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April 13, 2014

ACHP to report on disposal of historic post offices this week; the sales go on
On Thursday of this week, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is expected to release a report on the Postal Service’s compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act when it disposes of historic post offices.  The Council was directed to prepare...

April 6, 2013

Why do so many cars crash into post offices?

March 29, 2014

PRC tells USPS Load Leveling not ready for prime time
Earlier this week the Postal Regulatory Commission issued its advisory opinion on Load Leveling, the plan to slow down delivery of some Standard mail to help redistribute the large volume on Monday.  The Commission has essentially told the Postal Service that its plan...

March 24, 2014

Postal Service releases its February financial statement: First impressions of the rate increase?
One short month isn’t a significant amount of time to measure the impact of the rate increase that went into effect at the end of January, but the Postal Service's financial report for February came out today, and the numbers may provide an initial...

March 23, 2014

POStPlan implementation: 9,000 post offices downgraded, 4,000 to go, RIF's coming
The Postal Service is continuing to implement POStPlan, its initiative to reduce hours at 13,000 post offices and replace their postmasters with part-time workers.  At this point, POStPlan has been implemented, or will be implemented soon, at almost 9,000 post offices...

March 17, 2014

The masquerade continues: Playing politics with the Postal Service's unfunded liabilities
MARK JAMISON The House subcommittee on Federal Workforce, US Postal Service, & the Census held a hearing on Thursday, March 13, to receive testimony on the Postal Service’s $100 billion “unfunded liability.”  Initially the hearing was billed...

March 10, 2014

Bailout Baloney: Issa holds a hearing on the "Postal Service's $100 billion in unfunded liabilities"
On March 13, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa, will hold a hearing called “the Postal Service’s $100 Billion in Unfunded Liabilities.”  Don’t be shocked if you hear the phrase “taxpayer...

March 7, 2014

Sale of the Bronx General Post Office moves forward: Final offers due March 12
Next Wednesday is the deadline for submitting bids to purchase the historic Bronx General Post Office.  The Postal Service is apparently proceeding with its plan to sell the building even though Congress has recommended a moratorium on the disposal of historic post...

March 5, 2014

Postal Service publishes Final Rule on service changes for Standard Mail
Today the Postal Service published the Final Rule 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)...

March 2, 2014

Under same management: Some reservations about postal banking
MARK JAMISON A recent report by the USPS Office of Inspector General on offering financial services at the post office won immediate support from Senator Elizabeth Warren, and postal banking was thrust into the limelight.  A big front-page story in Huffington Post...

February 23, 2014

Postal Service’s Load Leveling plan hits a load of opposition
Earlier this week, there were reports that letter carriers in Washington, D.C. were told by management to end their routes before completing their deliveries in order to keep down overtime costs.  Apparently this caused massive pileups of undelivered mail and delivery...

February 17, 2014

USPS Environmental Assessment on historic Stamford post office runs into problems
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...

February 14, 2014

Preservationists oppose change to USPS NEPA regulations on property disposal
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...

February 13, 2014

Premature motion: PRC dismisses bid to view non-public Amazon docs
MARK JAMISON Almost three months ago, I filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission seeking access to documents filed under seal in the docket that dealt with the Postal Service’s deal with Amazon to deliver its parcels on Sundays.  Last week, the PRC...

February 9, 2014

The Senate puts the PRC in the backseat — or maybe not even in the car
BY MARK JAMISON On Thursday of this past week, the Senate held the second of two markup sessions on the postal reform bill, a.k.a. the manager’s or substitute amendment, submitted by Senators Carper and Coburn.  At the first session held the previous week, on...

February 3, 2014

Can it get much worse? The Senate tries postal reform, again
BY MARK JAMISON The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs finally took up its postal reform bill at a markup session on Wednesday, January 29.  The new S.1486 the committee took up is significantly different from the Carper-Coburn bill released...

February 2, 2014

Postal Service releases post office closure and suspension lists for 2013
The Postal Service has released the official lists of post office closings and suspensions in FY 2013.  The lists come in response to a Chairman’s Information Request made as part of the Annual Compliance Determination Review (ACDR) conducted by the Postal...

