Postal Service dying from 1000 cuts and a GOP stab in the back
Los Angeles Times
Republicans are always insisting that the USPS be run like a good capitalist enterprise, but few, if any, private businesses could bear the burden of funding three-quarters of a century of retired employees' medical costs over just one decade. In truth ...
Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census, released the following statement in response to the United State Postal Service’s announcement today on five-day mail delivery:
“I am deeply concerned by the United State Postal Service’s decision to transition to five day delivery without congressional consent. The elimination of Saturday mail delivery will have a negative impact on thousands of businesses across the nation that are operating on a six day schedule. This could be a damaging policy change in a fragile economy. Clearly, the Postal Service continues to face a variety of significant fiscal challenges, from decreasing mail volume and declining revenue, to the onerous mandate that the agency prefund its retiree health benefit obligations 75 years before it is necessary. However, I do not believe that the solution to improving the financial viability of the Postal Service will be found in a unilateral and legally-questionable move to five day delivery, but rather through the enactment of bipartisan, comprehensive, and well-reasoned postal reform legislation.”
• Announces the end of Saturday delivery on August 5
• NALC calls for postmaster general to step down
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe held a press conference today to announce his intention to end Saturday delivery on August 5, 2013, even though current law mandates six-day delivery. Carriers will be subjected to stand-up talks today on the unilateral decision. The PMG is dubiously claiming a “loophole” in the law will allow him to do this. NALC released this statement (see statement below) to the press denouncing Donahoe’s arrogant decision and calling for him to step down. The union is exploring all legal and political options to block Donahoe’s gambit. If he were allowed to get away with this brazen attempt to override the law and the will of Congress, he would be free to go to four-day or even three-day delivery in the future.
Statement of NALC President Fredric Rolando on Postmaster General Pat Donahoe’s plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery
Feb. 6, 2013 — Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s plan to end Saturday delivery is a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers. It would be particularly harmful to small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication.
Slowing mail service and degrading our unmatchable last-mile delivery network are not the answers to the Postal Service’s financial problems. If the Postmaster General is unwilling or unable to develop a smart growth strategy that serves the nearly 50% of business mailers that want to keep six-day service, and if he arrogantly thinks he is above the law or has the right to decide policy matters that should be left to Congress, it is time for him to step down.
This maneuver by Mr. Donahoe flouts the will of Congress, as expressed annually over the past 30 years in legislation that mandates six-day delivery, which remains in effect today. In the last Congress, which ended in January, a bi-partisan majority of Representatives co-sponsored legislation backing the continuation of Saturday delivery.
This misguided and counterproductive decision is in keeping with the Postmaster General’s slash-and-shrink approach to dealing with the Postal Service’s financial challenges. Instead of offering a real business plan to tap the full potential of this essential American institution, he is offering a plan that will doom USPS to failure.
The National Association of Letter Carriers has tried time and again to work with Postal Service management to pursue growth measures and cost savings, but it has become clear that the Postal Service leadership’s only strategy is to gut the unique postal network that provides us with the world’s most affordable delivery service, and to eliminate the services on which Americans depend.
America’s letter carriers condemn this reckless plan in the strongest terms. We call for the immediate removal of the postmaster general, who has lost the confidence of the men and women who deliver for America every day. And we urge Congress to develop a real reform plan that gives the Postal Service the freedom to grow and innovate in the digital era.
From NPR’s All Things Considered:
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe lacks the constitutional and statutory authority to unilaterally implement his announced plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery to tens of millions of American homes and businesses, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said Wednesday.
In a sternly-worded letter to Donahoe sent hours after the postmaster general announced that the U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday mail delivery starting in August, Connolly requested that USPS provide legal justification and documentation for the proposed action. The Virginia congressman made the same request to Attorney General Eric Holder and Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway.
“Logic dictates that when USPS and the Administration repeatedly request that Congress explicitly provide USPS the authority to reduce mail service from six days to five days, it is clear acknowledgement that, absent Congressional action, USPS lacks the statutory authority to do so,” Connolly said in his letter. For nearly three decades, Congress has repeatedly passed legislation prohibiting USPS from administratively transitioning to a five-day delivery mail schedule.
Connolly said that six-day mail delivery “remains a critical strength and competitive advantage for USPS that will enable it to grow business and bolster revenue in the long run.” He warned that accelerating a decline in mail volume could result in additional revenue losses and wipe out any operational cost savings, citing a 2012 confidential study commissioned by USPS showing that a 7.7 percent reduction in mail volume would lead to a revenue loss of $5.2 billion in the first year alone.
