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May 13, 2015

New USPS service performance reports show significant delays in delivering the mail
The Postal Service has released its service performance reports for the second quarter of the fiscal year, January 1 to March 31, 2015.  They show that it's not just your imagination — the mail has been slowing down, and in some cases, by a lot.  The...

May 12, 2015

DC Court remands barcode case back to PRC
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, issued a decision on the Postal Service’s challenge to a ruling by the Postal Regulatory Commission involving barcoding and a rate increase.  The ruling is here. The decision was a mixed bag.  The Court...

May 8, 2015

Historic Houston post office headed for demolition
Next week the Postal Service will close the post office and processing center on Franklin Street in downtown Houston.  It’s a historic building, eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but it looks as though it is headed for demolition.   In...

April 30, 2105

OIG recommends terminating the USPS-CBRE contract and refers cases for criminal investigation
The Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General has issued its fourth report criticizing the Postal Service’s oversight of the contract with its real estate broker, CBRE.  It’s entitled “Postal Service Management of CBRE Real Estate...

April 28, 2015

Oregon's Congressional delegation asks to meet with PMG on plant consolidations
The members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation have written to Postmaster General Megan Brennan requesting a meeting to discuss the Postal Service’s plan to consolidate mail processing facilities and the future of delivery standards. The letter is signed by...

April 27, 2015

USPS suspends delivery due to dog, judge files complaint with PRC
It’s not uncommon for the Postal Service to suspend delivery to a residence or even a whole block as a result of a dog problem.  The issue usually gets resolved after the customer takes steps to restrain the dog.  It’s not the kind of thing that...
Civil Disobedience and the Mailman
From the Tampa Bay News, "Ruskin gyrocopter pilot says postal officials are telling him not to talk to media," April 20, 2015 The Ruskin mail carrier who last week flew a gyrocopter into restricted airspace over Washington D.C., to make a political statement says...

April 15, 2015

Court dismisses lawsuit over Berkeley post office after USPS rescinds decision to sell the historic building
The Postal Service has rescinded its decision to relocate and sell the historic post office on Allston Way in Berkeley, California.  As a result, the legal case challenging the sale has been declared moot by the court, and the case has been dismissed. The lawsuit was...

April 10, 2015

Another kind of tax: The Postal Service cuts back at a post office deep in the hood
The Postal Service is extending collection hours at many post offices on April 15th for Tax Day, but there's at least one post office in California that's getting a lot less than extended hours.  Customers of the Marcus Foster post office, located on...

April 9, 2015

How long does the mail take? Let the Postal Service count the days
The Postal Service is proposing to change the way it measures the on-time service performance of First Class Mail.  Instead of contracting a third-party to evaluate how long it takes for the mail to be delivered, the Postal Service wants to count the days itself...

April 6, 2015

Alas, poor post office: Newsweek broods on the demise of the Postal Service
Last week Newsweek ran an opinion piece entitled “Do We Need a Postal Service?”  It originally appeared on the website of the Brookings Institute with the title, “The U.S. Postal Service’s existential problem.”  “The U.S....

April 1, 2015

A happy worker is a productive worker: Postal Pulse surveys employee engagement
Last week I wrote a post about the Postal Service’s new employee survey, Postal Pulse.  The Pulse replaces the Voice of the Employee (VOE), which the Postal Service has been using for the past 17 years.  The Pulse is now being administered to over 600,000...

March 29, 2015

The USPS and PRC ponder the meaning of "post office": The appeal on the Careywood Idaho CPO
In December 2011, the Postal Service declared a five-month moratorium on post office closings, and by the time it was over, the plans to close thousands of post offices had been abandoned.  The Postal Regulatory Commission had already dealt with over 200 appeals...

March 27, 2015

The doctor will see you now: The Postal Service takes the pulse of employees
The Postal Service has replaced the Voice of the Employee (VOE) survey with a new one called Postal Pulse.  The survey is being administered by Gallup from March 16 to April 3. You can see the old VOE survey here, and the new Postal Pulse here.   The...

March 26, 2015

"We're all in trouble": The Yantic CT post office, from suspension to appeal
The Postal Service has made a final determination to close the post office in Yantic, Connecticut, a village in Norwich.  Deberey Hinchey, the mayor of Norwich, and Kevin Ryan, a state representative, have filed an appeal on the closing to the Postal Regulatory...

March 25, 2015

PRC rejects Discover NSA and the Postal Service's "subjective intuition"
For the first time since they were created in 2002, a Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) has been rejected by the Postal Regulatory Commission.  Yesterday the PRC turned down the Postal Service’s request to add a NSA with Discover Financial Services to its...

March 23, 2015

Epic Fail for the Postal Service: The wrong model and the wrong BOG
BY MARK JAMISON In 2001 Postmaster General Bill Henderson submitted the first blueprints for a transformation of the Postal Service into a sleeker, more efficient business entity.  To justify the transformation, the rhetoric has repeated one mantra: the problem with...

