Pondering a USPS Turnaround and Other Postal Stories From the Past Week

5 day wrong wayPondering a USPS Turnaround
By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent, Linns.com

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, is puzzled.

How, he asks, can any organization that is forecasting a $1.1 billion operating profit in the current year be on the edge of bankruptcy?

The answer, he and other postal labor leaders are saying, is this could happen only if you are the United States Postal Service.

Make no mistake, Rolando is saying, the Postal Service has recorded large losses, thanks in part to the decline of first-class mail.

But now the federal agency that is older than the Constitution is making a remarkable recovery, one that Rolando says the mail service should be proclaiming with the all of the enthusiasm of its flat-rate boxes television ads.

This is no time to be making still more cuts to the mail system, Rolando is saying.

Why then is the USPS failing to tout the news of its own remarkable financial turnaround?

Rolando and other postal labor leaders say that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has become so engaged in his battle to win major — and very unpopular — changes from Congress that he dares not back down from his cries for help. Read more of the story here.

Movement Toward Privatizing the Post Office Continues
by Melissa Landon http://www.irjci.blogspot.com

Because the U.S. Postal Service will change its staffing policies in September, as many as 3,300 postmasters could lose their full-time jobs. The policy involves shortening post-office hours and providing more part-time positions and fewer full-time ones. “By October, the institution of the small-town career postmaster will become a thing of the past at almost half the country’s post offices,” says SavethePostOffice.com. (Hat tip to the Daily Yonder)

Around 8,800 post offices have already cut some hours during the past year and one half, 300 have scheduled public meetings and 3,900 have not scheduled a meeting or implemented any such changes. Read more here.

Is 5-Day Delivery USPS’s Way of Saying It’s Giving Up on Mail?
by Al Urbanski, Direct Marketing News

Will USPS let mail occasions fritter away? Consumer packaged goods marketers—the sons and daughters of Messrs. Procter and Gamble—are arguably most influential business philosophers of our time. Who doesn’t have a brand that they must nurture these days? Athletes, musicians, sandwich makers, fitness instructors, and six-year-old beauty pageant contestants all tend brands like horticulturists pamper orchids.

Everybody’s down with the program—except, perhaps, the nation’s most ubiquitous monopoly, the U.S. Postal Service.

Packaged goods marketers, whom I covered for a number of years, like to talk market share. When Coke or Pepsi gain a single point on each other, it’s bonuses and promotions for the victorious brand teams. Designated by the U.S. government as the sole tender of the 150 million-odd mailboxes of America, the Postal Service has a 100% share of the mail market. It’s not moved to excess of innovation owing to competition.

Packaged goods marketers like to talk exclusive brand assets and unique selling propositions. It’s fitting that the acronym for the latter—USPs—is the same as that for the United States Postal Service, because its claim to mailboxes is one of the few business assets worthy of the definition of the word “unique.” It’s the one and only organization allowed to open the lid of one’s mailbox or cross the plane of one’s mail slot. Try it yourself and you will soon be introduced to another unique USPS asset not found at FedEx or UPS: the Postal Inspection Service. Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

Deregulate the USPS? Bad Idea
by Keith Rathbun, OhionNews.org

The relationship between newspapers and USPS is as old as the nation. Recent USPS’ decisions have shown total disregard for this historic relationship. Proposed elimination of Saturday delivery, poor delivery and worsening service standards, exigent rate increases and unfair NSAs with direct mail companies would leave Ben Franklin rolling in his grave.

USPS service is in shambles. Ohio Governor John Kasich and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson like to boast that Ohio and Cleveland are within 600 miles of 60 percent of America’s population.

But that doesn’t matter for newspaper delivery; 66 percent of mainland USA is considered “Monday standard,” or four-day delivery from Ohio. Even the majority of Ohio is three-day delivery from Cleveland, Columbus or Cincinnati entry origination. Elimination of Saturday delivery would be crippling to the newspaper industry.

USPS claims that service has not declined, but it has now shuttered half of its mail processing plants. This has caused service, most notably in rural areas, to crumble. Newspapers are losing subscribers because of late deliveries. Yet USPS defends its service standards. This disconnect is because the postal service does not measure on-time delivery of newspapers, only first-class pieces.

It is a bad idea to deregulate the USPS, as proposed in a “reform” bill pending in Congress, Senate Bill 1486. There is some good in the bill, but it is heavily outweighed by the negative.
Read more here.

Other items of interest:

Letter Carriers’ Annual Food Drive Set For May 10 Throughout Nation.

Congressman Mike Michaud Calls On Speaker Boehner to Bring Postal Reform Legislation to the Floor After Easter Recess.

USPS is Not Obsolete.


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