse every year, I think, as more and more people rely on e-commerce to order products.
ďIíve heard gut-wrenching stories from people who have had critical packages theyíve been expecting that have been lost in limbo, really at a time when they couldnít afford to have that happen,Ē Stanford said. ....
Customer Service - FAQs - USPS.com
What Options Exist for Late, Lost, or No Delivery of Mail?
The Ed Show 01/07/14
In Trenders, Jay Carney shows off his new look, while a conservative writer condemns the presidentís Netflix addiction.
Ed Schultz & Frederic Rolando discuss USPS.
Going Postal: A photo journal of post offices and places - Blog by Evan Kalish
2013 Postal Summary
"This is the fourth year of the Going Postal annual postal summary. Dang, I've been at this a while now, huh? 2013 brought adventures up and down the east coast from Boston to Florida. I completed a few geographic postal milestones. And, of course, here are the summaries for 2010, 2011, and 2012. This year I visited 837 post offices and other postal facilities across 15 states and the District of Columbia, for a grand total of 5,758 offices. The longest trip I took this summer lasted 29 days, and though I only drove from New York as far as Georgia, my mileage could have taken me across the country twice. Below is my counties-visited map at the end of 2013. Counties visited for the first time -- namely in Appalachia and the Southeast -- are colored dark gray."
The corporatization of the Postal Service: - SaveThePostOffice.com
Post office closures, suspensions, relocations, and reductions in 2013
January 7, 2014
"Since 2000, the total number of USPS employees has been reduced by a third, and part-time workers now comprise over 20 percent of the workforce. The Postal Service outsources wherever it can ó over $12 billion of its $65 billion in annual expenses go to private contractors and suppliers. Over half of the Postal Service's processing plants have been consolidated, while the workshare system has led to the creation of a huge private-sector consolidation industry, with companies like Pitney Bowes and Quad/Graphics reaping huge profits."
APWU News Bulletin 01-2014, Jan. 6, 2014
Delegations to Staples Stores To Protest Postal Retail Units
Local, state and retiree chapter presidents across the country are preparing to send delegations to Staples stores in their communities to protest the establishment of postal retail units staffed by low-wage, non-union, non-postal employees.
The delegations will present letters of protest to store managers by Jan. 18. ďI urge APWU members to participate,Ē said President Mark Dimondstein. ďThe meetings with Staples store managers are intended to put Staples on notice that we are about to embark on a serious campaign to win these jobs for postal employees,Ē he wrote to local and state presidents on Dec. 26. ....
Regarding the sale and preservation of historic post offices and their art:
An open letter to the Inspector General - SaveThePostOffice.com
January 5, 2014
Dear Inspector General Williams:
The USPS is, effectively, selling the publicís art collection along with the historic buildings for which it should be a responsible steward. Although these works of art that were commissioned by the U.S. Treasury and paid for by American taxpayers ó including architecture ó are theoretically protected by preservation covenants held by third parties, in many instances such as Venice, CA, Birmingham, MI, and Palm Beach, FL, they are no longer freely accessible to the public and have thus become the de facto possessions of those who have bought the buildings containing them. ....
Flexible Workforce Lowers USPS Wages -- and Hurts Productivity - Dead Tree Edition Blog
January 4, 2014
The U.S. Postal Serviceís shift to a more flexible workforce has reduced average hourly pay, but adding so many new employees has also hindered productivity gains.
At last report [pdf], the ďstraight-timeĒ pay of postal employees was averaging $25.63 per hour in FY2013, down 1.4% from $25.98 a year earlier. Despite a big jump in overtime hours, even the average total hourly pay had dropped slightly during the year.
Most employees had small wage increases, but the hourly averages were dragged down by temps and other non-career employees who replaced retiring workers. USPSís career workforce decreased by 37,000 during FY2013, while 26,000 non-career employees were added, the agency said in its recently released annual report [pdf] to Congress.
More than one in five postal workers is now a non-career employee, versus less than one in six only a year earlier.
ďWe hired and trained many new non-career employees and this cost many workhours,Ē the annual report said. ďThe learning curve for these workers caused us to use more hours as they gained experience (although at a lower wage).Ē
USPS hoped to boost deliveries per work hour from 41.0 to 42.7 during FY2013, but the annual report said it fell short partly because so many new employees had to be brought up to speed. Having more mail volume than anticipated (a decline of less than 1%, versus 5% the previous year) also hurt productivity, despite improving USPSís finances, the report noted. The report does not discuss another productivity measure -- mail pieces delivered per work hour -- but that appears to have changed little during the year.
Downsizing of the workforce, consolidation of facilities and carrier routes, and greater automation are helping USPS work more productively. But the growing volume of labor-intensive parcels, though profitable, tends to mean slower deliveries, as does the increasing number of delivery points.
Employees also claim that staff reductions sometimes backfire because they can leave postal facilities with the wrong mix of positions and experience. Letter carriers have been especially vociferous about changes that have inadvertently hurt their productivity, such as having to work longer days and to make more deliveries in the dark. At last report, overtime among the city-carrier force was on track to increase more than 11% over FY 2012.
A Thank You to postal workers via a
Lancaster, PA Letter to the Editor, January 1, 2014
Click on image to enlarge.
Postal Regulatory Commission Job Vacancy Notice: GENERAL COUNSEL - PRC.gov [pdf]
VACANCY NUMBER: PRC 08-13
OPEN: JANUARY 2, 2014
CLOSE: JANUARY 23, 2014
MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As General Counsel, the incumbent leads and manages the entire Office of the General Counsel. The incumbent also provides legal advice and counsel to the Commission concerning the analysis and evaluation of evidence presented by USPS and other parties in rate, classification, complaint, and nature of service proceedings.
How Cutting Saturday Post Office Delivery Could Affect Your Portfolio - Kapitall.com
The US Post Office is thinking of eliminating Saturday service to control costs. This is actually a pretty big deal.
January 3, 2014
As you peruse the news for important market events, the actions of the US Postal Service don't always draw your attention. However, this holiday season it was the public sector who took home the prize for prompt deliveries Ė tackling a spike in volume of 19% and delivering over 75,000 packages on Christmas Day. Reports of delayed or damaged deliveries were negligible, a sharp contrast from the USPS's private sector competition.
If you were following the madness, then it probably wouldn't surprise you to hear that a lot of important business relies on the Postal Service. Even before private companies like UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) dropped the ball, e-commerce companies like eBay (EBAY) continued rely on the post office to deliver up to 85% of their products.
And yet the US Postal Service is still facing huge budget cuts that jeopardize its day-to-day operations, a problem that's being exacerbated by continuing cuts from the sequester. To close the gap, the USPS has proposed eliminating Saturday service, an option that's currently being debated by Congress.
Why should you care? ....
Customers surprised to find Salem post office out of business - TheDay.com
Deli that contracted to handle town's mail closed suddenly
January 3, 2014
Salem - When residents arrived at the town's only post office to mail packages Thursday morning, they were greeted by a sign on the business's door announcing that it had been permanently closed.
Salem has no official post office, and residents relied on a Contract Postal Unit operated by the Four Corners Country Deli. But when the deli closed, apparently unexpectedly on Wednesday, so did the postal unit.
The 46 residents with P.O. boxes will have to pick up their mail at the Colchester post office for now, said U.S. Postal Service spokesman Christine Dugas. And all residents will have to go out of town to mail a package or use other postal services.
First Selectman Kevin Lyden said he had no advance notice of the deli's closure and is looking into the possibility of moving the Contract Postal Unit to another business in town. Lyden said he plans to talk to the postmaster, who is currently out of his office, about the situation next week.
In the meantime, residents with P.O. boxes will be able to pick up their mail in Colchester - none is locked inside the boxes in Four Corners Country Deli, said Lyden.
The U.S. Postal Service found out about the deli and postal unit's closure Thursday morning, said Dugas, and is still in the process of deciding where the new P.O. boxes for Salem residents will be located. ....
Cash-strapped Postal Service seeks DVD-mail price increase - WashingtonTimes.com
January 2, 2014
Companies that rent movie and video games by mail to tens of millions of Americans could see the price of delivery go up if the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service succeeds in a push to change the rules governing DVD mail.
The Postal Service, which has run a multi-billion dollar deficit for years, said in regulatory filings that DVD mail ought to be changed from a so-called ďmarket-dominantĒ to ďcompetitiveĒ classification.
That, officials say, would allow the cash-strapped service to negotiate a price with companies like Netflix to recover mailing costs, ending years of what critics describe as a highly favorable deal Netflix struck early on. ....
USPS Sends Jobs, Work to Staples
APWU Vows to Stop the Great Postal Giveaway - APWU.org
When Staples agreed to put USPS retail units in its stores,
the office-supply chain may have gotten more than it bargained for.
(01/01/14) In a deal that has been in the works at least since March 2012, the USPS announced in November that it was launching a pilot program to place postal retail units in more than 80 Staples stores in four states: California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Some of the sites opened quietly in October and others opened in November, including some where ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held. If postal management and Staples consider the pilot successful, the program may be expanded to the chainís 1,600 other locations. Agreements between the USPS and other big retailers may follow.
ďThis is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,Ē APWU President Mark Dimondstein declared when he heard the news. ďThe APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail,Ē he said. ďPostal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.Ē
Click Here [pdf] for a list of pilot locations for placing postal retail units in Staples stores.
Click Here to find Staples locations near you.
Management has been falsifying scans of delayed mail in Cape Girardeau, Missouri - again
Randy, I haven't yet heard from the OIG on the Express Mail fraud (see December 15, 2013 post). However, I've just filed another complaint. This has to do with mostly Priority Mail. I'll include the text of the complaint [pdf], which explains the problem in detail. The crux of the matter is that due to massive changes in the city scheme for which there has been no brush-up training provided (we just got that settled at Step 3), there have been more errors in sorting parcels. When the carriers bring back the misthrown parcels, management has had them scanned as undeliverable. This naturally panicked many customers who were tracking their parcels. They would see them listed as arriving here and expect delivery that day. When the parcels didn't arrive, they would check the tracking and see them listed as undeliverable. They naturally thought the parcels would be returned to their respective senders. Many called the post office or drove there or to the P&DF to find their packages before they were returned. Of course, they were not returned. They were delivered the next day. The reason they were scanned as undeliverable was to hide the delayed mail. I hope to hear from the OIG soon. I had suspected the problem was larger than the two Express Mail falsifications. If you can help us with this, we would be most appreciative. Thanks.
Yours in Union Solidarity,
APWU Cape Area Local 4088
Next Time Use The US Postal Service - NHLaborNews.com
January 1, 2014
It has been widely reported that many people did not get their Christmas presents delivered on time by UPS and FedEx. How did this happen?
ďThe volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast,Ē a UPS spokeswoman said.
Before all of my Teamster brothers and sister come down on me, let me say that I do not blame any of the drivers or people who process the packages, I am blaming the company for making promises they could not keep.
Both UPS and FedEx are world renowned for their overnight package delivery. They revolutionized the overnight package delivery with a huge fleet of airplanes and midnight processing in central US locations. However this did not help them avoid all of these late deliveries.
The blame does not fall solely on UPS or FedEx, much of the blame falls on online retailers who promised delivery by Christmas.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
ďDuring the last shopping weekend before Christmas, Web sales jumped 37% from the year before, according to IBM Digital Analytics.Ē
Online retailers pushed the limits of what UPS and FedEx could do on a normal day and quickly overwhelmed them during the Christmas rush.
ďAlthough weather, Web glitches and late deliveries from manufacturers played a part in late deliveries, the sheer unanticipated volume of holiday buying this year may have been the biggest problem, retail analysts said.Ē
All of these things created a perfect storm that nobody could recover from. That is except for the US Postal Service.
ďThe government-run competitor was swamped with parcels just like UPS and FedEx were, with holiday package volume 19 percent higher than the same period late year. But there were no widespread complaints about tardy deliveries by USPS.Ē (BusinessWeek)
United States Postal Service fleet; U.S.A.The USPS service handled all of the same extra packages as UPS and FedEx and they did it without being late. In fact the USPS delivered over 75,000 packages on Christmas day!
The postal service did it all in spite of reductions in personnel and cuts to funding. The trumped up claim that the USPS is going bankrupt is just a ploy by lobbyists and government officials like Rep Darrell Issa, to turn the US Postal Service into UPS.
Without the pre-funding obligation the USPS would have made over $600 million dollars last year alone. While FedEx and UPS did make higher profits, the USPS is not issuing refunds to thousands of costumers for late deliveries.
One of the key money saving ideas that Congress and the Postmaster General tossed out is to end Saturday delivery. The irony is that during this holiday season the USPS actually delivered seven days a week throughout December.
When it comes to getting your package there when they say it will get there, I will trust the 238-year-old postal service.
A New Yearís Resolution: Support the Peopleís Post Office - SaveThePostOffice.com
BY MARK JAMISON
January 1, 2014
Hereís a resolution for the New Year: Support the peopleís post office.
That means working to preserve an essential national infrastructure and rejecting initiatives to dismantle it, like closing post offices and cutting window hours, delivering the mail fewer days of the week, and converting customers to cluster boxes.
It means working to ensure that the post office continues to be a good place to work ó with job security, decent wages, and good benefits ó and remembering that the post office provides jobs to thousands of veterans, minorities, the disabled, and women.
It means doing your postal business at your local post office, not some Village Post Office or the postal counter in Staples, and it means challenging workshare discounts, outsourcing, and all the other forms of piecemeal privatization.
It means demanding more transparency in how the Postal Service conducts its business, questioning secret negotiated service agreements, and taking the universal service obligation seriously.
Supporting the peopleís post office means fighting back against those who want to plunder and corporatize the Postal Service for their own self-interest and use it as a tool for enhancing their wealth at the public expense. And it means calling out those who care more about the postage rates they pay than the health of the postal system and the good of the country. ....
APWU Web News Article #143-13, Dec. 30, 2013
Dimondstein on Radio
United Parcel Service Christmas Debacle Shows Why We Need a Public Postal Service
The failure of United Parcel Service to deliver holiday packages by Christmas demonstrates the importance of the U.S. Postal Service to the people of the country, says APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
ďThe United Parcel Service fiasco underscores why the Postal Service must continue to be a public service,Ē he said. ďWe must ensure that hiring decisions and other policy issues governing the nationís mail service are not guided by the bottom line and private profit.Ē
United Parcel Service and FedEx were unable to meet their commitment to deliver holiday orders on time, prompting outrage among frustrated customers.
By contrast, the U.S. Postal Service performed well, Dimondstein told broadcaster Ed Shultz on his Dec. 30 radio show. The Postal Service could have performed even better were it not for a requirement that forces the agency to pre-fund healthcare for future retirees 75 years in advance at a cost of approximately $5.5 billion annually. That crushing burden chokes the Postal Service and robs it of the ability to serve the people to its full potential, he said.
The Postal Service is under attack by corporate privatizers who want to take over the nationís mail service, Dimondstein said. ďCompanies like FedEx and United Parcel Service want to get their hands on that $65 billion,Ē he said, referring to the Postal Serviceís annual revenue, which comes exclusively from the sale of stamps and services Ė not tax dollars. ....
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE FY 2013 ANNUAL COMPLIANCE REPORT - PRC.gov [pdf]
December 27, 2013
The United States Postal Service hereby submits its Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Compliance Report (ACR or Report). The Report is submitted pursuant to 39 U.S.C.
ß 3652, which requires the Postal Service to file with the Postal Regulatory Commission, within 90 days after the end of each fiscal year (FY), a variety of data on ďcosts, revenues, rates, and quality of service,Ē in order to ďdemonstrate that all products during such year complied with all applicable requirements of [title 39].Ē
If the Private Sector Is So Great, Why Did UPS Botch Christmas?
Going Postal on Pensions - WashingtonSpectator.org
December 22, 2013
"Unfortunately, it seems that the Postal Serviceís Board of Governors is choosing privatization. Theyíve expressed no support for the Sanders Bill (S.316), which would rescind the pre-payment mandate. Instead, they are actively selling off that asset base, the post officesóoften below market value, thus divesting the Postal Service of fixed capital that could be more effectively deployed to restore and expand service for a growing population."
Postal workers file complaint over late deliveries - Star-Telegram.com
December 26, 2013
The American Postal Workers Union is taking the Postal Service to task, claiming that the agency is failing to meet its delivery standards for first-class mail and periodicals. A complaint filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission earlier this month alleges that the Postal Service isnít following its own ďservice delivery standards.Ē The commission had ordered the union to provide additional evidence to back up its claims.
The union alleges that the Postal Service is violating the rights of its members by failing to deliver first-class mail on time, depending on whether it was sent to someone locally or out of state. ďThe Postal Service has closed about half of this countryís mail-processing plants, which means that mail has to be processed farther away,Ē said Sally Davidow, communications director for the Washington, D.C.-based organization. The union blames cutbacks for the delivery problems, she said.
When asked about the unionís claims, Sam Bolen, a local spokesman for the Postal Service, said in an emailed statement, ďThe matter is in litigation, and we do not comment on matters in litigation.Ē
"The union wants the regulatory commission to order the Postal Service to take the necessary steps to comply with its service regulations and to ďcease and desistĒ from making changes in its mail processing that will cause it to violate standards."
The Demise of Direct Mail? - DMNews.com
PRC Approves 4.3% Exigent Increase
December 25, 2013
Mailers, who had hopes that the PRC might approve a modified exigent increase of under 2%, expressed major disappointment. A coalition of mailers that argued before the PRC that the USPS's use of the Great Recession as the exceptional circumstance for exigency was without merit called the PRC's action an ďunmitigated disaster.Ē
PRC grants rate increase but for less than two years - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 24, 2013
The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved the Postal Serviceís request for an exigent rate increase of 4.3 percent, but only for about 18 months. It will allow the Postal Service to recoup about $3.2 billion in lost profits, but it will not fully address the long-term effects of the Great Recession. (The ruling is here [pdf]; press release is here [pdf].)
The decision will come as something of mixed bag for both sides. The Postal Service will be happy that it got the full increase, and the mailers will be happy that itís only for less than two years. Whether dissatisfaction with the results will lead either side to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals remains to be seen, but here's a New Year's prediction. The mailers will take the decision as a victory, and the Postal Service will take it to court. ....
APWU Web News Article #142-13, Dec. 23, 2013
Make it a Matter of Record
Tell the PRC About Delayed Mail
Businesses, customers and APWU members who have complaints about delayed mail should be sure to let the Postal Regulatory Commission know, says Debby Szeredy, the unionís executive vice president.ďMuch of the delayed mail is in areas where plants and post offices have been consolidated or closed or where hours at post offices have been reduced,Ē she said.
ďFiling complaints with the PRC will help document how egregious the problem is, so encourage your family, friends and neighbors to file complaints if they experience delays, too,Ē Szeredy said. ....