March 20, 2015

Congresswoman Barbara Lee proposes moratorium on sale of historic post offices
Congresswoman Barbara Lee 
of California (13th District) has introduced legislation to halt the sale and consolidation of historic Postal Service facilities. The Moratorium on US Historic Postal Buildings Act would prevent the Postal Service from selling any...

March 20, 2015

Who Remembers the Nationwide Postal Wildcat Strike of 1970 (and Why Does That Matter)?
BY PHILIP F. RUBIO Philip F. Rubio is author of There’s Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice, and Equality.  Rubio, a historian and former postal worker, brings to life the important but neglected...

March 18, 2015

Who owns the Postal Service?
BY MARK JAMISON Who owns the post office?  Who is the post office designed to serve?  What is the system’s ultimate function? These questions are fundamental to the future and the fate of the post office, the postal network, and postal services in this...

March 15, 2015

"We Deliver for Amazon": The Postal Service's New Priority
A former postal worker in Greensboro, North Carolina, named Paul Barbot has written two excellent articles for Alternet about his experiences dealing with Amazon deliveries as a City Carrier Assistant (CCA).  The first of them — “The Horrific New Marriage...

March 14, 2015

Post office in Hinkley, CA to close: What would Erin say?
The Postal Service is closing the post office in Hinkley, California, on March 20 for an emergency suspension.  According to the local news report, the building housing the post office is being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric.  Hinkley's only gas...

February 26, 2015

Things are looking up: The Postal Service's financial report for January 2015
The Postal Service released its financial statement for January 2015 yesterday.  It shows that for the first four months of Fiscal Year 2015 (Oct. – Jan.), the Postal Service posted a $1.325 billion profit in Controllable Operating Income.  That’s...

February 17, 2015

Beware of false assumptions: The OIG looks at the Postal Service's "unfunded liabilities"
The USPS Office of Inspector General has just released a new report about the Postal Service’s unfunded liabilities for its pension and retiree health benefit funds.  It's entitled "Considerations in Structuring Estimated Liabilities."  As with...

February 14, 2015

Sale of historic Princeton post office moves forward
The sale of the historic Palmer Square post office in Princeton, New Jersey, is moving forward.  Earlier this week the Princeton Packet revealed that the post office would be relocating a few blocks away to a former West Coast Video building on Nassau Street.  ...

February 8, 2015

Historic Plant City post office discontinued, headed for sale
Earlier this week, the Postal Service announced that the historic post office on Reynolds Street In downtown Plant City, Florida, is being discontinued.  It's the first such discontinuance in over 16 months. The Plant City post office has been closed since June...

February 3, 2015

A postmaster has the last word on POStPlan
This is the final week of POStPlan implementation.  On February 7, the last of the remaining 13,000 post offices will have their hours reduced, and the last of the remaining postmasters will leave their jobs.   The Postal Service postponed the Reduction in Force (...

February 2, 2015

Bad weather closes three NYC post offices
According to the Postal Service website, three New York City post offices are closed today as a result of the “heavy snowfall in the region.”  Service has been temporarily suspended for the Bronx Stadium Station (10452); the Esplanade Station (10469); and...

January 27, 2015

The Multiplier Effect: How consolidating mail processing plants hurts the economy
When the Postal Service closes a large mail processing plant, it doesn't just impact postal workers.  There can also be significant indirect effects.  Other people lose their jobs, business activity slows, tax revenues decline.  The loss of postal jobs...

January 18, 2015

Postal rates going up again — and maybe down too
On Thursday the Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission saying it intends to raise postal rates on April 26, 2015, under its price cap authority. The USPS press release says that the price hike will generate $400 million in contribution during...

January 13, 2014

CPI rate increase looks likely as exigent increase comes to an end
Yesterday the Postal Regulatory Commission issued an order regarding the removal of the exigent rate increase, which will take place sometime late this summer.  The order addresses several issues, like providing advance notice to the mailers, what to do about Forever...

January 11, 2015

How the new service standards may slow down much more mail than the Postal Service is saying
The mail is slowing down again, but it's not clear how much.  There's good reason to be believe, though, that it will more than the Postal Service is saying. The first slowdown took place in July 2012, when the Postal Service implemented phase one of the ...

January 8, 2015

NRLCA, APWU, and USPS go to court over who sorts the mail
Early last fall, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) filed a labor grievance against the Postal Service concerning who separates and sorts the mail brought back to the post office by rural carriers.  Now the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA...

January 6, 2015

RIF date for POStPlan Postmasters extended until February
The Postal Service has announced that the Reduction in Force (RIF) separation date for all remaining impacted POStPian Postmasters has been extended from January 9 to February 7, 2015. According to a letter sent to these postmasters (dated Jan. 5), there are also new...