The text of Rep. Connolly’s letter to Donahoe follows:
February 6, 2013
The Honorable Patrick R. Donahoe
Postmaster General of the United States
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010
Dear Postmaster General Donahoe:
This morning you announced that the United States Postal Service (USPS) plans unilaterally to transition to a new delivery schedule during the week of August 5, 2013, seemingly challenging the legislative powers conferred upon the Congress in Article I of the United States Constitution by dismissing the need for statutory authority to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, and directly violating Public Law 112-74, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, which states that “6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level.”
Based on your own comments at today’s announcement, USPS has clearly recognized that this provision contained in annual appropriations acts for nearly three decades prohibits the agency from administratively transitioning to a 5-day delivery mail schedule based on USPS testimony before Congress requesting that authority, Presidential budget submissions expressly requesting that Congress grant USPS that authority, and a plain reading of the law, precedent, and congressional intent.
As you are aware from our past conversations, I believe 6-day delivery remains a critical strength and competitive advantage for USPS that will enable it to grow business and bolster revenue over the long-run. Accelerating a decline in mail volume by moving to 5-day delivery could result in further steep revenue losses, wiping out any operational cost-savings, while worsening the condition of USPS’ balance sheet.
As a confidential 2012 USPS-commissioned market research survey concluded, service cuts resulting in a 7.7 percent mail volume reduction would lead to a revenue loss of $5.2 billion in the first year alone. To date, USPS has failed to account for the revenue losses when pursuing so-called cost savings reforms and has consistently failed to provide Congress with any substantive empirical data to make its case for a 5-day rather than a 6-day delivery mail schedule.
Logic dictates that when USPS and the Administration repeatedly request that Congress explicitly provide USPS the authority to reduce mail service from 6-days to 5-days, it is clear acknowledgement that, absent Congressional action, USPS lacks the statutory authority to do so. Accordingly, I am requesting that USPS immediately provide a legal justification for this proposed action, including all documents related to this decision, whether produced internally, contracted out, or by another government entity, and the opinion of counsel upon which you relied to make this important decision.
By way of providing a copy of this letter, I further make the same request of the Attorney General of the United States and the Chairman of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission as to their respective opinions regarding the statutory authority whereby you proposed to make such a decision.
Gerald E. Connolly Samuel B. Graves
Member of Congress Member of Congress
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
The Honorable Ruth Y. Goldway
U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission
901 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20268-0001
Kansas City Star
Post office wants to end Saturday mail, but will it happen?
Kansas City Star
Will the post office really be able to make good on the threatened cut in service that would see regular mail delivery go to five days a week, while delivery of packages and medication would continue six days a week just as now? “I'm not sure how they ...
Condemning the US Postal Service's Move to End Saturday Delivery
The U.S. Postal Service today continued its tradition, under the leadership of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, of shooting itself in the foot. The only question that remains is: When will the madness end? By ending Saturday letter delivery in ...
Is the Post Office Breaking the Law by Eliminating Saturday Delivery?
On Wednesday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the post office would no longer deliver or process first-class mail on Saturdays — though it would continue to deliver packages and keep post offices open six days a week. (MORE: How the U.S ...
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor released the following statement regarding the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to end Saturday mail delivery. In April 2012, the Senate passed a bipartisan postal reform bill that prohibited the Postal Service from eliminating Saturday delivery for at least two years. After two years, implementation could only move forward if the USPS first attempts to raise revenue and cut costs through other means. Prior to eliminating Saturday delivery, the Postal Service must also identify communities who may be disproportionately affected by five-day delivery and develop steps to address any negative impact.
Last year, the Senate passed—and I supported—a bipartisan postal reform bill to put the U.S. Postal Service back on the road to financial stability. Unfortunately, the House refused to bring our bill to the floor, or offer a bill of their own. Due to the House’s inaction, the Postal Service is now facing crippling deficits.
While I agree the Postal Service needs to cut costs, their plan to end Saturday delivery cannot move forward without Congressional approval. They need to consider alternative measures, such as capping the salaries of their top executives or eliminating bonuses, before making changes that would hurt rural communities who depend on the Postal Service for commerce, news, and necessary goods. That being said, I hope the House will work with the Senate to pass a common-sense postal reform bill that will keep the USPS viable.