Late mail delivery becoming more common - TimesDispatch.com
December 22, 2013
Remember the days when the U.S. Postal Service delivered mail no later than by late afternoon? Molly Carrís mail arrives on a daily basis after 6 p.m. Her experience is not unusual in the Richmond area or elsewhere.
Late delivery has become increasingly more common in the past five years, as postal carriers have retired, technology has sped up some processes but disrupted others and the postal network has been realigned, postal officials say. ....
The PRC decides the rate case: What's in Santa's bag for the mailers - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 22, 2013
On Monday or Tuesday of this week, the Postal Regulatory Commission will issue an order on the Postal Serviceís renewed request for an exigent rate increase. If itís granted in full, postal rates will go up about 4.3 percent. Thatís on top of the 1.7 percent increase already granted under the CPI cap, so the total increase would be about 6 percent.
According to the exigency provision in the federal regulations, the PRC's decision on the rate increase must be issued within ninety days of the request. The Postal Service submitted the request on September 26, so the ninetieth day would be Tuesday, December 24. The decision will probably be issued on Christmas Eve. Will the mailers find a nice gift in their stockings, or will they find a lump of coal? ....
A Look Back ē St. Louis postal clerks wade through mountains of Christmas mail by hand - STLToday.com
December 21, 2013
Click on image to enlarge
ST. LOUIS ē With Christmas approaching in 1930 and the Depression settling hard, the Post Office downtown asked for 1,200 temporary helpers to keep up with the crush of holiday mail. More than 4,800 people applied.
St. Louis Postmaster Athol Michener said it would be futile for more job-seekers to come downtown.
The following year, a line of applicants formed at 5 a.m. outside the hiring office in the old federal Custom House, at Third and Olive streets. The Post Office wanted 2,300 extras to help its 2,500 regular clerks and mail carriers. More than 800 showed up that first morning.
Click on image to enlarge
The pay was good ó 65 cents an hour (almost $9 today) ó even though the job only lasted three weeks. Post Office officials said they gave preference to unemployed heads of households. They had plenty to choose from.
Temporary hires were needed every year to handle mountains of Christmas letters and packages. Sorting was done by hand. At the sorting center, mail went into canvass sacks, then got tossed onto push carts and hauled to trucks and railroad cars. Newspapers published lists of deadlines for mailing packages to Australia, Germany, Cuba or California by Christmas Day. Regular news updates reported the numbers of letters processed.
Most years, they published photographs of the piles of packages. Plenty of readers had personal wishes somewhere in the jumble, often six times the usual volume.
In 1933, the local Post Office handled 14 million pieces of mail during the last week before Christmas. In a sad sign of the times, Santa got fewer letters from kids.
Click on image to enlarge
But total mail volume climbed through the Depression decade. So did hiring. In 1939, the local office sought 3,700 temporary employees to assist the full-time staff of 3,000. It received 4,400 applications.
That changed with entry into World War II. More than 650 postal employees left for the military. Enlistments cut into the temporary pool as well. Before Christmas 1943, St. Louis Postmaster Rufus Jackson warned that mail and packages were piling up.
Labor shortages and the volume of parcels destined for bases overseas forced a big move-up of mailing deadlines ó Oct. 15 for soldiers, Nov. 1 for sailors and Marines. It was Dec. 10 for domestic delivery, a week earlier than pre-war deadlines. Harried clerks had to reject any military-bound parcels that weighed more than six pounds. The most frequent overweight item? Radios.
Victory brought relief for the hiring office and steady growth in mailing during the boom years of the 1950s. In 1946, the metro areaís Post Office handled 42.5 million pieces of mail from Dec. 1 to Dec. 24. In 1960, it handled 81.5 million pieces during the same three-week period. Automation reduced the need for so many Christmas temporaries ó the Post Office hired 3,900 in 1940, but only 1,200 in 1968.
Increased automation, competition from shipping companies and the Internet have cut into Postal Service volume. Last year, the St. Louis operation handled 30 million pieces of mail from Dec. 1 to Christmas. The daily peak was 2.6 million. This year, it hired 160 holiday extras.
Gloom of night not stopping Quincy letter carriers from making appointed rounds - WHIG.com
December 20, 2013
"However, the later hours for letter carriers began before the Christmas crunch, although several local postal workers declined to comment on the record. They had been advised that all contact with news organizations was to go through the U.S. Postal Service media relations staff.
"I'm not allowed to say anything," one said.
Other postal carriers, clerks and supervisors said delivery times are later due to the later arrival of mail trucks from distant postal processing facilities."
Postal frustrations mar holidays in Dillingham - AlaskaDispatch.com
December 20, 2013
"Apparently, the Dillingham post office recently had some staff turnover. With the departing longtime post master and staff went the institutional knowledge of most of the communityís post office box numbers, even if packages and letters came in with physical addresses on them.
Dillingham, like many communities in rural Alaska, doesnít have home delivery service. But some companies, like the highly popular online company Amazon, donít allow shipping to post office boxes.
With the perfect storm of no postmaster and holiday shipping rush upon them, the post office has apparently had a string of temporary workers coming through. With them, residents say, came a flow of conflicting information. Some people got their packages after tracking them online and asking at the post office counter when they saw they had arrived, but not without a lecture. Others said they found out the packages had been returned to Anchorage without even a notice. Others said their packages just simply never arrived."
Postal unions cold to Carper proposal for Saturday mail delivery compromise - WashingtonPost.com
December 19, 2013
A proposed compromise toward ending Saturday U.S. mail delivery is falling flat with unions while getting the support of a Senate committee chairman leading a push to advance stalled postal legislation. ...
The American Postal Workers Union, whose members work in mail-processing plants, also opposes setting a threshold to end Saturday delivery, spokeswoman Sally Davidow said in an e-mail. Unions are asking for relief from a congressional requirement that the service pay now for health-care costs of future retirees.
ďThe solution to the financial crisis is to eliminate the pre-funding requirement,Ē she said. ďAnd there are many ways the USPS could increase revenue ó licenses, basic banking for the unbanked, etc., without cutting service. Package volume is increasing and that trend is expected to continue.Ē ....
Canada Post and USPS have the very same issues. The problem seems to be the spin (misinformation, falsehoods, and outright lies) the privatizers are putting out there...
Check out these recent articles:
Cutting Canada Post: It's about more than mail - Rabble.ca
December 18, 2013
Canada Post wants to eliminate my job as a letter carrier. Hereís why you should care - TheCoast.ca
December 19, 2013
Relocation, relocation, relocation: The new M.O. for closing post offices - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 18, 2013
The Postal Service may no longer be talking about closing thousands of post offices, but it has been busy ďrelocatingĒ them. In dozens of cities across the country, a downtown post office is being closed and the building, often a historic landmark, is being sold. According to the Postal Service, however, the post office isn't actually "closing." Because a new, smaller office will be opened somewhere else in the community, the Postal Service says it is just "relocating retail services."
The distinction may seem just a matter of semantics, but it allows the Postal Service to go through a quick relocation procedure, which has minimal requirements for notification, public comment, and appeals, instead of a lengthy, complicated discontinuance procedure. In taking the easy route to closing post offices this way, the Postal Service is causing all kinds of problems.
Complaints about the relocations have prompted the USPS Office of Inspector General to initiate an audit investigation. One of the aims of the audit is "to look specifically at whether the Postal Service is providing affected customers enough information about relocation plans to enable those customers to fully understand and react to their potential impact.Ē ....
Fight to save the USPS from extinction - MSNBC.com
December 18, 2013
Republicans continue their attempts to destroy the backbone of America, the United States Postal Service.
Ed Schultz and Mark Dimondstein discuss.
Commentary: Postal Service Price Hikes? Return to Sender - RollCall.com
December 18, 2013
Letís see if you can follow this logic.
The U.S. Postal Service is seeking a rate increase that is three times the rate of inflation through an ďemergencyĒ (or ďexigentĒ) rate increase request.
So what is the emergency? The emergency, says the Postal Service, is the recession. Yes, that recession, the one that officially ended several years ago. The Postal Service knows well that the recession is over, because their revenues are already increasing as a result.
The Postal Service Board of Governors approved this rate request in September and, later this month, the Postal Regulatory Commission will determine if a permanent postage rate increase is justified.
You might ask: What effect did digital diversion ó such as email ubiquity and electronic payment of billsó have on mail volumes during the recession?
According to the Postal Service, the answer is none. Zero.
Huh? Their reasoning is clear when you understand that by associating all of their losses with the recession, rather than digital diversion, the Postal Service conveniently paves the way for a greater increase in postage rates. You see, volume losses due to digital diversion, unlike those from a recession, arenít eligible for an emergency rate increase. Now you can see why the Postal Service is playing this game. ....
USPS not ready for increase in package volume over next 4 years, IG says - FierceGovernment.com
December 17, 2013
Though the Postal Service is sufficiently staffed for the number of packages it currently carries, the agency isn't poised for the package increase in the coming years, the IG says. This is because of the attrition rate for mail carriers, which remains high at 19 percent nationwide.
"With this attrition rate, delivery operations may face long-term staffing challenges as package volume increases," the report says.
And Postal Service vehicles have not been designed to handle a higher volume of packages, the IG says. The vehicles were primarily designed for letters, flats and small packages, the report says. USPS retains more than 190,000 delivery and collection vehicles in its fleet, but many are 18 to 25 years old. ....
How USPS Is Like an Airline, and Why That Matters - Dead Tree Edition
December 17, 2013
A postal official made a revealing statement last week about the U.S. Postal Serviceís attempt to get higher-than-inflation rate increases.
If USPSís ďfinancial challenges were alleviated by the timely enactment of laws that close a $20 billion budget gap, the Postal Service would reconsider its pricing strategy,Ē Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman wrote last week in a Post & Parcel letter to the editor. The request for ďexigentĒ rate increases Ė on which a ruling is due Monday --was ďa last resort,Ē according to USPSís #2 man.
USPS has spent years trying to pass exigent rate increases to help it dig out of the red. So why would it even think about walking away from a legal victory that could be worth a couple of billion dollars a years?
My theory: Postal officials arenít sure an extraordinary rate increase will help the agency. Theyíre worried that breaching the inflation-based cap that has kept most postal rates in check will undermine confidence in the mail system, pushing mailers to switch even more communications to digital delivery. ....
The cheapest overnight shipping for Christmas
Here's our price comparison and 5 more tips for saving money when you ship gifts.
December 16, 2013
If you've ever spent Dec. 23 standing in line to ship a last-minute Christmas gift, you know all about the crazy cost of sending packages by overnight mail. Sometimes the fees cost as much as the presents.
What you may not know is that there's a huge difference in fees for the same service among the big three shippers -- the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS.
We compared the cost of overnight shipping between New York and Los Angeles for the three largest shippers: UPS, the Postal Service and FedEx. Here are the results for an overnight letter, delivered by no later than the next afternoon:
ē The U.S. post office had the cheapest price -- $19.95 for a flat-rate envelope.
ē FedEx ranked second, at $37.40 for the same package.
ē UPS came in a close third, at $37.57.
The results were similar for shipping a 5-pound box:
ē USPS charged $39.95.
ē FedEx charged a whopping $82.89 for the exact same box.
ē UPS came in even a bit more expensive, at $83.26.
Sending Tidings of Good Cheer by Mail - USPSOIG.gov
December 16, 2013
Holiday greeting cards still outweigh e-cards in terms of sentiment and personal touch, recent surveys indicate. Even digital natives say a card in the mail evokes a stronger reaction than a text or email. Yet, each year, fewer and fewer people are sending holiday greeting cards through the mail.
In 2011, American households on average sent about 16 holiday greeting cards, according to the Postal Serviceís recently released 2012 Household Diary Study report. Twelve years earlier, 23 holiday cards were sent. Data from the Greeting Card Association also chart the downward trend: U.S. consumers bought 1.5 billion holiday cards in 2011, compared to 2.7 billion in 1995.
Still, mailed holiday greeting cards remain an important component of the Postal Serviceís revenues for the year, as single-piece First-Class letters are one of the Postal Serviceís most profitable products. While mail is not as seasonal as it used to be, a strong holiday season still sets the tone for the entire fiscal year.
It seems unlikely that this trend in holiday greeting cards can be easily reversed, given the overall decline in mail use and a growing comfort with digital communications. But, perhaps some small innovations might revive interest in sending holiday greeting cards. For example, Australia Post is pioneering the use of ďvideo stampsĒ Ė a recorded 15-second video that the addressee can view using a smart phone app. While the post is allowing the stamps on parcels only at the moment, a similar type QR code might provide an interesting opportunity for greeting cards.
What other innovations or digital enhancements might work well on hard-copy greeting cards? Do you plan on sending greeting cards this year? Do you expect to send more or fewer cards than last year?
The plot to kill the U.S. Postal Service - SFGATE.com
December 16, 2013
"A June audit of the Postal Service by its inspector general found "poor oversight" of its contract with CBRE. The inspector general is now conducting a further investigation into the questionable disposal of historic post offices. Those properties, as well as a service guaranteed by the Constitution, belong to all Americans. They should not be corralled for the few."
Seven Arrested at Post Office Protest - KEZI.com
December 16, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. ó Seven people have been arrested after a rally Monday to save the U.S. Postal Service Distribution Center in Springfield from closing.
The protesters included retired or current postal service workers, along with different local union reps. They marched from the front door of the post office over to this loading dock where they were arrested.
Some just wanted their voices to be heard and save their jobs and hopefully save the distribution plant in Springfield from being closed.
ďQuite honestly, if they shut this down, I wonít be working for the postal service anymore, unless they can find something within a 50-mile radius, but thatís not very likely,Ē said Braden Pelky, Vice President of the American Postal Workers Union.
ďWeíre going to be demanding a meeting with the acting manager of the plant and demand that he keep the plant open, and we wonít be leaving until he agrees to that,Ē said Jamie Partridge, Rally Organizer. ....
APWU Web News Article #138-13, Dec. 16, 2013
Look Who Dropped By!
Ralph Nader, the founder of the consumer-rights movement, met with APWU leaders at the unionís office in Washington DC on Dec. 12. ďRalph Nader has been an ardent defender of the peopleís right to a public postal service,Ē said President Mark Dimondstein.
ďHe appreciates the important role the USPS continues to play in American life, and believes we can beat the forces of privatization.Ē
The informal get-together was ďpart of the APWUís effort to reach out to important allies in our fight to save the Postal Service,Ē Dimondstein said. ďWe look forward to working with Nader and his organization, the Center for Responsive Law, in the weeks and months ahead.Ē
Express mail is being scanned as "Undeliverable as Addressed" when the mail never even left the processing plant.
"Randy, Greg Davidson here.
I'm president of the Cape Girardeau, MO Area Local #4088.
One of our members said he had been in contact with you about our OIG complaints. He said you told him that once the complaints are made public, the OIG follows up as a matter of policy.
Here's the situation we have now:
Management has had someone scan express mail items bound for towns several miles away from our P&DC as "undeliverable as addressed." However, the items were scanned in the plant, not in the towns of destination. The items didn't even get sent to those towns until the next day. One was delivered the next day, and the other was delivered a couple of days after it got to the town. What they did was stop the clock on the deliveries so that they wouldn't have to count them as delayed and thus negated the refund.
The text of my complaint is in the attachment. We only know for sure what happened in regard to these two items, but we suspect the problem is much broader. We caught a break here when a contract driver gave the items to a clerk who happened to be a steward, and since he knew something was fishy, he looked up the tracking records. It is evident that the tracking records were falsified. I have contacted our US Rep.'s office and told them we may need help in prodding the OIG into action. Any help we can get in getting this looked into would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Yours in Union Solidarity,
APWU Cape Area Local 4088"
See: Text of USPS OIG Complaint Filed by APWU Cape Area Local 4088 [pdf]
CPWU: Call for a National Day (Sat. Dec. 21, 2013) to report Dark Delivery Hazards [pdf]
Communities and Postal Workers United calls on all letter carriers who are required to deliver unsafely, in the dark on December 21st (exactly one month after Brother Barnetteís death) to file a Form 1767 Ė Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition, or Practice.
Canada gets cluster-boxed: Why it canít happen here - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 15, 2013
Canada Post announced this week that over the next five years it would be converting five million urban residences from door delivery to cluster box units (CBUs), also known euphemistically as Community Mailboxes (CMBs). Along with other cost-cutting initiatives, like consolidating processing plants, closing post offices, and reducing employee benefits, the Canada plan will supposedly save $700 to $900 million a year and involve eliminating 6,000 to 8,000 jobs.
The news that Canada would get cluster-boxed was greeted with applause by Congressman Darrell Issa, whose Postal Reform Act (H.R. 2748) mandates a similar conversion for the U.S., with some thirty million residences and businesses being required to shift to cluster boxes over the next ten years. Thereís a similar provision in the Senate bill (S. 1486), but itís more moderate ó it requires a conversion program but shifts customers only on a voluntary basis, with no target numbers.
The Postmaster General has also expressed interest in switching to more cluster boxes. In January 2013, he said, ďWeíll be looking at some centralized delivery, rolling that out across the country Ė no major push, but starting to move on that.Ē ...
...But converting thirty million residences to cluster boxes and installing something like 600,000 cluster boxes? You may want to think twice before you run out and buy up stock in one of the companies that builds cluster boxes.
The postal reform legislation that eventually comes out of Congress is not going to contain Issa's provision mandating mass conversions to cluster boxes without the customerís permission. It can't happen here. One wonders if it can even happen in Canada.
USPS Pilot Test To Outsource Sorting of ďNon-Machineable Outside ParcelsĒ To UPS - PostalReprter.com
Pilot Test Starts 12-17-13
(Via APWU Northwest Illinois Local #7140, President Jackie Engelhart)
USPS ďTestingĒ using UPS to Sort Outsides
On 12-11-13 I was informed by Carol Stream A/Plant Manager Colao that Carol Stream, South Suburban and the NDC will be sending their Non-Machineable Outside to UPS for sorting. Last night two UPS managers watched the Mailhandlers scanning and labeling the parcels.
Management put out the following Service Talk:
ďBeginning tonight on Tour 3, December 11, 2013 the Carol Stream P&DC will be participating in a nation-wide six month pilot test involving Non-machine-able Outside parcels (NMOís). South Suburban, the NDC and Milwaukee will also be participating in this test which will be monitored by on-site Headquarter personnel.