January 31, 2014

Postal Service ignores moratorium on post office closings, shuts down Glenoaks Station
On September 19, 2013, in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Postmaster General Donahoe made a pledge not to close post offices or processing plants while Congress debated postal reform.  That promise seemed dubious at the time...

January 27, 2014

The disappearing postal workforce: Counting up the losses
BY MARK JAMISON On the first Friday of each month, economists, policymakers, and professionals in the finance industry wait for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to release the current jobs report.  The BLS report, which quantifies unemployment in the U.S., is widely...

January 25, 2014

Environmental report on disposal of historic Stamford post office raises questions
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, it’s a...

January 24, 2014

The Privatization Ruse
BY MARK JAMISON Accusations that the PMG’s ultimate goal is to privatize the Postal Service are apparently starting to make some of the folks at L’Enfant Plaza a little touchy. On January 17, the Washington Post ran a story about the new postal counters in...

January 23, 2014

Try, try again: Postal Service and mailers to appeal PRC ruling on exigent rate increase
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...

January 19, 2014

How slowing down Standard Mail paves the way for ending Saturday delivery
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 “load level” the heavy volume of mail that is normally delivered on Monday...

January 17, 2014

Thinking inside the PO Box
BY MARK JAMISON On January 26, postage rates are going up — 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...

January 16, 2014

Alternatives to the Post Office: Expanded Access in FY 2013
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...

January 13, 2014

Postal Service proposes changing environmental regulations on post office disposals
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...

January 12, 2014

Sale of historic Bronx Post Office moves forward; bids due Jan. 15
The Postal Service is moving forward on the sale of the historic Bronx General Post Office at 558 Grand Concourse in New York City.  The property is listed on the USPS-CBRE Properties for Sale website, where a new Call-for-Offers announcement says interested parties...

January 11, 2014

Delivery after dark: Postal Service presents data showing big increase in carriers out after 5:00
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...

January 9, 2014

Staplizing the Post Office: A dozen reasons to just say no
Back in November, the Postal Service quietly announced that it was setting up postal counters in a couple of Staples stores in San Jose and South San Francisco.  The website Going Postal broke the Staples story a few days later with its report...

January 7, 2014

The corporatization of the Postal Service: Post office closures, suspensions, relocations, and reductions in 2013
One of the most persistent refrains in the debate about the Postal Service is that it needs to act more like a business.  That means different things to different people, but for many, the model for where the Postal Service needs to go is to be found in Europe.  ...

January 5, 2013

Regarding the sale and preservation of historic post offices and their art: An open letter to the Inspector General
Last summer, the USPS Office of Inspector General announced that it was doing an audit investigation on the preservation and disposal of historic post offices.  The audit was due out in October, but the release has been postponed until later this year.  The audit...

January 1, 2014

A New Year’s Resolution: Support the People’s Post Office
BY MARK JAMISON Here’s a resolution for the New Year: Support the people’s 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,...

December 29, 2013

The plot thickens: An OIG solicitation, the Palmer Square Post Office, and the CBRE-LCOR connection
There were a couple of interesting developments this week in the story about how the Postal Service and its real estate broker CBRE are handling post office lease deals and the sales of postal properties.  On Christmas Day, the USPS Office of Inspector General ...

December 27, 2013

Standard Mail slows down: The Postal Service requests an advisory opinion on load leveling DSCF mail
The delivery of a large portion of Standard Mail is about to slow down.  Today the Postal Service submitted a request for an advisory opinion to the Postal Regulatory Commission concerning a change in service standards for DSCF Standard Mail. DSCF discounted mail...

December 24, 2013

PRC grants rate increase but for less than two years
The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved the Postal Service’s request for an exigent rate increase of 4.3 percent, but only for about 18 months to two years, however long it takes to recoup $2.8 billion in lost profits.  In the short term, the increase will...

December 22, 2013

The PRC decides the rate case: What's in Santa's bag for the mailers?
On Monday or Tuesday of this week, the Postal Regulatory Commission will issue an order on the Postal Service’s renewed request for an exigent rate increase.  If it’s granted in full, postal rates will go up about 4.3 percent.  That’s on top of...

December 18, 2013

Relocation, relocation, relocation: The new M.O. for closing post offices
The Postal Service may no longer be talking about closing thousands of post offices, but it has been busy “relocating” them.  In dozens of cities across the country, a downtown post office is being closed and the building, often a historic landmark, is...

