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Sat Feb 13 2021 16:06:10

Online Sellers Could See Slower First Class Mail Deliveries

By: Ina Steiner

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A newspaper report indicates the USPS is considering slower mail and higher prices for first-class mail. The Washington Post said on Friday that a key provision of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's strategy includes "banning air travel for all first-class mail at a time when delivery rates are at historic lows."

While that would impact mail (letters and such), we're guessing it may not include First-Class Package Service, which is a competitive commercial product rather than dominant - but we're not 100% sure if there would be no impact on FCPS under the Postmaster General's forthcoming plans. But it could presumably impact eBay's new Standard Envelope shipping option for trading cards (and soon to be available in the eBay Stamps category).

Any impact on mail is concerning not only to online sellers and the general public, but to members of Congress as well.

On Friday (February 12), Senator Duckworth sent a letter to the President about her concerns over the Postal Service and its leadership, asking him to replace every member of the current USPS Board of Governors to show, "silence in the face of a campaign of sabotage will not be tolerated." 

The Senator was referring to operational changes Postmaster General DeJoy implemented last spring, which he agreed to postpone in August.

Also on Friday, two House Representatives introduced bipartisan legislation to return overnight delivery for first class mail. (Between 2012 and 2015, the USPS closed processing plants as part of the Network Rationalization initiative.) But that is seemingly the opposite of what the Washington Post said Postmaster General DeJoy has planned for first class service.

Representatives may have the chance to hear DeJoy explain his plans in person soon. On Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform requested the Postmaster General testify at a hearing on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. The hearing will examine legislative proposals "to place the Postal Service on a more sustainable financial footing going forward while preserving the delivery performance standards on which the American people rely."

On Tuesday, DeJoy delivered a video message to employees where he laid the groundwork for his plans, explaining the need for taking action. The General did not provide details of his plan, which he said he would announce soon, but he did provide some general information and some commitments.

The underlying commitments of this plan include the following, he said:

1) We remain committed to a six-day-a-week delivery service to every address in the nation. This is not only the law, but is in fact necessary for our future success.

2) We remain committed to stabilizing our workforce, especially for our associates who are not yet in a career position. Every postal employee should have the ambition for a long-term career with the Postal Service. And it's management's job to create an environment for them to do so.

3) We are committed to investing in our infrastructure to prepare us for the new economy, which includes vehicles, technology, and package sortation equipment.

However, he said that alone would not solve all of the USPS's problems. "Our future operating plans intend to address the failures of the network, including all aspects of plant processing, transportation, and unachievable service standards - changes are needed."

That characterization of service standards - "unachievable" - makes it clear DeJoy thinks the standards themselves are part of the problem and need changing.

"The fact of the matter is that we have not met our service standards for the past 8 years," he said.

DeJoy laments the decline in First Class mail, but slowing it down and at the same time making it more expensive could accelerate the decline, a seemingly no-win vicious cycle.

Commercial mailers told the Washington Post it might cause them to pull more volume out of the mail stream. "In the long run, that could force the Postal Service to increase postage rates on the customers left in the system - including small businesses, seniors and people with disabilities - or to further cut service," it wrote.

Those without a Washington Post subscription can read an account on CNN.

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by: Vox29 This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Feb 16 14:24:22 2021

This is all very tragic if it weren't for the fact that the weather affects mail delivery more than anything else. The mail carrier's pledge does not count for anything because it's too dangerous now. Half the country is socked in with snow and bitterly cold temperatures. I wouldn't send out a Navy Seal in that weather, and yet everybody is complaining about delivery times beginning to slow down.

Obviously, the USPS is operating behind the times and needs to catch up. Those sour pusses working the counters are pinched by the current rules and pay structure, so I'm not surprised by that. USPS used to be a government entity until it was assailed by conservatives ignorant of economics who wanted to take USPS to a private business. I dare say that the first thing which has to go is DeJoy and the second is that pension mandate which is robbing USPS of usable currency The whole reason they keep upping the price for postage is because of that flawed and unreasonable mandate.

I am looking forward to see what President Biden will do about this, because something has got to give.

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