NMOís, from our originating collection mail from the AOí s (coded RDC 11,12 & 13) will be isolated and sent to a new designated scanning station located at post T11 by the NDC Break-up Area. The NMOís will be manually scanned, a routing label will be printed and applied and the parcels will be bed-loaded onto a trailer at dock bay #28. These NMOís will be trucked to a UPS facility in Willow Springs IL 60480 who will sort the parcels (along with the consolidated parcels from South Suburban and the NDC) on their large parcel sorting machines. The NMOís will be sent out to the world and their destinations. On our destinating side Ė NMOís coming from the world to the larger 601 towns will come thru the UPS facility and go directly to the AOís Ė bypassing the plant. The smaller 601 towns will come to the plant from UPS to be dock transferred. UPS will be providing the ďmiddle mi1eĒprocessing for the identified NMOĎs.
The USPS will continue to provide the first mileĒ collection and acceptance and the ďlast mileĒ delivery through our delivery units. Bottom line: Yes this is an outsourcing test to see if it is more cost effective to have UPS process this type of mail for us than for us to do it ourselves.
Click Here for more from PostalReporter News Blog.
Area Post Offices to Open Sunday Ahead of Busiest Day of the Year - NBCDFW.com
All post offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington to open Sunday
December 13, 2013
The United States Postal Service is hoping to get a jump on the busiest day of the year by opening up for business on Sunday.
This Sunday, staffers at the main post offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as select suburban stations (listed below), will retrieve the mail from the blue collection boxes in accordance with a traditional weekday schedule.
Normally, the post office does not process or cancel mail on Sunday, but on Monday, Dec. 16, they expect to process more than 3 million pieces of mail, three times the normal volume. The projected number would make Monday the busiest mailing day of the holiday season. ....
USPS 2013 Network Consolidations [xls]
UPDATED December 13, 2013
FSS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) [pdf]
UPDATED December 9, 2013
Questions and Answers associated with the Flats Sequencing Strategy
Postal Service to deliver packages in Chicago next two Sundays - SunTimes.com
December 13, 2013
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor church? If you see someone in a mail carrier uniform Sunday, itís not a scam. A huge upsurge in the number of packages means the U.S. Postal Service will deliver in the city the next two Sundays.
The Chicago Post Office will also start early-morning package delivery daily, with packages delivered before regular mail, a statement from the USPS said.
All delivery stations in the city ó except ZIP Codes 60612, 60624, 60644 and 60651 ó will see package delivery on Sundays, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22. Customers in several areas can also pick up packages at post offices on those days if a ďnotice leftĒ slip is left at their home.
Those include the Charles Hayes, Cicero, Clearing, Edgebrook/Lincolnwood, Fort Dearborn, Graceland, Lakeview, Mt. Greenwood/Alsip, Niles, Riverdale and Wicker Park postal offices. ....
APWU files amended complaint on mail delays - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 13, 2013
The APWU has filed an Amended Complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission providing more details about how the Postal Service is failing to meet service standards for the delivery of the mail. The Complaint asks the PRC "to cease and desist from making changes in its mail processing network that will cause it to violate service standards." In other words, the Postal Service should not proceed with the remaining plant consolidations scheduled for 2014. The Complaint describes dozens of examples of mail being delayed.
Click Here [pdf] to read amended complaint.
USPS to deliver mail in SWFL on certain Sundays - WinkNews.com
December 13, 2013
TAMPA Fla.ó Some Post Offices in the Suncoast District will deliver packages this Sunday and next Sunday (Dec. 15 and 22). Customers may also notice their letter carriers delivering earlier in the day.
The Sunday and earlier deliveries will take place in ZIP Codes in the Suncoast District that have significant increases in package volume. The Suncoast District includes Post Offices with the first three digits of the ZIP Code beginning with 321, 327, 328, 329, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 341, 342, 346 and 347.
These special Sunday deliveries in the Suncoast District are for the holiday season and are not part of the recently announced Amazon Sunday deliveries with the Postal Service that are taking place in Los Angeles and the New York metropolitan areas.
Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force learns of second USPS audit - LaJollaLight.com
December 12, 2013
It has been almost two years since the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced plans to sell La Jollaís post office at 1140 Wall St. and relocate its services to a smaller facility that USPS would lease within a mile of the Village.
Yet despite the community rallies, strategizing, appeals and bittersweet victories (community activists got the 1935 building designated as both local and federal historic landmarks), the USPS remains reticent to deliver news of its plans or time frame.
Still, the La Jolla Historical Societyís Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force continues its work behind the scenes to apply pressure to USPS officials and obtain whatever information it can about the process from the quasi-governmental agency. And the USPSís quasi-governmental status is part of the problem, maintains task force vice-chair Joe LaCava.
ďSometimes they act like theyíre a government and sometimes they act like theyíre a private business,Ē LaCava said. ďIt gets frustrating to the public when they kind of switch at their convenience to different roles.
ďNormally theyíre acting like, ĎHey, weíre a private business; we donít have to talk with you.í But then when it comes to a negotiated sale (which would keep its retail operation in the existing building), they say, ĎOh, weíre like the government; we canít do those kinds of special deals.í Itís that confusing message they continue to send that is frustrating.Ē ....
Via Federal Business Opportunities (FBO.gov):
Solicitation Number: 3A-14-A-0023 - RFI - Smart Stack Bundle Making System
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is investigating a new method for bundling flats called ďSmart StackĒ that will produce bundles of flats for automated processing without human intervention. The USPS is in search of a company that has expertise and experience in developing automated systems for producing bundles of flat mail with straps to demonstrate the Smart Stack bundle concept described in this RFI. The USPS is seeking information in accordance with Attachment A. Information received through this RFI may or may not be used in any forthcoming Request for Proposal (RFP). Interested parties that submit information will be considered as potential sources if the USPS moves forward with a RFP.
Solicitation Number: 3A-14-A-0024 - RFI - Smart Stack Loading & Unloading
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is investigating a new method for bundling flats called ďSmart StackĒ that will produce bundles of flats for automated processing without human intervention. The USPS is searching for a company that has expertise and experience in developing automated systems for loading and unloading material on pallets to demonstrate the Smart Stack concept described in this RFI. The USPS is seeking information in accordance with Attachment A. Information received through this RFI may or may not be used in any forthcoming Request for Proposal (RFP). Interested parties that submit information will be considered as potential sources if the USPS moves forward with a RFP.
Congressman Wants Answers about Santa Monica Post Office Parking
December 12, 2013
U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman is asking the United States Postal Service (USPS) to make good on its promise to provide customers with on-site parking at the relocated postal facility in Santa Monica.
In a letter to the Postmaster General Wednesday, Waxman echoed reports published in The Lookout last week that residents fear the on-street parking at the replacement facility at 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard is inadequate and unsafe.
ďThe Carrier Annex opened for business on July 1, 2013, and there is still no on-site customer parking,Ē wrote Waxman, who tried to block the closure of the Downtown Santa Monica facility that had served the bayside city for 75 years.
ďI am hearing from residents that the available street parking is not only insufficient, but potentially dangerous,Ē Waxman wrote. ďMany feel they are risking an accident every time they back out of the available parking spots into oncoming traffic.Ē
USPS News Link - ĎAn optimist by natureí
PMG says USPS has positive future
December 11, 2013
The PMG remains optimistic that Congress will approve legislation allowing the integration of Medicare into the retiree health benefits system, authorizing 5-day delivery service for the mail and adjusting payments USPS makes to the Federal Employeesí Retirement System. ďLetís fixÖthese problems,Ē he says. ďThen, companies will know weíre financially healthy and theyíll be more apt to work with us.Ē
USPS OIG: Your Ads Ė and Yours Alone
December 11, 2013
"Tell us what you think! Do you think customers would be inclined to access an interactive system to record advertising preferences if it meant special offers or more targeted mailings in the future?"
APWU Web News Article #135-13, Dec. 11, 2013
APWU Calls on PRC To Investigate Delayed Mail
Missing Teenís Letter Took Two Weeks To Reach Mother, Szeredy Tells Panel
APWU Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy called on the Postal Regulatory Commission to conduct an investigation into delayed mail at the agencyís public meeting on Dec. 11.
Szeredy described a Dec. 7 CNN report about a missing 16 year old girl from Conway NH who wrote to her mother within two weeks of her disappearance.
The letter was dated Oct. 22 and was postmarked Oct. 23, but it wasnít delivered to Abigail Hernandezís mother until Nov. 6, more than two weeks later, federal and state authorities told reporters at a news conference.
ďI am a mother and if my son was abducted and he had tried to reach me through a letter I would be outraged that it took two weeks to reach me,Ē Szeredy told commissioners. ďWhat upsets me is that I know that a plant in New Hampshire was consolidated.Ē
Mail processing plants are being consolidated all over the country, she said, and have adversely affected the mail service in a very drastic way. The APWU has received reports of lengthy mail delays and of what appear to be management attempts to hide the delays, Szeredy told the panel.
ďI am requesting that the PRC investigate why Abigailís letter took over two weeks to reach her mother.Ē
Szeredy also reminded commissioners about Tyson Barnette, a 26 year old Letter Carrier who was murdered on Nov. 22 while delivering mail on a dark street in Maryland at 7:30 p.m. Consolidations have forced Letter Carriers all over the country to deliver mail late at night, she said.
ďYou are now seeing the USPS privatize our work, take away good union postal jobs, destroying our service network, and closing post offices to place them in retail stores,Ē she said. ďPostal workers are highly trained to secure the mail, protect the mail, and provide the best service to our customers.
ďWe have to save our service and itís not only my job, but it is the PRCís job too,Ē she said.
Webcast of December 11, 2013 PRC Meeting - PRC.gov [47MB - mp3]
APWU VP Szeredy's comments are at 44:25 minutes into recording.
Holidays highlight the value of rural U.S. Post Offices - ClaytonCountyRegister.com
December 11, 2013
With the holiday season upon us, many will find their mailboxes fuller than usual. Cards, letters, and packages containing the perfect gift for someone special pass through the hands of careful postal workers to safely reach our homes. Our dependence on the United States Postal Service begs the question Ė Where would we be without them?
Though closing is a very real threat for many post offices in rural areas, Guttenberg Postmaster Nancy Ungs doesnít expect itís something the city will have to deal with anytime soon. ďWeíre the largest city in the county, so I donít see that happening as long as revenue stays up.Ē Guttenbergís post office is currently a level 18 office. If it were to drop a level, window hours would be reduced but the office would remain.
The USPS owns approximately 8,000 post offices and leases another 25,000. The building that houses Guttenbergís post office is one of 12 in the state owned by Governor Terry Branstad.
An organization known as the Association of U.S. Postal Lessors (AUSPL) states that some 90% of all post offices in rural America are leased, and that rural post offices are most vulnerable. AUSPL is making a concerted effort to communicate with Congressional members in rural America, where the Post Office network is critical. ....
Not Only Are They Selling Off Our Post Offices, They're Union Busting To Boot! - DailyKos.com
December 10, 2013
The Postal Service has been attempting to sell off some of the most architecturally stunning and valuable real estate it owns on the cheap for a while now, ostensibly to raise capital. Now those who run the Postal Service and their masters are taking the next step in the dismantling of the US Post Office: union busting. ....
Harlem's College Station post office may be sold and "relocated" - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 9, 2013
The Postal Service has announced plans to close and sell another historic post office. The College Station post office on 140th Street in in Harlem was built under the New Deal, and itís been serving the neighborhood since 1937. It looks like 2014 may be its last year of operation.
As usual, the Postal Service says it plans to open a replacement facility somewhere in the neighborhood, so the closure is classified as a ďrelocationĒ and hence not subject to the stringent public notification and participation requirements of a regular discontinuance.
The Postal Serviceís real estate specialist Joseph Mulvey, who has overseen numerous such relocations in the northeast, is once again running the show in New York. He has arranged to speak about the College Station relocation at a meeting of the Manhattan Community Board later this week. Thatís the only opportunity the public is likely to have for a face-to-face meeting with postal officials.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, December 12, at 6:30 p.m. The Postal Serviceís public notice [pdf] is not dated, so itís not clear when elected officials and College Station customers were told about the meeting. But it was only today that the APWU got an email about the planned relocation ó just three days before the meeting. ....
New Mail-Sorting Process Causing Unnecessary Delays in Ketchikan - SitNews.us
December 9, 2013
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Without apparently any public process, the United States Postal Service (USPS ) made a decision recently to change its longstanding practice for processing mail in Ketchikan and is now flying the mail to Juneau for processing, then back to Ketchikan.
In a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) said the decision to change how Ketchikan mail is sorted was made several months ago with apparently no public notice. At that time the USPS decided to transport all mail deposited at the Ketchikan post over over 200 miles by air to Juneau where it would be sorted. The Ketchikan-destined mail is then returned by air to Ketchikan. A plan which Begich says is inefficient and does not take Southeast Alaska weather delays into account. ....
Ralph Nader Wants You to Save the Post Office - BusinessWeek.com
December 10, 2013
Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate and presidential candidate, has inundated the U.S. Postal Service for decades with suggestions. Even in better times, he was concerned that American citizens were being short changed by the agency, which lost $5 billion last year, thanks to the proliferation of e-mail and the added burden of having to pre-pay its retiree health benefits. Today, Nader is more adamant than ever that stamp buyers should have a say in the USPSís fate. He talked to me about how to fix the USPS post office and how he relishes going to the post office. ....
APWU Web News Article #132-13, Dec. 10, 2013
Budget Negotiators Threaten Postal, Federal Pay, Benefits
Congressional budget negotiators are engaged in closed-door deal-making that could reduce the take-home pay of postal workers and federal employees; reduce retirement benefits; eliminate postal jobs, and weaken the Postal Service, APWU leaders have learned.
President Mark Dimondstein is asking all union members ó and their families and friends ó to contact their U.S. senators and representatives and urge them to reject any such deal. ...
USPS Targeted Too
Postal unions are also are deeply concerned by reports that budget conferees are considering proposals to eliminate Saturday delivery, which would weaken the U.S. Postal Service, eliminate tens of thousands of jobs, and derail the agencyís fledgling recovery.
ďAs you know, the Postal Service does not contribute to the deficit, receives no taxpayer money, and has recently shown an operating surplus,Ē Dimondstein said in his letter to Pelosi.
ďCongress can best support the USPS by eliminating the mandate of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which requires the USPS to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees ó a burden no other government agency or private company bears. To strengthen the USPS, Congress also must protect service standards and allow the USPS to offer new services that will create new sources of revenue,Ē he said.
NALC announces creation of network to address safety issues - NALC.org
Network also will address offices with routine mail delivery well past traditional delivery hours
Dec. 9, 2013óNALC President Fredric V. Rolando has released the following statement on a new joint effort to identify and address safety issues that pose threats to Americaís letter carriers:
"The dedicated men and women who deliver our nationís mail should not work in environments that pose threats to their health or safety. I approached the Postal Service with the idea of identifying and addressing what poses such threats. After a meeting with high-level USPS management, we have agreed to establish a nationwide network to jointly look at offices with safety issues, whether during the daylight hours or after dark, and at those offices that routinely deliver mail well past traditional delivery hours.
This nationwide network will identify the cause of these issues in each office and address them based on the facts and needs of each office. While there are common causes of some problems, the causes of safety issues often differ from office to office, so the solutions will differ as well. Identifying the causes will involve looking at all factors including letter carrier start times, transportation schedules, staffing, route adjustments and the structure of routes, just to name a few.
We are committed to identifying the true causes of these safety issues and addressing them in a way that provides the highest level of safety to letter carriers and highest level of service to postal customers. NALC will spare no effort to keep letter carriers safe."
Postal Service Woes Threaten To Limit ĎOperation Santaí Effort - CBSLA.com
December 9, 2013
LOS ANGELES ó The fallout from ongoing financial troubles for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could end up reaching as far as the North Pole this Christmas.
For the first time in more than a century, a number of childrenís letters addressed to Santa Claus may go unanswered, according to postal volunteers. ....
Itís a Bird, Itís a Plane, Itís . . . Your Package?!? - USPSOIG.gov
December 9, 2013
"What are your thoughts on these delivery drones? Is driver-free, aerial delivery the answer to the growing demands of consumers? Is this a feasible option for the Postal Service in the coming years? Or could it be more like the Postal Serviceís ill-fated test of ďrocket mailĒ from the late 1950s where a cruise missile loaded with mail launched from a submarine? That experiment didnít gain traction."
Letter to the Editor: On US postal rates - PostAndParcel.info
December 9, 2013
USPS Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman responds to our article reporting mailersí demands that US postal regulators reject above-inflation price rise proposals.
Communities and Postal Workers United (CPWU) Newsletter [pdf]
DecóJan, 2014 -- No Closures! No Cuts! No Delay of the Mail! -- www.cpwunited.com
The Grand Alliance [pdf]
by Paul Felton, retired postal worker
The future of mail service, I regret
Is under a rather serious threat
The source of the problems, you see
Are Congress and the PMG
Their plans are guaranteed to fail
To efficiently handle the mail
They give us all a song and dance
That it makes sense to close some plants
And they just seem to think its fine
To make the customers wait in line
And everyone has heard them say
We donít need mail on Saturday
Their plan for mailboxes in a cluster
Quite simply just does not pass muster
They would require granny to go
To the next block in three feet of snow
Their plan for the future also robs
Communities of good-paying jobs
The PO always was a place
That hires folks of every race
And to show how ugly this thing gets
Thereíll be less jobs for all our vets
Their lies we shouldnít be believiní
USPS can still break even
Congress created this big mess
They donít care about us, I guess
What we must do is stand and fight
And all our forces must unite
We must break down those barriers
That divide clerks and carriers
And those on the dock who handle mail
Or fix the machines when they fail
For our fight there are lots of troops
From Civil Rights leaders to Veterans groups
And to prevent a mail disaster
Talk to your rabbi, priest or pastor
Everyone from the charity donor
To the hard working business owner
Can be brought over to our side
To create a tremendous tide
To save the service, itís not too late
Weíve got to march and demonstrate
And visit, phone or write some letters
That Congress needs to do much better
But thatís not where our struggle ends
Weíve got to talk to all our friends
Our neighbors we see in their yards
Or the people with whom we play cards
The plan to wreck the postal service
Should make most everybody nervous
So all of us should simply go
And talk to everyone we know
It really isnít rocket science
Weíve got to build a Grand Alliance
Dimondstein Issues Call For a ĎGrand Allianceí - APWU.org
Customer and employee rights - NALC.org
when USPS solicits customers to change to centralized delivery
December 7, 2013
Dec. 1, 2013óNALC has recently become aware of an effort by the Postal Service in different parts of the country to convince customers to agree to change their mode of delivery to cluster box or centralized delivery. The following information details the rights of both postal customers and letter carriers:
Sections 631.6 and 631.7 of the Postal Operations Manual (POM) govern conversion of mode of mail delivery. A conversion is changing from one mode of delivery to another. The most common example of this occurs when USPS solicits customers to change from receiving mail at their door to a centralized location where a number of deliveries are made into a cluster box. In such cases the customers have to go to the cluster box to retrieve their mail.