December 15, 2013

Canada gets cluster-boxed: Why it can’t happen here
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,...

December 12, 2013

The Postal Service tries to pull a fast one in Harlem
BY CHUCK ZLATKIN The federal regulations on relocating post offices don't put a lot of demands on the Postal Service — a public hearing, a short comment period, a week's notice before the meeting, and not much more.  In many cases, the Postal Service...

December 9, 2011

Harlem's College Station post office may be sold and "relocated"
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 it’s been serving the neighborhood since 1937.  It looks like 2014...

December 6, 2013

Looking forward: Ten reasons to think twice about Metro Post
In Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel Looking Backward, written in 1887, a young man falls asleep and wakes up in the year 2000.  It’s a romance as well as a sci-fi story, so the time-traveling hero soon meets a young lady who helps introduce him to the...

December 3, 2013

Why I did it and what’s at stake: Shining the light on NSAs
BY MARK JAMISON A couple of weeks ago I filed a motion with the Postal Regulatory Commission requesting access to the documents related to the Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) on the program to deliver Amazon parcels on Sundays.  As I write this, the PRC has not yet...

December 1, 2013

It's Sunday and the Postman Cometh: Mysteries of the Amazon deal, continued
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...

November 27, 2013

Where you can get Harry Potter stamps — and where you can’t: A list, map, and complaint
The new Harry Potter stamps were released last week, but you can’t get them at just any old post office.  You’ll need to travel to one of the 3,100 post offices that the Postal Service has designated as a Premier Post Office.  A list of them, along...

November 26, 2013

What Would JFK Do? The Yale Commencement Address
INTRODUCTION BY MARK JAMISON For the past couple of weeks, the media have focused, almost obsessively, on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November 22 being the fiftieth anniversary of his death.  I found myself wandering through some of JFK’s...

November 20, 2013

Mysteries of the Amazon deal: Why the Postal Service is skimming the cream on Sundays
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...

November 17, 2013

Sources of change: The Postal Service breaks down the mail volumes for the PRC
The news media are busy this weekend reporting on the Postal Service’s 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...

November 12, 2013

What's fair is fair: Amazon customers get delivery on Sunday, SRO residents get none at all
While the news this week has been dominated by rave reviews for the Postal Service's announcement that it will deliver packages on Sunday to Amazon Prime customers (who pay $79 a year for the privilege), there’s another story going on about residents of single...

November 11, 2013

The next chapter in postal privatization: Post Offices inside of Staples
The Postal Service has rather quietly announced a pilot program to put post offices inside of Staples.  It’s 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...

November 10, 2013

Tribal Lore: Whistleblower lawsuit claims Northrop Grumman gave USPS false FSS performance reports
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 “false reports and certifications to the USPS that...

November 6, 2013

Two historic post offices in Connecticut get gutted
  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...

October 29, 2013

Sale of Stamford post office on hold: U.S. District Court grants temporary injunction
Yesterday there were several important developments in the fight over the historic Atlantic Street Station post office in Stamford, Connecticut, which closed on September 20 with only two-days’ notice to customers, just as the building was about to be sold to a...

October 28, 2013

Post Offices sold and for sale: An update on the inventory
It’s not easy getting information out of the Postal Service about the properties it has sold or those it has earmarked for disposal, but thanks to investigative reporter Peter Byrne, a lot of news articles, and various other sources, there’s enough information...

October 24, 2013

We're listening: The Postal Service holds 8,500 POStPlan meetings, but why?
Yesterday the Postal Service gave the Postal Regulatory Commission a copy of the Household Diary Study, the annual report on mail use and attitudes.  The study says this about how people are using their post office: "In spite of a declining frequency of visits...

October 23, 2013

Why did the Stamford post office close? Conflicting answers, disturbing questions
The Postal Service closed the Atlantic Street post office in Stamford, Connecticut, on September 20, 2013, on two-days’ notice to customers.  A USPS press release dated September 18 explains that the closure was due to the fact that the Postal Service was...

October 20, 2013

USPS #fail
BY ZOË KEATING I usually save my blog for music issues. This isn’t a music issue but everything is connected. That sense that the world is falling apart, that we can’t get our sh*t together … it affects me. So I’m going to self-indulgently...