In a quick response to the postmaster general’s plan to stop six-day mail delivery, the national board of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) voted unanimously to call for his dismissal. “The declaration today by Postmaster General [Patrick] Donahoe that … Continue reading →
ANNAPOLIS, Md., Feb. 6 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today he will oppose a U.S. Postal Service plan to end Saturday mail delivery.
“The postmaster general cannot save the Postal Service by ending one of its major competitive advantages. Cutting six-day delivery is not a viable plan for the future. It will lead to a death spiral that will harm rural America while doing very little to improve the financial condition of the Postal Service,” Sanders said. “Providing fewer services and less quality will cause more customers to seek other options. Rural Americans, businesses, senior citizens and veterans will be hurt by ending Saturday mail,” Sanders added.
The House last year refused to consider a Senate-passed postal reform bill that Sanders helped draft.
The Senate measure to modernize the Postal Service would have changed a 2006 congressional requirement that the mail service pre-fund 75 years’ worth of future retiree health benefits over a 10-year period. That pre-funding requirement is responsible for about 80 percent of the Postal Service’s financial losses since 2007. “No other government agency, no other corporation in America is burdened with this mandate. This mandate must be lifted,” Sanders said.
Current federal law makes it illegal to end Saturday mail delivery. The Senate-passed bill would have reinforced the ban for two more years.
“It is time for Republican leadership in the House to work with the Senate to reform the Postal Service in a way that will not harm rural America and allows the Postal Service to adjust to the digital age without ending Saturday mail delivery,” Sanders said.
“@usps decision to eliminate Saturday delivery is inconsistent with current law and threatens to further jeopardize its customer base.”
— Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) February 6, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Susan Collins release the following statement today after the U.S. Postal Service announced it intends to end Saturday mail delivery this summer.
As former Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Collins was coauthor of a bipartisan bill, that passed the Senate last year, that would prohibit the Postal Service from eliminating Saturday deliver for at least two years. Instead, the legislation would have required the USPS to embark on a two-year period of aggressive cost-cutting first, and then only allow this reduction in service if the Government Accountability Office and postal regulators both certify that elimination of Saturday delivery is necessary to achieve solvency.
“There is no doubt that the U.S. Postal Service is in a financial crisis. It has been hit with falling mail volume, the recession, and the loss of customers to digital technology such as e-mail and online bill paying that has replaced traditional mail. Cutting service should, however, be the last resort, not the Postal Service’s first choice. The Postal Service’s decision to eliminate Saturday delivery is inconsistent with current law and threatens to further jeopardize its customer base.
In fact, in a report released in March 2011, the Postal Regulatory Commission found that the Postal Services’ proposed savings from moving to five-day delivery were overly inflated by $1.4 billion dollars. It also found that a reduction in delivery days will result in more lost revenue and fewer customers than the Postal Service had anticipated. I have always been concerned that cutting service will drive more customers away, causing revenues to decline further, and thus ensuring that the Postal Service’s financial free fall continues.
“The Postal Service is the linchpin of a $1 trillion mailing and mail-related industry that employs more than 8 million Americans in fields as diverse as direct mail, printing, catalog companies, magazine and newspaper publishing, and paper manufacturing. A healthy Postal Service is not just important to postal customers, but also to our national economy.
“The fact is, nearly 80 percent of the Postal Service’s costs are workforce-related and, as painful as it may be, finding a compassionate way to reduce these costs is simply unavoidable. That is why the bill passed by the Senate in the last Congress provided for buyouts to reduce the workforce and sensible reforms in the postal workers’ compensation program to save substantial money.
“It is critical that the Postal Service try to preserve regular, dependable service. I am disappointed that the Postal Service will only maintain six-day delivery for packages, post office boxes and priority mail. The service upon which so many American families and businesses rely will only deteriorate with the end of six-day, first class mail delivery. This may pose problems for newspapers that are mailed to customers, for seniors who rely on prescription drug deliveries, and for small businesses who send advertising flyers, among others.
“Last year, the Senate passed bipartisan postal reform legislation that former Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator Tom Carper, former Senator Scott Brown and I coauthored. It’s unfortunate that the House failed to act. Our bill encouraged the Postal Service to operate more like a business: by cutting internal costs first instead of driving away customers with deep service cuts or steep price hikes.”
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe will hold a press conference at 10 am today to announce his intention to end Saturday delivery on August 5, 2013, even though current law mandates six-day delivery. Carriers will be subjected to stand-up talks today on the unilateral decision. The PMG is dubiously claiming a “loophole” in the law will [...]postal
New York Times
Noted Post Office in Bronx May Be Put on the Market
New York Times
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