As letter carriers know, these changes are often pushed without regard for the safety of the customers or the security of the mail. The relevant language from the POM is shown below followed by a brief explanation highlighting a few key points. ....
Looking forward: Ten reasons to think twice about Metro Post - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 8, 2013
Whether Metro Post succeeds or fails or just does so-so probably won't mean much in the long run. It's basically just another distraction. The main storyline is that First Class mail volumes continue to decline, and rather than improving service to curb the decline, the Postal Service has chosen to abandon its flagship product and gone searching for new sources of revenue. It has relaxed delivery standards and made First Class less reliable, so that at this point it's hard to say how much of the decline is due to the economy, the Internet, or the Postal Service's own actions.
It's of course important for the Postal Service to be innovative, but is putting postal units in Staples, delivering on Sundays for Amazon Prime, providing same-day delivery for 1-800-Flowers, and promoting Harry Potter and SpongeBob what the country really needs? Is that how you bind the nation together? Why not work on innovations that help America, like offering more government services at post offices, participating more fully with the Census, extending banking services to help the millions of unbanked, and things like that?
The Postal Service is perfectly capable of thriving in the modern digital world, and itís not heading toward irrelevance and extinction. But the last thing we need is for the Postal Service to start taking risks in quest of the quick buck. When the financial industry got carried away in its infatuation for junk bonds, subprime mortgages, and credit default swaps, it nearly destroyed our economy. If the banks had been more conservative, weíd all be a lot better off today ó and the Postal Service would be in much better shape too.
Post office closing irks customers - GoDanRiver.com
United States Postal Service: No plans to permanently close Main Street faculty
December 8, 2013
Customers at the Main Street post office were stunned Monday when they arrived to find a letter taped to the front doors telling them all services were suspended due to a failed safety and health inspection ó but a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service said Friday that the situation is not permanent.
Cathy Yarosky, a communications programs specialist for the USPS, said it will take some time to assess what the problems are and how long it will take to fix them ó but said the USPS ďhas no plans to [permanently] close this office.Ē
Locally, customers were upset about the lack of notice and fears that the closure was permanent. ďIt came as a total shock to find the doors locked, the mail slots covered in cardboard and a lack of any notice Ö,Ē Susan Stilwell, who lives and works downtown, said. ....
Berkeley making the rounds to save its historic post office - LATimes.com
December 7, 2013
BERKELEY, Calif. ó Plenty of communities have resisted the U.S. Postal Service's sweeping real estate sell-off, battling to keep open historic buildings that speak of bygone civic grandeur and to guarantee old-fashioned mail service for the public.
Few have succeeded.
But this is Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement and protracted protests over civil rights, Vietnam and more. So when the postal service announced plans to sell Berkeley's 1914 Second Renaissance Revival-style main post office, decorated in New Deal-era art and situated in the heart of the liberal city's Civic Center, the town rose up.
Opponents staged a 33-day encampment on its steps, and the mayor and entire City Council joined forces to block the sale, with backing from U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and state legislators. ....
Amazon, Postal Service may want to think about a merger - DailyHerald.com
December 8, 2013
The news that Amazon had essentially hired the U.S. Postal Service to deliver on Sundays was both surprising and completely sensible.
The partnership of a floundering, old-world institution and perhaps the nation's most future-oriented tech company ó Amazon's strategy is to take losses today in the service of profits down the road ó would at first seem incongruous. As my colleague Brian Fung outlined, though, teaming up for Sunday delivery gives both an edge over the competition that could force the rest of the industry to adapt.
So why stop there? Amazon and the USPS have lots more to gain from each other ó and an outright merger might maximize the best qualities of both. ....
20 Facts That Will Shatter Your Perception Of The U.S. Postal Service - BuzzFeed.com
Yes, Iím talking about the mail delivery service. IT GETS PRETTY WILD.
December 5, 2013
(US)PS I love you: It's time to save this institution - Bakersfield.com
December 7, 2013
"According to Bowyer, a job at the post office used to be a prestigious position in society, just a notch below doctor or minister. Postal workers were considered people of high character: Abe Lincoln was the postmaster of New Salem, Ill. This was before the 1971 conversion, before the competition of delivery services like FedEx or UPS, before the Internet, and before the phrase "going postal" meant losing one's mind and shooting one's co-workers.
Today's postal service is at an unfair disadvantage, in that a 2006 law requires the USPS to pre-fund 100 percent of its future obligations to employees' health plans for 75 years into the future. This is an undue burden, as no other agency pre-funds at more than 30 percent. Before 2006, the post office was making a modest profit. With this hefty requirement, on paper the post office is now broke. The fallout from this law has prompted calls to end Saturday mail delivery, and to consolidate local post offices into regional centers. These steps could facilitate the death of the USPS.
Although we complain about the postal service, the mail has touched every American life in some way, from manuscripts to magazines, from bills to official business, from birthday greetings to condolences to Christmas cards. More importantly, the USPS symbolizes democracy. It embodies the American ideal that the playing field of life is level, and that everyone has an equal chance for success: A stamp can launch a career. A book of stamps can change the world."
New Post Office Opens In Raleigh, Will Be Open 7 Days A Week - RaleighTelegram.com
December 6, 2013
RALEIGH Ė According to the United States Postal Service, a new contract post office has now opened in Raleigh. The USPS says the new office has virtually all of the services of a regular post office.
The USPS says that Carlie Cís IGA of Garner Boulevard Contract Postal Unit (CPU), located at 1514 Garner Station Blvd, Raleigh will be open seven days a week from Monday Ė Sunday, 8 am Ė 9 pm. ....
In Alabama town, snail mail comes by boat - USAToday.com
December 7, 2013
MAGNOLIA SPRINGS, Ala. Ė Neither rain, nor snow, nor the occasional alligator keeps Mark Lipscomb from completing his U.S. Postal Service rounds. But the the odd hurricane may delay delivery for a day or two.
Lipscomb has been delivering mail to people who live along Week's Bay and the Magnolia and Fish rivers here for nine years . His mode of transportation isn't the usual, white U.S. Postal Service vehicle. It's a 15-foot-long Alumacraft boat with a semi-V hull.
"It's a unique job. It's a very special job," Lipscomb says. "It has it's share of challenges." Lipscomb works the only water delivery mail route in the country, said Debbie Fetterly , spokeswoman in Alabama for the U.S Postal Service. The route started in 1915. While budget troubles have forced the closure of several post offices the last couple of years, there are no plans to close this route, which serves about 180 homes along its 31 mile length , Fetterly said.
It takes Lipscomb about two hours each day to sort the mail at the Magnolia Springs post office, located in Baldwin County just a few miles east of Mobile Bay. Boating the route usually takes about four hours a day . The craft rarely comes to a complete stop and residents sometimes leave their mailboxes open for speedy insertion. ....
Post office to process mail, deliver packages in northern Ohio next two Sundays for holiday season - NewsNet5.com
December 6, 2013
CLEVELAND - The US Postal Service announced Friday that it will cancel and process mail in Cleveland and deliver packages throughout northern Ohio the next two Sundays.
Mail carriers will deliver parcels in many locations throughout the region on Sunday, Dec. 8 and 15, a news release from the U.S. Postal Service said. ....
Bexley Residents Frustrated By Mail Delivery Delays - NBC4i.com
December 5, 2013
BEXLEY, Ohio - Residents in Bexley said they've had it with their mail service after incidents when their mail hasn't been delivered for days at a time. "We have been here 25 years. We have never had a problem like this, and it's very worrisome. It's worrisome especially this time of year when there are gift cards and there are checks in the mail," said Sheila Klein, a Bexley resident.
Klein said she noticed she had a new mail carrier, and that her mail was being delivered progressively later. Then, it was hit-and-miss -- if her mail was delivered at all. "We received no mail Monday or Tuesday, and the way, of course, we realized it was we had outgoing mail in the slot to be picked up, and it was never picked up," Klein said. She said she talked to neighbors and discovered that it wasn't just her home. The problem was widespread, she said. ....
Press Release (via PostCom.org) [pdf]:
Today, a broad coalition of postal customers and suppliers issued the following statement applauding the Postal Regulatory Commissionís (PRC) action on the Full-Service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) mandate. The coalitionís statement reads:
ďWe are very supportive of the Postal Service's efforts to add intelligence to the mailstream. Increased adoption of Full-Service IMb will help the United States Postal Service (USPS) reduce its costs, improve the accuracy and timeliness of deliveries, and add value to mail. ďHowever, mandating adoption of this technology to qualify for certain postage rates will result in substantial rate hikes for many mailers. The Commission should be commended for requiring the Postal Service to account for this rate hike when evaluating USPS compliance with the price cap. Any other decision would have enabled the Postal Service to impose above-inflation rate increases through changes in mailing rules. The inflation-based price cap is the only protection that mailers have against the Postal Serviceís monopoly powers and potentially excessive rate increases. ďWe appreciate that the Commission is working to preserve the integrity of the price cap and prevent unlawful rate hikes.Ē
Coalition members include: MPA-The Association of Magazine Media, Association for Postal Commerce, Direct Marketing Association, Inc., Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Association of Marketing Service Providers, Major Mailers Association, National Newspaper Association, Printing Industries of America, Quad/Graphics, Inc., R.R. Donnelley and Software and Information Industry Association/American Business Media.
Nickelodeon, Postal Service Promote Letter Writing - GiftsAndDec.com
December 5, 2013
Click on image to enlarge
NEW YORK - Nickelodeon and the United States Postal Service are launching SpongeBob MailPants, a letter-writing program that will help encourage kids to write, send and receive mail during the holiday season. ....
Juneau postal clerks brought in to help with Skagway mail - ADN.com
December 5, 2013
JUNEAU -- A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service says the agency has sent a couple clerks from Juneau to help ease staffing problems at the Skagway post office.
Ernie Swanson says there had been issues with two clerks at the Skagway office being absent or unavailable to work. He says he believes the staffing issues have been addressed with the decision to bring in the Juneau clerks.
Swanson could not say how long the Juneau clerks would be in Skagway, which also has an acting postmaster. He says there should be no service disruptions in Juneau as a result of the change.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday asked Skagway residents to report any service disruptions or other concerns with the Skagway office to a special email address.
U.S. Postal Service to Test Same-Day Delivery in New York - Bloomberg.com
December 5, 2013
The U.S. Postal Service plans to test same-day delivery in the New York metropolitan area for the next year, expanding a pilot program it started a year ago in San Francisco to win business from online retailers.
The Postal Service disclosed its intention to expand the same-day distribution test to the biggest U.S. metropolitan area in a regulatory filing yesterday. The move comes three weeks after it struck a deal with Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) to deliver the retailerís shipments on Sundays in New York and Los Angeles. ....
USPS: 'Mail delivery broke, service ok' - WTHITV.com
December 3, 2013
As if the post office isn't busy enough already, it's prime-time shipping season now through the first of the year. Changes in the post office, mean changes in your delivery, notably, that Terre Haute, Indiana's processing plant closed in 2013, and mail sent from Terre Haute zip codes to Terre Haute zip codes is shipped to Indianapolis for processing and then back to Terre Haute. According to AFL-CIO Union leaders, Indianapolis is taking a majority of mail services from across the state, slowing down its production.
Several News 10 viewers sent e-mails, and phone calls to the newsroom asking why they were getting their mail after dark. News 10 confirmed some letter carriers are working later hours, after seeing one driver on Terre Haute's south side Tuesday around 6:30 P.M.
"First of all they have to sort the mail at these plants and then ship them out to those outlying areas, so for instance Terre Haute used to have a plant here, it doesn't anymore, the mail here goes to Indianapolis gets sorted and then has to be shipped back," said John Triplett, President Letter Carriers' Association.
Triplett noted, if mail takes longer to process, it takes longer to get Terre Haute drivers on the road. "If the mail comes at 6:00 you can start at 6:30 but if it doesn't come at 7:00 you can't start at 6:30, consequently you're starting later," he said. ....
APWU Web News Article #131-13, Dec. 3, 2013
PRC Ruling: One More Week To Prove USPS is Violating Service Standards
In a ruling responding to a complaint filed by the APWU, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued an order [PDF] on Nov. 27 giving the APWU two weeks to submit additional evidence that the Postal Service is regularly violating its own mandatory service standards. (Order No. 182, Case No. C2013-10)
The APWU complaint alleges that the Postal Serviceís failure to comply with its overnight delivery standards for first-class mail and periodicals is denying the APWU and its locals ó as customers ó as well as other mailers, the level of service required by USPS regulations.
The PRC Order requires the APWU to describe the violations and the evidence it intends to demand from the Postal Service to prove those violations ďwith greater specificity.Ē
APWU Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy called on locals to provide evidence of managementís failure to meet service standards. ďPlease send information as quickly as possible,Ē she said, ďso that we can demonstrate the disastrous effect consolidation is having on mail service.Ē
In two other aspects of the case, the PRC Order dismissed for lack of evidence APWU claims that the Postal Service has implemented a new network plan without seeking PRC review and that the USPS is denying rural areas service that is being provided to more urban areas.
Why I did it and whatís at stake: Shining the light on NSAs - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 3, 2013
"Dividing postal products into market-dominant and competitive products further undermined the notion of the Postal Service as a provider of a public service. The division codified the view that some aspects of the Postal Service were extraneous to its public service mission and existed solely to compete with private sector offerings and presumably earn profits.
The problem with this view is that it quickly undermines any rationale for public service, replacing it with a full-speed-ahead approach towards turning our nationís postal network into little more than a business proposition. Placed in a situation of serving two distinct and often opposing missions, policy makers and postal leadership have not surprisingly taken the easier road of defining the Postal Service as a profit-seeking enterprise.
A public service mission is difficult to fulfill. It requires constant evaluation, assessment, and institutional self-examination. Defining efficiency and success in a public service is much more complex than the more clear-cut metric of profitability in a business enterprise. A business can content itself with measuring success in dollars and cents, whereas the success of a public service is measured, at least in part, by intangibles like enhancing social value, maintaining community identity, and promoting universal service and access. These measures may be less concrete than profit, but they are certainly no less valuable."
USPS Rolls Out Same-Day Delivery Service in New York - EcommerceBytes.com
December 3, 2013
Everyone is talking about same-day delivery this week after Amazon revealed on Sunday it was working to develop drones that could deliver packages to customer doorsteps in 30 minutes. But for those not wanting to wait years for Amazon's octocopters, the USPS has already been testing same-day delivery in San Francisco, and EcommerceBytes has learned it has begun rolling out the program in beta in New York City as well.
The USPS rolled out its Metro Post same-day delivery service in New York on Monday beginning with two customers that have both online and retail presences. The USPS had rolled out its Metro Post early-stage pilot program in San Francisco this time last year with a single retailer - 1-800-FLOWERS.com. At the outset, the Metro Post trial was available only to a select group of large retailers with stores in San Francisco. ....
This is a good read and in my opinion captures the essence of our current struggle with the Congressionally manufactured USPS fiscal crisis. - RZ
Keeping Postage Public - Jacobinmag.com
November 29, 2013
"The PAEA mandates that over the course of just 10 years, the USPS must pre-fund healthcare benefits for the next 75 years of retirees. That means diverting $5.5 billion annually to a fund set aside for future retirees ó workers who havenít even been hired yet. And this on top of the normal cost of covering current employees and retirees. No other entity, public or private, is required to do this. Worse, the USPS might be overpaying: the PAEA calculates future liabilities based on the assumption that the rate of health care cost inflation will average around 7 percent, whereas the actuary industry standard is closer to 5 percent.
This pre-funding mandate is the principal reason the USPS is in the precarious position itís in today. Without it, the postal service would be comfortably out of the red, even turning an operational profit.
Itís worth remembering how the USPS as we know it today came to be: the Postal Service is one of the few government agencies explicitly enshrined by the Constitution, but in 1970 it was transformed after one of the biggest wildcat strikes in American history. The walkoff dealt with a number of grievances: from low wages and almost non-existent benefits, to unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, to being denied the right to collectively bargain, to the unfair treatment of black workers. In the spring of 1970, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers Local 36 in Manhattan struck without authorization from union officials. The strike spontaneously spread all over the country, inspiring more and more workers to join. The mail delivery system came to a screeching halt, causing the stock market to fall and prompting Nixon to call in the National Guard and declare a national state of emergency.
The result? The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, codifying fair wages and working conditions, anti-discrimination measures, and the right for workers to collectively bargain. It also established what we recognize now as the defining features of the USPS: ďthe obligation to provide postal services that bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the peopleĒ and to ďprovide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas andÖ all communities.Ē
Since then, of course, laborís fate has declined precipitously. Such massive work stoppages have all but disappeared, and the bargaining power of public sector unions and organized labor generally has eroded."
UPS Praises Postal Service's Improvements, But Not Its Rate Hikes - Dead Tree Edition blog
December 2, 2013
United Parcel Service recently praised ďimpressive efforts by the Postal Service to reduce costs and improve productivityĒ but criticized USPS's request for emergency rate hikes.
The Postal Serviceís request for ďexigentĒ rate increases on ďMarket-DominantĒ mail is ďan unsustainable business model which can only lead to continued postal deficits and more requests to exceed the rate cap,Ē UPS wrote in a filing [pdf] last week with the Postal Regulatory Commission. Instead, USPSís ďCompetitiveĒ products should bear a larger share of the agencyís institutional costs, according to UPS, which is a major competitor, customer, and vendor of the Postal Service. ....
Postal Groups Call for End to After-Dark Mail Deliveries - GovExec.com
December 2, 2013
Letter carriers should no longer deliver mail after dark, one group representing employees at the U.S. Postal Service has said in light of the recent shooting of a postal worker at 7:30 p.m. while on the job in Maryland.
The Community and Postal Workers United -- a group of activists from various postal unions -- blamed the death of Tyson Barnette, a part-time USPS worker, on mismanagement at the agency. The consolidations of mail processing centers and a lack of adequate staffing has caused carriers to start later in the day, CPWU said, which has in turn led to after-dark deliveries.
Mark Dimonstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, also pointed to plant closures as the impetus for night delivery. In a statement, APWU quoted a eulogy from Barnetteís coworker, saying USPS must never again ďlose a life to save a dollar.Ē
ďLet this tragedy serve as a wakeup call,Ē Dimonstein said. ďManagement must take the necessary steps to strengthen service and safety.Ē
In light of the shooting, the Postal Service inspector general has launched a ďseries of audits into the delivery of mail after 5 p.m.,Ē according to an OIG spokeswoman. The IGís office had previously investigated the timing of mail delivery, but decided to extend that research after Barnetteís death.