October 15, 2013

The path to postal nirvana: An entitlement program for the mail industry
BY MARK JAMISON The postal monopolies have been the subject of much discussion recently.  In last month’s Senate hearings, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma offered his view that the monopolies weren’t worth much anymore so the Postal Service doesn’t...

October 10, 2013

How would an exigent rate increase impact mail volumes and revenues?
The Postal Service’s request to the Postal Regulatory Commission for an exigent rate increase is on hold right now due to the government shutdown.  The Request, along with testimony from three Postal Service witnesses and a slew of tables, was submitted on...

October 6, 2013

Who’s behind the government shutdown? Some of the same people trying to privatize the Postal Service
There’s an article on the front page of today’s New York Times about how the federal budget impasse didn't just happen overnight.  "A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning" describes how a coalition of conservative activists made plans...

October 4, 2013

USPS properties for lease: Business as usual or a new approach to excess space?
The Postal Service and its real estate broker CBRE have created a new website advertising postal properties for lease.  It’s the companion site to the USPS-CBRE Properties for Sale website, which went up in November 2011.  The domain name for the new...

October 2, 2013

POStPlan implementation 60 percent done: Hours reduced at over 8,000 post offices
The Postal Service is well along in its implementation of POStPlan, the initiative to cut hours at 13,000 post offices and replace their postmasters with part-time workers.  Since beginning the process a year ago, the Postal Service has reduced hours at about 8,300...

October 1, 2013

Sale of historic Stamford Post Office challenged in federal court
The historic post office in Stamford, Connecticut, closed on Friday, September 20, with just two days’ notice to customers.  The Postal Service has made arrangements to sell the post office to a Westchester developer who plans to tear down a section of the...

September 27, 2013

Lady Justice turns a blind eye: The PRC dismisses the Freistatt appeal as "untimely"
BY MARK JAMISON “The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men.  It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.”...

September 27, 2013

A few modest proposals concerning the rules on post office closures and appeals
BY MARK JAMISON The Postal Regulatory Commission recently dismissed two appeals on post office closings — Freistatt, Missouri, and the Franklin Station in Somerset County, New Jersey.  Both appeals were dismissed because they were filed late – in both...

September 26, 2013

Shades of deception: The PMG testifies to the Senate
BY MARK JAMISON The Senate held another hearing on the Postal Service on Thursday, September 19.  The hearing was titled: “Outside the Box: Reforming and Renewing the Postal Service, Part I – Maintaining Services, Reducing Costs and Increasing Revenue...

September 25, 2013

USPS August financial statement: Without RHBF prefunding, YTD $182 million profit
The Postal Service’s August financial report came out yesterday.  With just one month left in the fiscal year, it looks as though 2013 will mark a turnaround in the fiscal condition of the Postal Service.  Revenues are up 1.4 percent over the same period...

September 25, 2013

Postmaster General pledges no post office closures during postal reform but closes post offices anyway
On September 19, Postmaster General Donahoe testified to the Senate Homeland Security Committee about the state of the Postal Service and the dire need for legislation.  During his testimony, the PMG made a pledge not to close post offices or processing plants while...

September 24, 2013

What we have here is a failure to communicate: Learning from Jekyll Island
BY MARK JAMISON On September 12, we reported this story on Jekyll Island, Georgia, where the Postal Service apparently attempted to end delivery service for the island’s residents and businesses in exchange for maintaining a post office.  The island is owned by...

September 20, 2013

"Makes no sense at all": Ewa Beach Post Office headed for closure
The Postal Service has announced plans to close the Ewa Station post office on Renton Road in Ewa Beach, West Oahu, Hawaii.  In its “proposal to close,” the Postal Service gives two reasons: There are alternate sites within a short radius, and “...

September 20, 2013

Postal Service closes Stamford CT post office: A "relocation" with no new location
The Postal Service is closing the historic 1916 post office in Stamford, Connecticut, on Friday — without ever having conducted a discontinuance study. That’s because the Postal Service classified the closing as a “relocation” rather than a “...

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On Privatization

Good Reading on Postal Privatization

Also: Sarah Ryan's "Understanding Postal Privatization: Corporations, Unions, and the "Public Interest"


 

Privatization in the UK

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Organizing to Save Rural Post Offices


A Community Organizing Toolkit

Revised November 2012

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