Why Postal Workers are Planning to Picket Your Local Staples Store - BusinessWeek.com
December 2, 2013
In November, the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service unveiled a plan to open 84 post offices in Staples stores around the country. The agency says this is part of its ďretail expansion.Ē But itís really about cutting costs: The Staplesí outlets wonít be staffed by USPS clerks, who are union members.
Mark Dimondstein, the recently elected president of the American Postal Workers Union, is pushing back hard. ďThis is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,Ē Dimondstein said on Nov. 26. ďThe APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail.Ē
Dimondsteinís objections are understandable. The USPS-Staples partnership isnít good news for his members. Unfortunately, this is something the postal service must do. About 78 percent of its costs are personnel-related. As mail volume declines, it needs fewer employees. It also has to cut costs so it has money to cover the pricey health benefits of its present and future retirees. ....
A gallery of vintage post offices and mail carriers - NJ.com
Collection of Vintage Photos
December 2, 2013
Since the very birth of our nation, Americans have been able to get a parcel from one location to another with relative ease. It's simple -- we put postage on a letter or package, drop it in a box, leave it with our letter carrier or present it to a clerk and it gets where it needs to go.
Since 1775, when the Second Continental Congress called for ďa line of posts . . . from Falmouth in New England to Savannah in Georgia" and appointed Benjamin Franklin the country's first Postmaster General, the USPS has been growing and changing to meet the mail needs of the nation. A handful of historic changes include: starting the Pony Express in 1860, introducing airmail in 1918, offering Express Mail in 1970, launching a public Internet site in 1994 and introducing an iPhone app in 2009.
According to usps.com, the government agency has "a single, great principle: that every person in the United States Ė no matter who, no matter where Ė has the right to equal access to secure, efficient, and affordable mail service." The cost to mail a letter anywhere in the country has only risen from 2 cents in 1885 to 46 cents today.
And, although contrary to public perception, there is no Ďofficialí USPS motto or creed, the well-known words chiseled into the James Farley Post Office in New York City ring true: ďNeither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.Ē That is, the days when the USPS has not delivered due to inclement weather are few and far between.
So, make no mistake, even with e-mail, text messaging and tweets, the USPS continues to manage our mail -- whether delivery of a holiday greeting or payment of a bill. This year, the postal service expects to process a total of 15 billion pieces of mail and packages between Thanksgiving and New Yearís Eve.
USPS OIG Semiannual Report to Congress - April 1 ó September 30, 2013 - USPSOIG.gov [pdf]
December 2, 2013
The U.S. Postal Service has had an impressive track record of success in the face of competing technologies, such as the telegraph, telephone, and computers. Successive predictions of the Postal Serviceís demise were greatly exaggerated, to borrow a phrase. But the digital revolution, with its smart devices, and social networking, has proven to be an especially challenging period. Creative destruction is weakening many of the nationís business sectors and public infrastructures.
While the digital age has ushered in major changes in communications, the Postal Serviceís mission to bind the nation together has remained largely unchanged. It is past time to provide the Postal Service the tools it must have to adapt its business model for a new era of communications while retaining the valuable infrastructure that serves American citizens and commerce.
Likewise, the Office of Inspector Generalís commitment to integrity, accountability, and transparency remains steady even as the tools we use to achieve our goals continually evolve. Collaboration, data analytics, and modeling have enhanced our work, helping us to focus on high-risk, high-value work. We can now proactively pursue risks and work the best cases in a shorter period of time. We are collaborating with the Postal Service to model data across program areas for more timely, relevant, and actionable products.
The Semiannual Report to Congress, for the reporting period of April 1 through September 30, 2013, features overviews of our key audit and investigative work in the period, as well as special reports and white papers.
The appendices provide detailed information on audit reports and their recommendations, investigative cases pursued in the period, and monetary impacts of our work. In this reporting period, we issued 114 reports, including audit reports and management advisories, which resulted in about $13.5 billion in monetary impact. We completed 2,143 investigations that led to 332 arrests and nearly $80 million in fines, restitutions, and recoveries, of which $74 million went to the Postal Service.
I look forward to working with the Governors, Congress, and Postal Service management as we address the challenges ahead. With the support of these groups, the OIG will continue to play a key role in maintaining the integrity and accountability of Americaís postal service, its revenue and assets, and its employees through our audit and investigative work.
David C. Williams
USPS agrees to defer barcode requirements for US mailers - PostAndParcel.info
December 2, 2013
The US Postal Service has shelved plans to require business mailers to use its full service Intelligent Mail barcode in order to claim discounts for machine-sortable mailings.
The Postal Service had wanted to bring in the requirement for use of the barcode to improve the tracking capabilities of business mail services and the efficiency of the postal network.
But regulators ruled last month that it could not bring in the requirement at the same time as price increases, planned for 26 January 2014.
The Postal Regulatory Committee said the barcode requirement would have constituted an extra cost for businesses, and therefore was effectively an extra price increase for using postal services, which should be limited within the same inflation-based annual price cap.
USPS was offered the choice of delaying the barcode requirement or adjusting prices by a smaller amount next month.
On Friday the Postal Service confirmed under protest that it will defer the barcode requirement until a later date Āgafter 2014.Āć ....
Going postal! Loved and loathed post offices to move early next year - BrooklynPaper.com
December 2, 2013
Two Brooklyn post offices will soon need to fill out change-of-address forms.
The Clinton Hill post office near the Pratt Institute and the notoriously dirty and disorganized Boerum Hill post office near the Barclays Center will finish out their leases in the first half of 2014. The private owners of both buildings are telling the mail houses to scram and make way for new tenants, a local community board leader said. Some neighbors who have relied on the post offices for decades are down in the dumps about the impending closures. ....
Amazon Prime Air - Amazon.com
December 1, 2013
We're excited to share Prime Air ó something the team has been working on in our next generation R&D lab.
The goal of this new delivery system is to get packages into customers' hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles.
Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations.
Check out this footage from a recent test flight.
It's Sunday and the Postman Cometh: Mysteries of the Amazon deal, continued - SaveThePostOffice.com
December 1, 2013
The arrangement between the Postal Service and Amazon to deliver packages to members of Amazon Prime on Sundays continues to make news, but details about the deal remain scant. In a post a few days ago, we speculated about how much the Postal Service might be making, and we took a look at a PRC docket that might have been about the Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) on the deal. We were wrong on both counts, but not by much.
It looked like the deal was covered in Docket Number CP2014-3, which was about an NSA that was approved on November 7, just a few days before the Amazon deal was announced. This NSA involved Priority Mail, which one assumed was how Amazon would be able to ensure that orders made on Friday would be delivered on Sunday.
As it turns out, however, Amazon will be mailing its parcels using the much less expensive Parcel Select, as we learned from a reader who also pointed us to the correct docket, CP2014-1. Not that the docket reveals very much. The language in the filings is very vague, and the USPS-Amazon contract included in the docket is almost entirely blacked out (as you can see at the bottom of this post). The PRC approved the Amazon NSA on October 29 in Order No. 1863.
Retired postmaster Mark Jamison, who has contributed to a number of PRC dockets and who writes regularly for Save the Post Office, has requested permission to see the non-public materials in CP2014-1. Amazon and the Postal Service have filed comments opposing his request, and it's not certain what the PRC will do. Even if he's granted access, Mr. Jamison will not be permitted to share what he learns, so all we can do is continue speculating. ....
Troubled postal service is branching out - Telegram.com
December 1, 2013
Visitors to office products retailer Staples, on Lincoln Street in Worcester, have probably noticed that the U.S. Postal Service has moved into the store's Copy Center. This is part of the federal agency's latest attempt to get its brand and services in front of more people. ...
In the Greater Boston District, five post offices have been consolidated in the past decade, with reduced hours in place or in progress at 20 locations, said USPS' Boston spokeswoman Melissa Lohnes.
The mail sorting center in Shrewsbury has been on a list of proposed cuts, but lobbying by state and federal officials has staved off the closure, at least until 2014.
Although Ms. Lohnes did not provide USPS employment trends for Massachusetts, she said the state mirrors trends nationally, where the agency has reduced its workforce by 26 percent, to 492,000, in the last five years. The postal service accomplished these reductions through attrition and the hiring of lower-cost, temporary employees.
Employees comprise a large majority of the agency's total costs, so the plan is to continue to reduce full-time employees by 155,000 in the next couple of years.
These trends have put a strain on letter carriers, said Mr. Casciano, of the letter carriers' union. While the number of letter carriers is shrinking, the number of addresses they have to deliver to grows by at least 1 million annually, he said. So their routes are getting longer and more physically demanding.
After all, the USPS's founding mandate ó and argument against privatizing the service ó is to deliver mail affordably to all Americans, even in the most remote parts of the country. ....
Mailers fight against postal rate hike - TheHill.com
December 1, 2013
The mailing industry is stepping up their efforts to defeat a rate increase proposal from the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, pressing the agencyís regulator this week to rule against the plan. ...
Postal officials have said theyíd reconsider their rate increase request if Congress passed broad postal reform legislation that allowed them to cut costs and raise new revenues.
But the debate over the rate increase also underscores how hard it has been for Congress, which has been working on legislation for more than two years, to pass a final product.
Mailing industry officials, for instance, are calling for the Postal Service to further streamline its operations. But postal unions and liberal lawmakers say that USPS should not be allowed to cut services, noting that the agencyís 2013 losses were far less than 2012. ....
Couriers gear up for busiest time of the year - FrederickNewsPost.com
November 30, 2013
"The busiest mailing day this season is projected to be Monday, Dec. 16, when more than 600 million pieces of mail are expected to be processed, the Postal Service says on its website. The same day, 6 million customers are expected to visit post offices nationwide. The busiest delivery day for mail will be Dec. 18 and the busiest day for packages will be Dec. 19, according to the Postal Service."
Via Retired NALC Member / CPWU Activist Jamie Partridge:
"We have 20+ courageous souls ready to engage in civil disobedience to protest the closure of this mail processing facility, which is scheduled for "consolidation" starting in February. Not just 180 living wage, union jobs eliminated. Not just related mailing businesses & their jobs going away (pre-sort businesses, community newspapers, advertisers, etc.). But mail delays throughout the Willamette valley, to the coast. All mail in the 974 (Eugene area) and 973 (Salem area) zip codes will be processed in Portland. Save the Mail! Join our sit-in or come support -- call me at 503-752-5112"
Click on image to enlarge
PRC Order No. 1892 - Order Granting, in Part, Motion to Dismiss and Holding Complaint in Abeyance Pending Further Action
November 27, 2013
"Finding: The APWU makes general claims and provides anecdotal reports that the current service standards established by Postal Service regulations are being violated. The Postal Service argues that the Commissionís complaint rules require more. Based on the pleadings, the Commission cannot conclude that the APWU has or has not raised material issues of fact or law. In lieu of deciding that question on a less than adequate record, the Commission will, as contemplated by its rules, afford the APWU an opportunity to supplement Complaint with additional information. See 39 C.F.R. ß 3030.20. In turn, the Postal Service will have an opportunity to respond."
It is ordered:
1. The United States Postal Service Motion to Dismiss the Complaint of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, filed September 26, 2013, is granted as to the APWUís claims under 39 U.S.C. ßß 403(c), 3661, and 3691(b)(1)(B). The Commission defers ruling on the APWUís claim regarding 39 U.S.C. ß 3691(d).
2. The APWU may file additional information related to its claim under 39 U.S.C. ß 3691(d) as discussed in the body of this Order by no later than December 13, 2013.
3. The Postal Serviceís response, if any, is due December 20, 2013.
4. Pending the filing of additional information by the APWU as set forth in the body of this Order, Docket No. C2013-10 will be held in abeyance.
Post office closing delayed - FBNewsLeader.com
November 27, 2013
The closing of the downtown post office has been delayed until after the holidays, "pending review," according to U.S. Postal representatives and an order from the Postal Regulatory Commission dated Nov. 18. The order, written by Acting Secretary Ruth Abrams, claims that "justification for the closing (by the Postal Service) is unconfirmed." Postal Service officials held a public meeting in November 2011 to gather comments on the potential closing of the downtown facility.
Postal Service wins appeal on S.F. SRO deliveries - SFGate.com
November 27, 2013
A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the U.S. Postal Service's decision nearly five years ago to deliver mail to the front desk or a central collection box rather than to individual mailboxes at most of San Francisco's 500 single-room-occupancy hotels. ...
The Postal Service made a reasonable, money-saving decision to treat SROs like hotels, whose occupants get central mail delivery, and not like apartments, where residents get individual delivery, the three-judge panel said.
Single-room-occupancy hotels, like conventional hotels, "allow for much more transience" than apartments, the court said. "The USPS could rationally predict that if SROs were treated like apartment houses, the effect would be detrimental to the efficiency and economics of postal operations."
Postal Workers Worried About Safety After Dark - Chicago.CBSLocal.com
November 27, 2013
CHICAGO (CBS) Ė Letter carriers in Chicago and elsewhere have asked the U.S. Postal Service to make some safety changes to get them off the streets before dark.
WBBM Newsís Mike Krauser reports Chicago area letter carriers said assaults, robberies, and gunfire have them worried about safety at night.
ďIn the past, they Ö letter carriers usually get a free pass. We donít feel that security with the uniform that we used to,Ē said Mack Julion, president of the Chicago branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers. Julion said a combination of earlier darkness and later starts Ė because of slower processing due to facility consolidations Ė means carriers are on the streets well after dark.
ďThere were several carriers still on the street after 10 oíclock (on Monday),Ē Julion said. ďThe Postal Service is saying that these routes are designed to have you off at 5 oíclock. Those are the exceptions, not the rule.Ē The Postal Service said most of the incidents have occurred between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but Julion said times have changed, and the possibility of violence has become ďpart of their regular dayĒ for letter carriers.
ďA carrier the other day told me about being caught in gunfire. She says she got on the ground, and by the time she got up, the police was there,Ē Julion said. He said itís only a matter of time before something bad happens to a postal worker on his or her route. Julian said postal workers could quit earlier, however ďthere is an expectation when we leave the office that we come back with no mail,Ē he said. He also said thereís a sense of pride for mail carriers, who want to get the job done every day.
Petition by Concerned Letter Carriers - Change.org
POSTMASTER GENERAL WASHINGTON D.C.: Stop dangerous delivery after dark in all cities nation wide.
Inspector general to probe late mail delivery - WashingtonPost.com
The U.S. Postal Service Inspector Generalís office said Wednesday that it is launching an investigation into the shift in mail delivery to evening hours, a change thatís alarmed letter carriers and customers.
Postal Service sending workers to help out in western ND - Inforum.com
November 27, 2013
WILLISTON, N.D. ó The U.S. Postal Service says it is sending at least a dozen workers from Nebraska to help out with mail delivery in northwestern North Dakota.
Mail delivery to some customers in the oil boom town of Williston has been disrupted after four carriers quit.
The Williston Herald reports the resignations likely were due to long hours and long weeks associated with short staff.
Officials say they are currently advertising for permanent workers in the Williston area. The jobs pay between $50,000 and $55,000 annually.
US mailers call on regulators to reject USPS price rise request - PostAndParcel.info
November 27, 2013
Major mail customers in the United States have called for regulators to reject a USPS bid to raise postage rates by three times inflation.
The group of industry associations said yesterday that the central argument of the Postal Service, in its request to raise retail rates next year by 6.5% and business rates by 5.9%, was ďnonsensicalĒ.
USPS made its request back in September, hoping to raise its annual revenues by an extra $2bn, on the grounds that the recent recession had seriously damaged mail volumes and threatened the continuation of postal services.
But filing testimony with the Postal Regulatory Commission yesterday, to oppose the pricing request, the coalition of mailers quoted USPS itself in the form of its 2012 business plan, stating that the 2007-09 recession was not the primary cause of the current long-term mail volume decline.
The businesses argue that the progressive shift of communications to the Internet has been the main factor in the loss of mail volumes in recent years, although they concede the recession did cause some of the mail volume losses. ....
Norton Writes to Postmaster General with Questions Following Tragic Murder of Postal Service Worker - Norton.House.gov
November 26, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC Ė Following this weekendís tragic murder of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier Tyson Jerome Barnette in Landover, Maryland, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S Postal Service and the Census, wrote today to the U.S. Postmaster General regarding long-standing concerns about the risk of requiring postal employees to deliver mail after dark and requesting responses to several related questions within 30 days.
Norton, in her letter, wrote, ďI understand the financial challenges that USPS faces because of congressional failure to move a bill. I also very much appreciate USPSís determination to deliver mail in a timely fashion, especially during winter months, when darkness comes much earlier in the day. However, I do not recall delivery after dark being as frequent in prior years.Ē ....
APWU News Bulletin 22-2013, Nov. 26, 2013
The Great Postal Giveaway
USPS Sends Jobs, Work to Staples
On Nov. 10, in a deal that has been in the works at least since March, the USPS announced it was launching a pilot program to put postal retail units in Staples stores across the country. Some sites opened quietly in October and others have opened in the last two weeks, including some where ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held.
Click on picture for related article
Staples is the largest retailer of office supplies in the country, with almost 1,600 stores. The pilot will begin at 84 sites, and, if it is successful, may be extended to other Staples stores. Agreements between the USPS and other big retailers may follow.
ďThis is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,Ē said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
The APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail,Ē he said. ďPostal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.Ē
In a meeting with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe on Nov. 20, the union president insisted that if the plan proceeds, the postal units at Staples must be staffed by career postal employees. The APWU has requested information about the specifics of the deal, and has instructed the unionís attorneys to explore legal avenues to challenge the program.
The APWU also has requested a meeting with Ron Sargent, the Chairman and CEO of Staples, to discuss our concerns, Dimondstein said. He also expects to have additional discussions with postal management.
ďWhile these efforts proceed, we will begin preparations for protests at Staple stores across the country,Ē he said. The APWU Executive Board discussed the issue via telephone on Nov. 22 and endorsed the plan to fight back.
ďPostal management will undoubtedly try to convince our members that this arrangement is beneficial because it creates revenue for the USPS,Ē Dimondstein said. ďBut revenue without good union jobs is not in the interest of our members. Postal services that are performed by anyone other than well-trained postal workers will not serve the American people well,Ē he said.
ďThis is a huge step toward privatizing retail services,Ē Dimondstein said. ďIf we donít draw a line in the sand, mail processing and other operations will soon follow.Ē
The Staples units will offer most postal products and services: They will sell stamps; accept first-class letters, Priority, Priority Express, standard mail, and first-class packages, and accept certified mail. The units will be operational during Staplesí business hours ó as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays, on Sundays and many holidays. And, in a unique arrangement, the office supply giant will offer 5% Staples Rewards for the postage on packages paid for and shipped at its locations.
ďWe can only stop these privatization plans if we work and fight together,Ē Dimondstein said. ďWe will keep APWU members informed of any progress at the national level. In the meantime, prepare for action!Ē
Oolitic Post Office Could Close - WBIW.com
November 26, 2013
(OOLITIC) - The United States Postal Service will be conducting a meeting on January 15 at 5 p.m. at Oolitic Town Hall to discuss the closing of the Oolitic Post Office.
During the Oolitic Council meeting Monday night, Clerk Treasurer Jim Staley and Council President Delvin Nikirk says the community needs to rally to keep the post office open. "They are stressing that no decision has been made at this time to close the post office, but they are discussing their options," Staley says. Staley was contacted by the Postal Service this week stressing the importance of the meeting.
The U.S. Postal Service announced the possible closure of 3,700 offices nationwide, including 95 in Indiana. The USPS is considering changes to get in line with changing consumer demands, with less emphasis on stand-alone branches.
"More than 35 percent of the Postal Service's retail revenue comes from expanded access locations, such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business ."
What Could Make the Postal Service Cool Again - Yahoo.com
November 25, 2013
The postal service is an easy target for lampoonery, largely because of the 1950s vibe you get whenever you set foot in an actual post office, and the occasional flubs that are inevitable when you deliver mail to every address in America. The reality, however, is that the postal service is a weird hybrid agency thatís supposed to act like a regular corporation, except that Congress retains the authority to micromanage and manipulate it and keep it locked in the past. As I and many others have argued, the real problem with the USPS is its 535-person board of directors.
The postal service lost $5 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a disastrous financial performance that would trigger alarm in any ordinary company but generates only shrugs on Capitol Hill. Thereís one bright spot, however ó package delivery, which rose by 8% to $923 million in revenue during the most recent year. The Sunday delivery deal with Amazon (the exact terms are private) wonít generate enough revenue to offset the need for deep reforms elsewhere. But itís clearly a step in the right direction, with same-day delivery possibly coming next. Worth noting: Those are the types of innovations typical of private enterprises, not government agencies. Competitors may have to change their own practices to respond.
Itís also a win for consumers, who donít usually feel the U.S. Postal Service is on their side. That may change as the mailman becomes the face of instant gratification and we feel excitement, rather than disappointment, when we hear the phrase, ďItís in the mail.Ē
USPS Fiscal Year 2014 Integrated Financial Plan [pdf] - PRC.gov
2014 Operating Plan, 2014 Capital Plan, 2014 Financing Plan
The 2014 IFP reflects the Postal Serviceís continued strides toward financial health and stability, within the limits of current law. The revenue plan incorporates both product growth initiatives and needed price increases to achieve a growth in operating revenue of $1.9 billion. The proposed exigent (4.3 percent) plus CPI (1.6 percent) price increases for Market Dominant products, combined with an average 2.4 percent price increase on Competitive Products, will provide the revenue growth necessary to maintain a financially viable and self-sustaining Postal Service. In conjunction with the revenue growth initiatives, the Postal Service continues to rightsize its network and maximize utilization of its non-career flexible workforce to align with the changing mailing environment. The $2.1 billion in projected cost reductions offsets inflationary pressures and contractually-mandated wage increases for bargaining unit personnel resulting in nearly flat operating expenses compared to 2013.
Despite major cost reductions and revenue initiatives, the Postal Service will still have insufficient liquidity to make a meaningful reduction in debt, or make needed investments in infrastructure. Although our operating income, as shown on the Statements of Operations table on page 1, is estimated to be positive, significant risks such as negative economic developments, continued fiscal uncertainty of the U.S. government, inflation in fuel or wages, etc. could swiftly eliminate that positive operating income. Our $46 billion of net losses over the previous seven years were driven significantly by $35 billion in mandated RHB pre-funding. These losses have consumed our cash and borrowing capacity to the point where we have defaulted on our RHB pre-funding obligations the past 2 years and expect to default on RHB pre-funding payments in 2014.
We continue to inform the Administration, Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, and other stakeholders of the immediate and longer-term financial issues we face and the legislative changes that would help provide financial stability. Given the vital role the Postal Service plays in the U.S. economy, a financially healthy and stable Postal Service should continue to be a top priority for all stakeholders from legislative and regulatory bodies to management, employees, and customers.
USPS OIG Audit:
Retail Facility Relocation Process
November 24, 2013
In an effort to tighten its operations and save money, the U.S. Postal Service is streamlining its network of about 31,272 retail facilities Ė including post offices, stations and branches that provide counter services, stamps, money orders, and post office boxes to customers. Has a retail facility relocated in your community? If so, we would like to hear about your experience.
When the Postal Service relocates a retail facility, it must follow set procedures to ensure consumers affected by the change have notice and input. Specifically, it must:
-Notify the public of the proposal to relocate,
-Hold public meetings,
-Allow a comment period,
-Allow for an appeal process to the Postal Service, and
-Issue a final determination of its relocation decision.
Our objective in this self-initiated audit is to assess the Postal Service's retail facility relocation process. We plan to look specifically at whether the Postal Service is providing affected customers enough information about relocation plans to enable those customers to fully understand and react to their potential impact. You can help in this effort by responding to the following questions.
-Has a retail facility in your community been relocated?
-How were you notified?
-How many days were you notified before the facility was relocated?
-Were you informed of the new location that would have retail services?
-When in the process were you informed of the new location?
-Did you continue to use the retail facility in the new location?
-How was your access to postal products and services impacted during and after the relocation?
$125K reward offered in fatal shooting of postal worker - WTOP.com
November 25, 2013
WASHINGTON - A total of $125,000 in reward money is being offered for information on the fatal shooting of a postal worker who was killed while he was delivering mail on his regular route in Cheverly, Md. Saturday night.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering $100,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the killing of Tyson Jerome Barnette, 26, who was found shot multiple times near the intersection of Reed Street and Jutewood Avenue, which is just south of the Cheverly Metro stop.
Prince George's County Police is offering $25,000. ....
Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers
released the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the letter carrier and his family during this very difficult time. We are all deeply saddened. The nation's letter carriers deliver the mail in every community throughout the country. This tragic incident highlights the need in all operational decisions about how and when mail is delivered to give priority consideration to the safety of these dedicated public servants."
Postal Workers Say Letter Carrier Death In Cheverly Was Preventable - MyFoxDC.com
November 24, 2013
They had a moment of silence for Barnette, but they say his death won't silence their pleas for more staffing. Union leaders say it's a problem throughout the region.
"We're going to have hundreds of letter carriers deliver mail in the dark tomorrow. The routes are twice as big as they were five years ago, and we are understaffed. It doesn't have to be," Union leader Kenneth Lerch says.
Union leaders say Barnette had already finished one route and was finishing up a second one when he was gunned down.
In War for Same-Day Delivery, Racing Madly to Go Last Mile - NYTimes.com
November 23, 2013
The app for eBay Now, the companyís local shopping service, promises that valets will complete a shop-and-drop-off not just in the same day but ďin about an hour,Ē a timetable crucial to the companyís intensifying efforts to one-up Amazon in the delivery game.
It wasnít so long ago that overnight delivery seemed amazing enough. Then Amazon started building huge warehouses ó what it calls ďfulfillment centersĒ ó near major cities to be, in a spokeswomanís words, ďas close to customers as possible.Ē With 40 such centers in the United States encompassing more than 80 million square feet of storage space and employing 20,000 full-time workers, Amazon offers same-day delivery in 11 cities.
USPS COO Megan Brennan's November 2013 Operations Update [pdf]
Overnight mail taking 3 days after Pasco changes - KEPRTV.com
November 22, 2013
PASCO, Wash. -- Recent cutbacks and changes at our local Post Offices mean it's taking longer for your mail to get to your home -- and also out of town. An influx of Christmas cards and packages will only add a new burden. KEPR talked with the President from the local Postal Workers Union and USPS to get both sides about how your mail is being impacted in new ways.
"It's written in the law that we provide universal, low cost service to every American citizen," said John Michael Wald, Local American Postal Workers Union President. But he says that's exactly what you're not seeing with mail service in the Tri-Cities right now. Mail processing moved from Pasco to Spokane in July. Since then, bundles of issues have arrived.
"Carriers are out on the street later and later because they have to wait longer and longer to get their mail before they can hit the street, we've got carriers out on the streets until 8PM some nights," he said.
Next-day delivery has turned into three-day delivery. Some is even taking a week.
Letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe - Nader.org
November 21, 2013
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe
United States Postal Service
475 LíEnfant Plaza SW
Washington, D.C. 20260-0010
Re: Revenue Expanding Activities
Dear Mr. Donahoe,
Last week the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) released its financial results for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2013. Despite some promising indicators, the USPS ended the year with a net loss of just under $5 billion. This is entirely attributable to the unreasonable requirement that the USPS prefund its future retireesí healthcare benefits for the next 75 years. Annually, the USPS pays $5.5 billion for this purpose. It is a requirement that no other private corporation or government agency faces, and was imposed by Congress. It is time, as you have declared, for Congress to end this paralyzing burden.
There were, however, a number of encouraging details behind these financial results. There are clear signs that a slowly recovering economy has helped, and will likely continue to help, the USPS return to the black: operating revenue increased compared to the year before, the first time since 2008 that the USPS saw a growth in revenue. But most promising is that for the entire fiscal year, the USPS actually turned a profit on its operations. The USPS brought in about $600 million more revenue than it paid out in operating costs.
But despite these promising results, the USPS under your leadership has not shown much interest in exploring innovative means to raise new revenue. Instead, you have focused much of your energy on cutting jobs beyond normal attrition, closing needed facilities, selling off grand post office buildings, degrading services, and raising postage rates. Taken together, all of these ďsolutionsĒ harm the USPSís long term viability. And considering that the USPSís operations have returned to profitability, more of these ill-conceived plans will bring the USPS to ruin.
Ruth Goldway, chair of the Postal Regulatory Commission, has offered nearly two dozen ideas for reforms, modernizations, and revenue expansions that could benefit the Postal Service without requiring vast cuts to the services that they provide. Other suggestions have come from a conference on innovation sponsored by the Postal Service in the summer of 2010. These proposed changes seem, to outside observers, to have mostly fallen on deaf ears.
I have written before urging you to explore new areas in which to raise revenue. And I have implored you to dedicate less time promoting cuts and instead spend more of your time examining and implementing new sources of revenue, advocating for the elimination of the retiree health benefit prefunding requirement, and promoting the return of huge overpayments the USPS has made to its pension funds. The U.S. government owes the USPS between $50 and $75 billion.
What have you done in the past few years to explore innovative sources of revenue? How many staff and departments do you have working toward this goal? What projects have you advanced and implemented that would bring in new revenue? What level of success have these programs achieved? I look forward to your response.
Please have one of your revenue expanding staff call me to discuss at length a proposal I have to increase sales by the U.S. Postal Service.
cc: Chair of the Postal Regulatory Commission, Ruth Goldway
Mail carriers hold vigil to bring attention to assaults during deliveries - Chicago SunTimes.com
In the last month at least six letter carriers have been assaulted while trying to deliver the mail.
November 22, 2013
ďWe had a carrier on the streets delivering mail up until 1 a.m. last week,Ē he said.
On Monday evening, letter carriers will hold a flashlight vigil at the main post office at 433 West Harrison St. to bring attention to their plight.
ďWe need to start earlier,Ē Julion said.
ďWe want to bring light to the fact that carriers are out there at night.Ē
Postal Service Bends Over Backwards for Amazon, While We Get Crummy Service - AlterNet.org
November 20, 2013
The announcement that the US Postal Service will deliver packages for Amazon on Sundays came just a few days after a federal judge halted USPSí sale of Stamfordís historic downtown post office. The juxtaposition of the two events throws into stark relief the new Janus-like philosophy of the postal service: a big hug to big business, the back of the hand to the public. ....
"We can, and should, condemn the horrendous artificial financial burden Congress has imposed on the USPS, a burden the USPS uses at every opportunity to justify its actions. But every time the USPS weakens and cheapens the physical network that binds us together, every time it turns its back on the public, it reduces the willingness of the public to champion the Post Office. In this sense the USPS management is rapidly becoming the enemy of the people." ....
Tellico Village's only full-service post office packs up - WBIR.com
November 21, 2013
"As a result of More Than Mail's postal service being terminated, those living in Tellico Village will have to travel 40 miles round-trip to Loudon for postal service."
USPS News Link - Better than ever
New program improves mail processing
November 21, 2013
An effort involving the collaboration of unions and management is underway at plants across the country to transform the way USPS processes the mail. Itís called Lean Mail Processing and includes a certification program.
Part of the Network Optimization DRIVE initiative, Lean Mail Processing is being implemented at 76 plants throughout the network. To date, the South Jersey P&DC, the site of a lean processing pilot, and the Margaret L. Sellers P&DC in San Diego District have earned certifications. The program will expand to the remainder of processing facilities beginning in January.
A plan is certified when it fully implements the following 11 steps:
◾ Value stream mapping
◾ 5S (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain)
◾ MTE management
◾ Parcel sorter staging
◾ Letter staging
◾ Flats staging
◾ Manual Flats
◾ Reduction of parcel rework
◾ Improvement of dock operations
◾ Signage and visual management
◾ Material handling projects
ďOur plants will see better service performance, lowered costs and increased employee satisfaction as their work accomplishes more without wasted effort,Ē said MLS Senior Plant Manager Larry Belair.
Here is an update on the "hold" on consolidations that was posted in the Scranton plant. An e-mail exchange between mailhandler reps and Karen Barber, Eastern Area Labor Relations was posted pertaining to the Scranton and Lancaster consolidations in which she states they are on hold "at this time", whatever that means. We know from reports across the country they are failing miserably. Now, a couple of questions. Being this is right before the holiday mailing season, is this just a ploy to keep the employees calm, happy and coming to work before to pad the numbers and the bonuses before the axe falls? If this is true, why are they on hold? The USPS' best and brightest did all of the studies, wrote reports and said these plans would work, and we know they're never wrong. This would be an admission of failure, and a major piece of evidence to prove what we already know. When was the last time they admitted something they came up with wasn't working? What will our unions do with this golden egg? Sit on it and keep it quiet? This should be in the mainstream media directed towards all of the customers, mailers, businesses and general public on the same level that Donahore and Co. are fighting this battle using their P.R. against us! More red flags pop up on this secret "deal" with Amazon as time goes by. Trust Mr. Donawhore, he says we're making money on this special deal, then he goes to Congress and tells them we're losing money. As I've stated before, if anyone else has heard anything about this or has any feedback, if you can, please share it.
Mysteries of the Amazon deal: Why the Postal Service is skimming the cream on Sundays - SaveThePostOffice.com
November 20, 2013
Last week the Postal Service announced that it would be delivering packages for Amazon on Sundays, but only to Amazon Prime members (or those willing to pay extra), and only to customers living in New York and Los Angeles. The premium service will eventually be extended to some other big cities, but itís not likely that those living in medium-sized cities, suburbs, small towns, and remote areas will ever see Sunday delivery.
The practice of providing a product or a service to only the most profitable markets is called cream skimming. Itís one of the main concerns about privatization. If Amtrak, for example, were to be privatized, the country would end up with a train system in the Northeast Corridor, running lines between Boston and DC, and not much else.
If the Postal Service were privatized, there are similar concerns that rural and low-income urban areas would get less service than upscale urban areas. One of the purposes of the Universal Service Obligation is to prevent just that. The USO is supposed to ensure that the Postal Service doesnít cherry-pick the most profitable markets, products, and services. Everyone gets the same service at uniform prices, and the profitable areas subsidize the others.
The Postal Service hasnít been officially privatized, but itís getting there. It has become liberalized, marketized, and commercialized, and along the way, the meaning of the USO keeps getting reinterpreted. It becomes less "universal," the scope of ďserviceĒ gets narrower and narrower, and instead of fulfilling an obligation when it delivers on Saturday or maintains rural post offices, the Postal Service acts as if itís doing people a favor.
The signs of commercialization are everywhere. Just this week, the Postal Service put contract post offices in Staples and Harry Potter on a postage stamp. With the Amazon deal, the Postal Service is skimming the cream, just as if it had already been privatized. ....
"Is the Amazon deal really a win-win for everyone? Is it truly a good idea for the Postal Service to deliver packages for just one company to just one particular geographic segment of the country, and only to those affluent enough to be members of Amazon Prime? Even the business magazine Fortune was led to ask rhetorically if it wasn't a little ďweirdĒ and ďunsettlingĒ for a private corporation to be ďhiring out a government agency as a contractor.Ē The new contract between Amazon and the Postal Service perfectly illustrates the identity crisis faced by the Postal Service, and it may become the straw that breaks the philosophical camelís back. The time is coming when the country will have to decide: Do we want the postal system to be a public service or a private corporation? The Amazon deal in a nutshell. Itís not just about delivering on Sunday. Itís about delivering a privatized Postal Service."
#USPS COO said USPS has not decided if it is moving forward with the Feb 2014 service std changes.— PostCom (@PostCom2) November 19, 2013
PRC: Public Hearings Exigency Rate Case
Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013.
These Hearings will be webcast.
November 19, 2013
Commission Hearing Room, 901 New York Ave., NW, Suite 200. Hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue until cross examination of scheduled witnesses has been completed. The schedule for the appearance of Postal Service witnesses at those hearings is as follows: November 19, 2013 - Altaf Taufique, Thomas E. Thress. November 20, 2013 - Stephen J. Nickerson. There may be a brief recess between witnesses Taufique and Thress. Witness Thress may be unavailable to testify before 10:30 a.m.
Digitals Still Dig Physical Mail - When Enhanced by Digital Features - USPSOIG.gov
November 18, 2013
The generation known as Digital Natives Ė born and raised in the age of the Internet Ė are said to live much of their lives online in one way or another. Indeed, while use of email is hardly exclusive to their demographic, itís no coincidence that their rise has corresponded with the decline of mail volume.
Now that Digital Natives account for the largest segment of the American population and are growing more influential every year in their buying power, itís more important than ever to ensure the U.S. Postal Service is engaging this group. But do Digital Natives currently see any value in the mail?
Surprisingly, yes. In our recently released white paper, Enhancing Mail for Digital Natives [pdf], we found Digital Natives have an abiding interest in the mail. In fact, Digital Natives check their mailboxes daily. Theyíre mainly interested in packages Ė things bought online, of course Ė but they also like regular mailpieces, especially those that integrate some type of digital technology, like augmented reality. Digital Natives said that if regular mail ever disappeared they would be unhappy for a variety of reasons - citing everything from no more handwritten notes to postal employees who would be out of a job. ....
Delivery Technology: Tubes, Rockets, Drones, Autonomous Vehicles and Star Trek Replicators - PostalVision2020.com
November 18, 2013
What do we want? Convenience and reliability (trust). When do we want it? Now. How much do we want to pay? Not much. The market requirements have not changed, but the approaches used by delivery firms continue to evolve through the application of technology, and the choices available to consumers are increasing. ....
The Real Reason the Postal Service's Financial Outlook Is Ever So Slightly Improving - BusinessWeek.com
November 18, 2013
...The modest improvement in the agencyís numbers may have more to do with cost cutting. The USPS has done a good job of controlling expenses, reducing the number of its career employees by 26 percent since 2008 through buyouts and attrition. Eventually, the agencyís volume may flatten out. But that could take years. In the meantime, it will probably need to become even leaner to survive.
Rolando didnít address this. But Mark Dimondstein, the newly elected president of the American Postal Workers Union, did in a statement on Friday. ďGood union postal jobs are disappearing,Ē he lamented. Sunday deliveries for Amazon alone wonít bring them back. ....
U.S. government corruption - BrainerdDispatch.com
November 17, 2013
The U.S. government has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices.
The government has decided it no longer needs these buildings, most of which are located on prime land in towns and cities across the country. The sale of these properties will fetch about $19 billion.
A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the exclusive listing for handling the sales. That company is CBRE Group and it belongs to a man named Richard Blum (Blum has an interest in the CBRE Group, which won a competitive contract to sell postal facilities. He is its board chairman and owns an investment firm that holds less than 5 percent of its stock.)
Blum is the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Sen. Feinstein and her husband stand to make a fortune (estimated at between $950 million and $1.1 billion!) from these transactions. His company (CRI) is the sole real estate on the sale. CRI will be making a minimum of 3 percent and as much as 6 percent commission on each sale. ďIn 2011, the CB Richard Ellis Group, (now CBRE Group, Inc.), the worldís largest commercial real estate services firm, was awarded an exclusive contract to market USPC facilities, which CBRE touted by announcing: ďHistorically, USPS has worked with multiple real estate service providers. ....
A Post Office? Yeah, We've Got That. - Going Postal Blog
Postal Service Counters Replace UPS Services at 82 Staples Locations;
Chain Offers Rewards on USPS Shipping Services
November 17, 2013
A new partnership between USPS and Staples Inc. offers a unique and promising opportunity for the Postal Service to expand access to its services. A recently announced pilot program, the first such "negotiated service agreement" under what USPS terms its Retail Partner Expansion Program, calls for the opening of 82 Contract Postal Units (CPUs) in Staples stores. If successful the program could be expanded to the remainder of Staples's 1,500+ domestic locations, and partnerships between USPS and other large retailers may soon follow. Contract Postal Units involve postal counters that are placed in, and operated by the employees of, other businesses. The operations offer most postal retail products, and do so at standard USPS prices. ....
Sources of change: The Postal Service breaks down the mail volumes for the PRC - SaveThePostOffice.com
November 17, 2013
The news media are busy this weekend reporting on the Postal Serviceís financial report for fiscal year 2013, which shows a $5 billion loss. If Congress weren't requiring the Postal Service to pay $5.5 billion into the retiree health benefits fund, the Postal Service would have made a profit of over a half billion dollars. Not that this could stop talk about the Postal Service "hemorrhaging money."
However big or small the deficit, most everyone believes that the Postal Serviceís losses over the past few years are due to the changing habits of big mailers and average customers. As the Postal Service reminds us at every opportunity ó like when it wants to close a post office or consolidate a processing plant ó weíre all using the Internet and email more and more, so mail volumes are dropping, and they're going to continue to drop for the foreseeable future. There's nothing to be done but "rightsize" the infrastructure, i.e., close facilities, eliminate workers, and sell off properties.
The Postal Service's propaganda feeds the pundits and politicians who are pushing for more downsizing as a step toward privatization. But the problem facing the Postal Service is not the Internet, as the recent upswing in package services shows. The real problem is the economy. While the Great Recession may officially have ended in June 2009, its lingering effects continue to take their toll on mail volumes. The overall impacts of the economic crisis and the slow recovery have been staggering.
To get an idea of the relative impacts of the Internet and the Great Recession, it's helpful to take a look at whatís going on over at the Postal Regulatory Commission. The PRC is reviewing the Postal Serviceís request for an exigent rate increase ó that's an increase above the rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index (CPI). The Postal Service wants to raise rates by 4.3 percent on top of the CPI increase of 1.7 percent. An exigent increase like that would bring in about $1.8 billion a year and go a long way toward solving the cash flow problem.
At the heart of the exigent case at the PRC is this question: What portion of the losses suffered by the Postal Service can be viewed as due to the recession, and what part is due to the Internet?
The Postal Service's rhetoric blames the Internet, but in the case for an exigent rate increase, the Postal Service says it's time for a dose of reality, and the reality is that most of the losses are due to the recession. ....
WIN Labor Report: November 15, 2013
Sunday parcel delivery providing more job options for returning veterans
NALC: USPS made $600 million delivering mail in 2013
November 15, 2013
"Now itís time for Congress to set aside bills that focus on cutting service and attacking the pay and benefits of postal workers instead of addressing the real cause of the crisis: the 2006 pre-funding mandate.
The Postal Service is positioned for a strong comeback if lawmakers act sensiblyóby addressing the pre-funding fiasco that created an artificial financial crisis, and by freeing the Postal Service to use its universal retail and delivery networks to innovate and grow."
Related: APWU President Dimondstein: ĎDonít Believe the Typeí
Terms Of Deal For US Postal Service (USPS) To Deliver Amazon (AMZN) Packages Not Revealed By USPS Or Amazon - IBTimes.com
November 14, 2013
The U.S. Postal Service said Thursday it would not disclose the financial terms of its deal with Amazon.com Inc. (NYSE:AMZN) for Sunday delivery of the online retailer's packages.
When asked if USPS had any plans to reveal how much Amazon is paying it under a "negotiated service agreement," USPS spokeswoman Sue Brennan said in an email, ďNo. It is a legal document with proprietary information."
A spokeswoman from Amazon declined Thursday to discuss the agreement because company policy forbids disclosure.
Brennan previously stated that the USPS does not plan on hiring more employees to fulfill terms of the deal with Amazon, which it began negotiating "months ago." Further, the USPS will not pay overtime for the deliveries.
On Sunday the USPS began delivering Amazon packages to residential addresses in select markets, including the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. The USPS said it receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
If the program is successful, the USPS plans to add more markets, including Dallas, Phoenix, New Orleans and Houston, next year.
Itís unclear whether the USPS plans to strike a similar deal with other e-commerce companies.
A Postal Union Chief Sees the Future, and Itís EBay and Amazon - BusinessWeek.com
November 15, 2013
Like a lot of people concerned about the fate of the U.S. Postal Service, Jeanette Dwyer is frustrated. The president of the National Rural Letter Carriersí Association insists the USPS is in better shape than people think and says the agency should be expanding service, not cutting it. That might sound a little pie-in-the-sky at a time when the postal service has been losing billions of dollars in part because fewer and fewer people are sending letters. But she sees a future in which package delivery overtakes first-class mail as the USPSís most important serviceóand where some of the biggest names in retail contract with the agency, taking advantage of its nationwide fleet and army of letter carriers to deliver products.
"Give us a chance to do things that weíre already doing wellóthe packaging, the parcel delivery that weíre doing. I donít like the idea of five-day [delivery], thatís ridiculous. Iím all for Sunday delivery. We need to be offering our customers more. We need to be looking at the post offices that we own. Put some other things in there. Insurance, do some banking, do some things that other countries are doing. Somewhere along the way, we have lost the fact that rural free delivery was put in to service the American public. On Sept. 11, you know what happened? Rural letter carriers and city carriers around this country went to those mailboxes. Americans who looked out saw their mail being delivered, and they realized that, guess what? Americaís still here. That is the impact that nobody thinks about. I understand what youíre going to say: ďWell, now we have the Internet.Ē Well, guess what? All of America doesnít have the Internet."
USPS OIG Audit:
Consolidation of the Huntsville, AL Processing and Distribution Facility
Start Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Estimated Report Date: Sunday, December 15, 2013
Following a study, the Postal Service is planning to consolidate mail processing operations from the Huntsville Processing and Distribution Facility to the Birmingham Processing and Distribution Center. The OIG will conduct an audit to determine if a business case exists for this consolidation. We will also assess compliance with established consolidation guidelines.
Do you believe the consolidation will result in savings for the Postal Service? What are your thoughts on the consolidation and its impact on mail service?
USPS OIG Audit:
Consolidation of the Toledo, OH Processing & Distribution Center
Start Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Estimated Report Date: Sunday, December 15, 2013
Following an Area Mail Processing (AMP) study, the Postal Service plans to consolidate mail processing operations currently performed in the Toledo, OH Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) into the Columbus, OH P&DC, the Detroit P&DC and the Michigan Metroplex P&DC. The OIG will conduct an audit to determine if a business case exists for this consolidation and we will assess compliance with established AMP guidelines.
The Oxymoron at the Root of USPS's Woes - Dead Tree Edition
November 13, 2013
Is the U.S. Postal Service a business or a public service? Congress can't decide on the answer, and that indecision creates a fundamental problem for USPS, says noted postal commentator Leo Raymond.
In the Postal Points newsletter for the Association of Marketing Service Providers, Raymond recently wrote about "an ongoing oxymoron that Congress, in its meddling ineptitude, continues to perpetuate: the Postal Service cannot be cast as a public service, with a 'universal service obligation,' while concurrently being told to be businesslike in its operations."
The universal service obligation means USPS has to provide roughly the same level of service to everyone at the same price, regardless of the agency's costs to serve a particular customer. That's contrary to sensible, business-like behavior: What enterprise in its right mind would charge 49 cents to send an un-presorted letter from Hawaii to a Maine island accessible only by boat? ....
As per my previous post on this site, upon reporting to work last night on T-1, information was posted by our local union that all consolidations were on hold indefinitely. However, after having a T-1 supervisor and plant manager claim no knowledge, it appears no one else other than Eastern Region Coordinator Mike Gallagher and our union officials know anything about what would obviously be a major development and weapon in our arsenal to fight and not only delay, but STOP these failures known as consolidations. If 89 plants are on hold, someone has to know something. Any confirmation, denial or feedback would be appreciated, because the emotional roller coaster ride the employees have been on is unwarranted and undeserved, especially with the holidays and accompanying mailing season coming up.
FAT CATS, SKINS AND POSTAL MANAGER SHENANIGANS [pdf]
By Omar M. Gonzalez, Western Regional Coordinator
"DOING LITTLE TO ENHANCE VIABILITY?
These Fat Cat Mailers claim our union victories over pay, benefits and work rules do little to enhance the Postal Serviceís fiscal viability. Are you kidding me!?
Postal workers, despite being attacked at all sides, fight like hell to not only help USPS survive but thrive. Everything thing postal labor does is to help keep ďserviceĒ in the US Postal Service. We fight Area Mail Processing (AMP) consolidations, station and post office closures. We protest reduction in window hours, staff, transportation and maintenance needed to provide quality service!
The Fat Cat Mailers should join us not blame us! These Mailers need to sign on to the ďGrand AllianceĒ that the incoming National Union Administration is forging to help save the postal service. Communities, Organizations, Churches, Unions, Businesses and yes even Mailers united to save the national treasure called the United States Postal Service.
When it comes to losing skin, postal workers have been skinned for years by bosses, Congress and Corporate Elite wanting more benefit and wage cuts. So put those claws away Fat Cats before we have to clip them! Remember WE BUY STAMPS TOO!"
No More Day of Rest for Postal Package Delivery - USPSOIG.gov
November 13, 2013
"With this latest move, the Postal Service is looking to strengthen its market position in business-to-consumer shipping and to further distinguish itself from its main competitors Ė FedEx and UPS.
What do you think of the Amazon.com partnership? Do you foresee operational, staffing or other problems for the Postal Service as it ramps up for Sunday deliveries? Will this be a net financial win for the Postal Service and its customers?"
APWU President Mark Dimondstein Discusses Sunday Delivery:
CNBC Video: Amazon saving the US Postal Service?
Why Is Amazon (AMZN) Deal With US Postal Service Sealed? - IBTimes.com
November 11, 2013
The U.S. Postal Service's deal with online retail giant Amazon for Sunday deliveries raised eyebrows on Monday, in part because both parties declined to disclose the financial terms of the arrangement.
Under terms of a contract between Amazon and the USPS, postal workers on Sunday began delivering items at no extra charge to residential addresses of Amazon customers in the New York City and Los Angeles areas, with plans to expand the program to other cities next year.
Amazon and the USPS agreed to the terms in October, but details -- including how much Amazon is paying for the arrangement -- are sealed, Sue Brennan, a USPS spokeswoman, told International Business Times in an email. She explained that the USPS is not permitted to disclose terms of the deal without permission from the Postal Regulatory Commission, adding that the postal service has not made such a request to the commission. The PRC did not immediately respond to questions about when it will disclose the terms of the Sunday-delivery agreement with Amazon. ....
Related: Lobbying Spending Database - Amazon.com, 2013 | OpenSecrets.org
Chairman Carper Statement on USPS Announcement Regarding Sunday Package Delivery - Carper.senate.gov
November 11, 2013
WASHINGTON - Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following reaction to the U.S. Postal Service's announcement that it will deliver packages seven days a week through a new partnership with Amazon:
ďThis announcement by the U.S. Postal Service is a clear example of the innovative solutions that the agency needs to adopt in order to survive and thrive in the 21st century. Partnering with Amazon for Sunday package delivery offers a great deal of promise. It will allow both Amazon and the Postal Service to better serve their customers and has the potential to boost the ailing Postal Service's bottom line. It might also encourage other companies to pursue similar agreements with the Postal Service, creating even more opportunities for growth. I look forward to learning more about this new agreement and how it will impact the Postal Serviceís ongoing challenge to cut costs while increasing revenue. Ultimately, Congress must give the Postal Service the tools, resources, and flexibility it needs so it can right its financial ship and continue to implement forward-thinking ideas like this one. Thatís why I continue to work with Dr. Coburn and our colleagues on our bipartisan postal reform bill that will make the necessary changes to ensure the Postal Service is competitive in an era of digital communication and can continue to serve the American public for years to come.Ē
Amazon Is Closer Than Ever to Running the U.S. Postal Service - Wired.com
November 11, 2013
"The Postal Service over the past few decades has been ever-increasingly squeezed. Private carriers such as FedEx and UPS undercut its parcel business, and the internet has made sending physical letters and documents obsolete. Meanwhile, postal workers say a Congressional mandate to pre-fund its pension obligations far into the future has sucked the agency dry. Regardless of the reasons, the Postal Service needs more revenue. And Amazonís aggressive push to make online retail the main way people shop makes it an ideal USPS customer.
When the Postal Serviceís rumblings about ending Saturday mail delivery surfaced at the beginning of the year, the agency was also in the process of testing a same-day delivery service in San Francisco. The agency said at the time that while its mail business was shrinking, its parcel business was on the rise. While the plan was to halt mail on Saturdays, package delivery would continue. The message seemed to be: If the Postal Service could start offering delivery services, such as same-day, that competitors werenít, it could advance what has been the slow, painful process of transforming itself into a viable 21st-century institution. At the same time, Amazon has been building out its network of warehouses to get closer to more Americans, in the process making same-day delivery a more viable option. If the Postal Service could crack the logistics of same-day on its end, perhaps it could even become Amazonís carrier of choice."
Amazon.com Didn't Just Save The Postal Service - Esquire.com
If anything, it's the other way around.
November 11, 2013
No, Amazon.com did not save The Post Office today. Yes, it's a great thing that the United States Postal Service will deliver your $700 portable tiki hut on a Sunday from now on, as it was reported this morning. No, that doesn't have any bearing on the very existence of the Postal Service.
The Postal Service was not in its death throes until Amazon Prime came in like a white knight, delivering you your Wolf Urine on Super Bowl Sunday.
USPS loses money because Congress forces it to do so. It's becoming more efficient by the fiscal quarter. Since 1971, it has not cost you a penny in taxes. The mail, as we know it, is a steal beyond your wildest dreams.
Amazon is only in existence because of the Postal Service, not the other way around. ....
The next chapter in postal privatization: Post Offices inside of Staples - SaveThePostOffice.com
November 11, 2013
The Postal Service has rather quietly announced a pilot program to put post offices inside of Staples. Itís part of what the USPS is calling the Retail Partner Expansion Program, and the first Staples to host a post office will be located in San Francisco and San Jose.
According to an article in the Burlingame-Hillsborough Patch, which was apparently based on a USPS press release of some sort (itís not on the USPS website), the Postal Service and Staples are launching a pilot program to open postal retail counters inside select Staples locations, including 470 Noor Avenue in South San Francisco. ....
Back in 1989, the Postal Service tried out a pilot similar to the Staples deal. It put full service postal counters in eleven Sears Roebuck stores, staffed by Sears employees, and made plans to expand the program to one hundred stores.
As Sarah Ryan recounts in her excellent dissertation [pdf] on postal privatization, Norma Pace, one of the members of the Board of Governors at the time, was also a director of Sears, so postal watchdog Ralph Nader charged her with a conflict of interest and called on her to resign. (She didn't.)
There were other protests, as well as a boycott by the American Postal Workers Union, whose president Moe Biller said in an interview, "We view this as a menace to postal jobs and postal workers and the general public. Sears today, K-Mart tomorrow, Wal-Mart the next day and JC Penney after that. Then the time would come when they say we don't need any post office retail windows." ....
Good morning fellow Postal workers.
First, I would like to congratulate Mark Dimondstein and all the other successful candidates on their victories in the recent election.
Second, employees were told here in Scranton,where we are scheduled for consolidation into Lehigh Valley, that all consolidations are on hold. Has anyone else heard anything about this? Is anyone aware of an individual at Eastern Area named Ken Botnic? This would be major news and another chance to fight the privatization of the USPS.
There is no dispute theses AMP studies and consolidations are bogus and abject failures despite what disinformation comes from USPS officials. The time is right for ALL of us to combine our forces with the target resource, the general public, and expose the flaws and lies in management's actions. It is long overdue that we stopped being the lambs on the defensive, and become the lions on the offensive. Businesses and private citizens have been complaining about poor and delayed service, all while the USPS P.R. machine has been touting the "success" of their plans. Major public information actions along with Pat Donahore, Megan Brennan and other "executives" being removed and investigated, the PAEA of 2006 must be repealed, and all contracts with Amazon, FedEx and UPS and other s must be reviewed by an independent, investigative agency. I'm sure if we follow the money, we will find some very interesting information.
USPS interested in talking to other merchants about Sunday service in wake of Amazon deal - DCVelocity.com
Day of rest goes by the boards as Amazon, Postal Service roll out Sunday deliveries.
November 11, 2013
"The service is available to those who've signed up for "Amazon Prime," which provides free unlimited two-day deliveries for a $79 annual fee.
Sue Brennan, the USPS spokeswoman, said if other merchants are interested in Sunday deliveries, "we'd be happy to talk to them." The new Amazon relationship is a contractual agreement, however, and does not signal the launch of a concerted marketing campaign, she said. USPS already moves parcels for Amazon under its traditional arrangement.
The Sunday service with Amazon does not call for USPS pick-ups, nor does it involve the USPS' infrastructure beyond what's required to deliver from post office to destination. USPS historically delivers packages on the two or three Sundays leading up to Christmas in major metro areas, Brennan said."
U.S. Postal Service to deliver Amazon packages on Sundays - 11/11/13 - LATimes.com
What does the U.S. Postal Service need more -- Amazon's money or its ideas? - 11/11/13 - BizJournals.com
Amazon offers Sunday deliveries with US Postal Service - 11/11/13 - CNBC.com
Amazonís brilliant plan to rescue the Postal Service and disrupt the shipping industry - 11/11/13 - WashingtonPost.com
After all we have been through fighting the USPS on consolidations in recent years it was rather dis-heartening to see one of our national officers call for the merger of small Locals into larger ones.
Imagine, we come out so strong against consolidation and then say "lets do the same thing."
We are a small Local having gone from 237 members down to 80 in the last five years thanks to an AMP. We finish each year with a surplus and we represent our members. We also have a healthy amount of money in our treasury.
The two large Locals closest to us do an outstanding job of representing their members as well. However adding our members to their already large numbers does little to benefit our members, especially the ones in remote smaller offices. There is however a political aspect to this idea as it makes "campaigning" easier for national officers as the number of locals is consolidated.
Say NO to consolidation no matter who's idea it is. Its bad enough when management proposes such a idea its even worse when it comes from our national Union.
Lets all get behind Mark Dimondstein and Debbie Zeredy and all our officers and make this Union stronger than ever.
Via Community and Postal Workers United (CPWU):
Mail Delayed? Defend Your Postal Services!!
Report Late Mail to USPS OIG
Staten Island's Bermuda Triangle
The Innovation Unit Dilemma - Blog - USPSOIG.gov
November 11, 2013
"Do you think a small, agile, cross-functional ďinnovation unit,Ē led by a chief innovation officer, would help the Postal Service launch new products and services? Or does a dedicated innovation czar create a bottleneck that is inconsistent with the spirit of having innovative thinking permeate the entire organization? Would an ďincubatorĒ or ďinnovation labĒ approach be better? What institutional changes might be needed to promote innovation? Does the current regulatory environment allow the Postal Service enough latitude to innovate effectively?"
Pilot program puts post office counter in Staples stores - ABCLocal.go.com
November 10, 2013
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- The U.S. Postal Service and Staples are launching a pilot program to open post office retail counters at Staples locations, including in South San Francisco, USPS officials said.
Staples is the first retailer to take part in the USPS' Retail Partner Expansion Program, officials said. ....
USPS ďMail MoveĒ Plan for Network Consolidations Planned for 2013
Click here for a spreadsheet [xls]
Click here for a PDF [pdf]
Tribal Lore: Whistleblower lawsuit claims Northrop Grumman gave USPS false FSS performance reports - SaveThePostOffice.com
November 10, 2013
A former subcontractor and employee of Northrop Grumman named Beau Michaud has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Virginia against Grumman. The Complaint claims that Grumman repeatedly gave ďfalse reports and certifications to the USPS that materially misrepresent the speed, reliability, accuracy and efficiency of the FSS machines and that materially misrepresent the conformity of the machines to the Contractís requirements.Ē ....
"The machines were supposed to save $600 million a year, but thatís not happening. Theyíre running too slow and need a lot of maintenance, and sometimes the mail must be sorted the old fashioned way, by hand. Apparently, they are driving up the costs of mail processing more than they are decreasing delivery costs." ....
PRC Public Rep lays into Postal Service on Stamford closing - SaveThePostOffice.com
November 9, 2013
The Public Representative of the Postal Regulatory Commission has filed comments responding to the Postal Service's Motion to Dismiss the appeal on the closing of the post office in Stamford, Conn. The comments are worth reading.
The Postal Service initially said it closed the post office because the sale of the buildig was proceeding, but then it changed the explanation and said the post office had to be closed for an emergency suspension because of unsafe, deteriorating conditions in the building.
The PR says she is "disturbed" by the explanation and finds it "disingenuous." She also criticizes the Postal Service for failing to give customers an opportunity to offer input on the suspension and suggests there was no real emergency justifying a closure on two-days' notice. The PR argues that the suspension was actually a de facto discontinuance so the Commission should hear the appeal. There's more on the background on the Stamford closing here, and the PR's comments are here [pdf].
Iowa City may ask USPS not to leave downtown - Press-Citizen.com
Leaders didn't know of move earlier because letter was never sent
November 8, 2013
Iowa City leaders plan to ask U.S. Postal Service officials to reconsider leaving downtown Iowa City.
USPS officials met with local residents in August to announce plans for a new, smaller post office in the ďsame general vicinityĒ as the current facility at 400 S. Clinton St. However, a letter sent to the city last month shows USPS wants to move the operation to Pepperwood Plaza on Highway 6, almost two miles from downtown. ....
FSS Contractor Defrauded USPS, Whistleblower Says - Dead Tree Edition
November 9, 2013
A whistleblower is claiming that his former employer, Northrop Grumman, defrauded the U.S. Postal Service by providing it false information about the Flats Sequencing System.
The ex-employee ďalleges that the company violated the False Claims Act in a number of ways with respect to the FSS contract [and] alleges damage to the USPS in an amount of at least approximately $179 million annually,Ē Northrop Grumman stated in its recent quarterly financial report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The ex-employee also ďalleges he or she was improperly discharged in retaliation.Ē
Magazines accidentally ejected from an FSS machine.
Northrop Grumman was the lead contractor for the FSS Ė 100 football-field-sized machines designed to sort catalogs, magazines, and other flat mail. The company has sued USPS for non-payment, and the Postal Service has counter-sued with a claim that Northropís late and substandard work prevented the FSS from realizing its expected cost savings.
So far, the FSS has resulted in higher mail-handling costs that have outweighed the Postal Serviceís decreased delivery costs. But postal officials expect productivity to rise early next year when flats mailers will be required to present mail for FSS ZIP codes in a manner that is optimized for FSS. ....
How to Save The Incredible Shrinking Post Office - HuffingtonPost.com
November 8, 2013
What Is To Be Done?
The post office does not have to disappear. Here are five steps toward reviving and strengthening this valuable public institution.
1. Declare an immediate 2-year moratorium on any further post office closings or reduction in hours. This will give the country time to catch its breath and implement steps 2 through 5.
2. Require that a genuine analysis of the costs to the community occurs before a closure or reduction in hours is implemented and the information be easily and transparently available to the communities targeted.
3. Create a genuine appeals process. Currently communities can appeal to the Postal Regulatory Commission, an agency within the USPS, but the process is cumbersome and only a very, very small percentage of appeals are successful. But the PRC cannot overturn a USPS recommendation but only send it back to the USPS for further review.
4. Approve the current USPS request for a 3-cent increase in the price of a first class stamp. This 5.7 percent increase would generate $2.3 billion, more than would likely be saved by reducing hours, closing post offices and mail processing centers combined. And the United States would still boast by far the lowest priced mail delivery of any developed country. When it comes to price increases we should compare the way the USPS monopoly of first class mail compares to the cable tv companies virtual monopoly of tv. Between 1995 and 2012 for example, cable prices rose by 176 percent while the price of a first class stamp rose by only 42 percent. If the current request is approved the price of a letter will still have risen by less than the rate of inflation while cable rates have increased by more than triple that rate.
5. Eliminate the 2006 Congressional requirement that USPS prefund 100 percent of retirement health benefits over 10 years at a cost of about $5.5 billion a year. No other public agency or private company does this. For more background on how this bizarre situation came about, see here. In brief, in 2003 the USPS discovered a $70 billion surplus in its pension fund. But under federal accounting, allowing the USPS to tap that surplus would increase the federal deficit. So Congress made the surplus disappear by requiring the USPS to prepay health benefits, an artificially imposed expense that has accounted for virtually the entire USPS deficit.
The American people created the post office. The American people can still save the post office. But we need to do something right now. Time is running out. ....
Mail carriers apologize for late delivery - AlexCityOutlook.com
November 7, 2013
The United States Postal Service delivers mail through rain, sleet or snow.
But as of late, Danita Cheatham, shop steward for the National Association of Letter Carriers, said that mail around Alexander City and Kellyton is being delivered a little later than usual.
ďOur trucks have been late from Birmingham,Ē Cheatham said. ďThe Postal Service has consolidated Huntsville and Tuscaloosa in Birmingham, and they havenít been able to work all the load.Ē
"The postal service consolidated itís mail processing centers in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville to Birmingham in February of this year. An Anniston-based mail-processing center was also moved to the Birmingham location in the consolidation." ....
Silver Spring post office may be losing customers due to location - Gazette.net
Business owners: new branch is not accessible for the downtown community
November 6, 2013
Business owners and residents in Silver Spring are hoping to convince the Postal Service to bring back a post office to downtown.
Members of the Urban District Advisory Committee discussed the status and future of the U.S. Post Office branch at 8653 16th Street in Silver Spring at a meeting Oct. 17.
Last year, two post officesó the main post office branch at 8616 Second Street and the Silver Spring Center branch at 8455 Colesville Roadó were consolidated into one at a new location on 16th Street.
But the committee said the new location, for an urban area that is growing, is not easily accessible.
ďWe lost both of our postal offices in the urban district area, and so now, as a small business member, for me to go to the post office I really have to bring my car to work and drive over to 16th Street to mail a package,Ē said Jon Lourie, a member of the Urban District Advisory Committee. ....
Local Residentsí Complaints Prompt Post Office Review - KWTX.com
November 7, 2013
(November 7, 2013) The U.S. Postal Service says it will look into complaints from hundreds of Central Texas residents about late mail delivery and carrier errors, problems that seem to have worsened since mail-processing was moved from Waco to facilities in Coppell and Fort Worth.
Some residents have complained that their mail is being delivered as much as six hours later than normal and other say theyíre often receiving mail addressed to someone else. ....
USPS CEO sees big opportunity in package deliveries - FoxBusiness.com [video]
November 6, 2013
U.S. Postal Service postmaster general Patrick Donahoe
weighs in on budget woes, new APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
Two historic post offices in Connecticut get gutted - SaveThePostOffice.com
November 6, 2013
When the Postal Service sold two historic post offices in Connecticut, there was probably a general sense that they would be protected by preservation laws. But over the past few weeks, the post offices in Fairfield and Greenwich have been totally gutted, and a good portion of the Fairfield exterior has been destroyed as well. About all that will remain of these two structures is the shell.
Maybe there wasnít much worth preserving inside these buildings, but it still comes as a shock to see pictures like those in the slideshow. Apparently all that matters of history is the facade. ....
USPS North Reading, MA Middlesex Essex P & DC Network Optimization Phase 3 - FBO.gov
Solicitation Number: 089495-14-A-0004
Agency: United States Postal Service
Office: Facilities Purchasing
Location: Northern Facilities Construction CMT
Added: Nov 05, 2013 1:34 pm
The Northern Facilities Construction CMT of the United States Postal Service is soliciting proposals for Phase 3 of a building site prep project at USPS owned Middlesex-Essex Processing & Distribution Center, 76 Main Street, Middlesex County, North Reading, Massachusetts. Work to include but not limited to all necessary labor, materials, equipment, superintendence, transportation, temporary construction of every nature, and all other services and facilities necessary for removal of portions of existing LOG/LOG breakouts, new CCTV security cameras, Fire Alarm MODs, power Modifications for new automation, lighting and lighting control modifications, including all incidental work described in the contract documents. The estimated cost of the work is between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000, with construction completion no later than one hundred eighty (180) calendar days after receipt of the Notice to Proceed.
Appeals Court To Decide If Post Office Should Deliver To San Francisco SRO Tenants - CBSLocal.com
November 5, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)ó The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in San Francisco Tuesday over whether the U.S. Postal Service is required to deliver mail to tenants in single room occupancy (SRO) hotels. The outcome will impact tens of thousands of low-income tenants.
About 30,000 of San Franciscoís poorest residents live in SROís and in most cases the post office leaves all the mail for all the tenants in a single pile. The city and the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, under the leadership of Randy Shaw, filed suit over four years ago saying each tenant is entitled to individual mail delivery. ....
Click Here to listen to recording for case - USCourts.gov
(City and County of San Francis, et al v. USPS, et al, No. 12-15473)
Ignoring Settled Law, Ninth Circuit Panel Defends Post Office Denying Mail to SRO Tenants - BeyondChron.org
What's really forcing the USPS into bankruptcy? - KALW.org
November 5, 2013
Earlier this year, demonstrators staged a ďcamp-outĒ on the steps of Berkeley Post Office building, which dates to 1914. Residents donít want to see it go, but itís part of a much larger plan by the US Postal Service to sell some of its $85 billion real estate portfolio.
Investigative reporter Peter Byrne has written an e-book that explores the rationale behind the sales, taking on the behind-the-scenes issues that are forcing the Postal Service toward bankruptcy. The e-book is called ďGoing Postal: US Senator Diane Feinsteinís Husband Sells Post Offices to his Friends...Cheap.Ē
KALWís Ben Trefny spoke with Byrne and asked him if the problem boils down to the Post Officeís reliance on ďsnail mail.Ē
PETER BYRNE: The US Postal Service has a monopoly on the delivery of mail. And itís a very valuable monopoly. Clearly, the private sector would like to own that monopoly.
Click Here [mp3] for the audio player to listen to complete interview.
San Francisco Sues Post Office Over Snail Mail Discrimination - SFWeekly.com
November 5, 2013
The City of San Francisco has filed an appeal with the federal appellate court, challenging a lower court's decision to uphold a United States Postal Service policy that allows mail carriers to dump unsorted mail in bundles to Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs).
This policy, some say, is unfair and discriminatory since mail carriers are required to place letters, bills, junk mail, and all other missives in the mailboxes of individual residents who are living in apartments that are not designated SROs. ....
USPS's Own Words May Doom Its Rate Increases - Dead Tree Edition
November 4, 2013
The U.S. Postal Serviceís attempt to enact hefty rate increases has plenty of critics, but the most damaging words against the proposal may have come from the Postal Service itself.
Postal officials claim that the vast majority of USPSís revenue losses in recent years were caused by the economic recession of 2007-2009 Ė an ďexigentĒ circumstance that could justify rate increases exceeding the rate of inflation. ....
TROY'S COLUMN ó Frustrated with your Gazette delivery? - RedwoodFallsGazette.com
November 3, 2013
"Unfortunately, as we all know, the postal service has been undergoing some changes in recent years, and those changes have impacted the delivery of our mail Ė whether it be the newspaper or the birthday card from our grandma we hoped to see on our actual birthday.
What makes it even more frustrating is local postal service employees have little they can do, either, and when questions are asked the only response they can give is to tell us they really canít say anything.
For example, did you know the time mail has to be in to make it in the dayís delivery has changed? It is now earlier than it had been in the past, and postal service leadership much higher up the chain than the average customer is able to talk with, in their infinite wisdom, did not feel it was necessary to publicize it.
It is no wonder fewer people are utilizing the U.S. Postal Service today."
Dianne Feinstein Delivers Postal Profits to Hubby - Townhall.com
November 4, 2013
"If they really wanted to succeed in life, what I should have done was teach my kids how to be politicians.
Education? Forget it.
Experience? Not necessary.
My children merely had to learn how to turn on the charm, smile, and promise anything and everything with one objective in mind, to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and/or the United States Senate.And this would be their reward: Cheap healthcare, free parking, extravagant junkets, lifetime pensions, unlimited use of health spas, frequent television and radio time, and of course ďlegalĒ insider stock trading.
But perhaps the greatest incentive would have been something like the apparent deal that was recently orchestrated by the senior Democratic Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, as she convinced her fellow senators to sell 56 buildings that currently house offices for the U.S. Postal Service.
Rumor has it that the sale of the properties will fetch about $19 billion. The interesting point, and what all future House and Senate wannabes should aspire to, is having a spouse who owns the company that will broker the U.S. Postal Service deal. That company is the CBRE Group and that spouse is Richard Blum. A commission of 3% to 6%, or about $1 billion, is definitely quite handsome and will be received by Mr. Blum and Mrs. Blum (Dianne Feinstein)."
Tri-Citians see effects of mail handling changes - TheNewsTribune.com
November 2, 2013
Tri-City residents are seeing the effects of the recent closure of Pasco's mail handling facility, a union official said.
The post office on Court Street, located in the same building as the former mail handling facility, has been dealing with 20 times more rejected mail since U.S. Postal Service mail handling operations were moved July 19 to Spokane, said John Michael Wald, local American Postal Workers Union president.
The additional manual work required to sort the mail is leading to mail carriers having to push their schedules back, he said.
When the Pasco facility processed its own mail, Wald said it would typically see between 1,500 and 2,000 pieces of mail kicked into the "reject bin" because they didn't have a proper bar code, Wald said. But time constraints in Spokane have caused that number to skyrocket.
"Spokane just doesn't have the time to properly run the rejects, so they give them to us," he said.
And all that mail must be sorted by hand to be placed in proper sequence for delivery, which pushes back the schedule for carriers, Wald said.
This means people who leave outgoing mail in their home mailbox shouldn't expect to see it sent to Spokane the same day. Wald said about 15 of 90 mail routes that operate out of Pasco get back to the post office before the last truck leaves at 5:30 p.m. for Spokane because carriers are so backed up. He said some carriers are on their routes until after 8 p.m.
The result is hundreds of thousands of undelivered letters sitting in the post office overnight, Wald said. When Pasco operated the mail-handling facility, everything would have typically been sent that day, says Wald.
"The employees who work in Pasco are so thoroughly disgusted and almost embarrassed that this is the quality of service the postal service thinks the American people deserve," he said. ....
Layers of Redundant Management Have Been Eliminated, USPS Says - Dead Tree Edition
October 31, 2013
The U.S. Postal Service's public relations department responded last night to a recent Dead Tree Edition article. We are publishing the response in its entirety, without comment, except to note that article was based on a combination of verifiable facts and readers' opinions. We also note that many postal employees -- supervisors and "suits" as well as worker bees -- have complained vociferously about USPS's organizational structure. And that a significant overhaul of that structure would probably face legal hurdles.
To Dead Tree Edition
Your recent blog post, 17 More Ways USPS Is Not Like a Real Business, provides some good examples of how the Postal Serviceís inflexible and outdated business model hinders our ability to compete in todayís marketplace and why there is an urgent need for passage of comprehensive postal reform legislation. We would, however, like to debunk a few myths in your list. ....