January 2, 2015

Where have all the blue boxes gone?
Finding a good old-fashioned mailbox where you can drop off a letter is becoming almost as difficult as finding a pay phone.  The iconic blue boxes are getting to be few and far between. Fifteen years ago, there were almost 400,000 collection boxes in the country....

December 18, 2014

Another post office gets annexed: North Platte to relocate from downtown to industrial tract
The Postal Service is continuing to close downtown post offices and move retail services to inconveniently located postal facilities on the outskirts of town.  While it may be efficient for carrier annexes and mail processing plants to be located where there's...

December 14, 2014

The Post Office in Black and White, 1935-1944
For many photographers, taking pictures of post offices is a passion, and for good reason.  Our country has are over 32,000 post offices, and they come in all shapes and sizes and vintages.  Many of them may seem rather modest and nondescript at first glance...

December 6, 2014

Prez throws PRC Chair under the bus, WaPo misses the bus completely
Josh Hicks has a piece in yesterday’s Washington Post about the announcement that Ruth Goldway has stepped down as Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, to be replaced by Commissioner Robert Taub as Acting Chairman.  It's entitled “Jet-...

December 4, 2014

Buyer opts out of purchase of historic Berkeley Post Office
The US Attorneys' office has notified the City of Berkeley that the prospective buyer of the Berkeley main post office has exercised an option to cancel the sale, which was set to close on December 22. News that the development firm of Hudson McDonald was the buyer of...

December 2, 2014

POStPlan Implementation: Just 1,600 post offices to go, but far from done
The Postal Service has implemented POStPlan at about 11,400 post offices so far.  That leaves approximately 1,630 offices where the window hours have yet to be reduced and the original postmaster is probably still on the job.  You can see a list of these...

November 28, 2014

How's the exigent rate increase doing?
Earlier this week, the Postal Service released its preliminary financial report for fiscal year 2014.  Now may be a good time to evaluate the impacts of the exigent rate increase that went into effect on January 26, 2014. Back in September 2013, when the Postal...

November 25, 2014

National Trust joins Berkeley in suit against Postal Service
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has joined the City of Berkeley in a lawsuit against the Postal Service over the sale of the Berkeley Main Post Office.  The suit complains that the Postal Service has failed to comply with federal historic preservation...

November 23, 2014

Why Congress should not get out of the way of the Postal Service
BY MARK JAMISON News that Ron Johnson, the Tea Party favorite from Wisconsin, will be taking over as chair of the Senate committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs has caused an overwhelming sense of panic among progressives and postal workers.  Johnson...

November 15, 2014

Slideshow: Postal workers protest plant closures

November 15, 2014

Did the Postal Service forget it owns the historic Lindsborg post office?
The Postal Service has closed the post office in Lindsborg, Kansas, because of concerns about the air quality.  Apparently some black mold was discovered in the basement.  That’s not too surprising considering that it’s an old building that dates back...

November 12, 2014

WaPo op-ed hacked by dysfunctional status quo
It's business as usual at the Washington Post.  Just as it has done many times over the past few years, the Post's editorial staff is calling for more cuts to postal services and more downsizing of the infrastructure, all in the name of "reform."...

Nov. 10, 2014

Village Post Offices, part 2: More debut, more questions too
In a previous post, "It takes a Village Post Office, but for what?" we questioned the financial rationale for VPOs and asked why many of them were now being placed in densely populated areas.  Now there’s more reason to pose such questions. A couple of...

November 2, 2014

It takes a Village Post Office, but for what?
Almost every day over the past year, there’s been a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new Village Post Office.  There are hundreds of stories in local newspapers about these grand openings.  The Postal Service clearly thinks that Village...

October 29, 2014

Postal Service begins expanding into 1500 Staples
The Postal Service announced back in July that it was ending its pilot program to put mini-post offices in Staples stores.  The 82 postal counters it had set up last October would be transitioned to the Approved Shipper program, which has been around for years...

October 24, 2014

Canada converts 100,000 customers to cluster boxes, only 4.9 million to go
Canada is getting cluster boxes, and lots of them.  This week Canada Post rolled out it plan to replace home delivery at the door to centralized delivery at a cluster box down the block.  Nearly 100,000 residences, plus over 3,300 businesses, have been...

October 20, 2014

Sold American: An inventory of USPS disposed properties, 2009-2014
The Postal Service has sold over 500 properties over the past five years, but it hasn’t released much information about the disposals.  A few weeks ago, however, the Postal Service finally updated its Owned Facilities report, so it’s now possible to learn...

October 15, 2014

Next in postal privatization: Goin Postal counters in 2,000 Walmarts
The Goin Postal pack-and-ship company has signed a deal to put small postal stores inside of 2,000 Walmarts.  While the Postmaster General will probably say it's all about customer convenience, the deal represents yet another step in the privatization of the...

September 9, 2014

Trouble in the air: USPS may sell rights over Old Chelsea post office
Late last year, the Postal Service announced that it would not proceed with its controversial plan to sell the Old Chelsea post office at 217 West 18th Street in Manhattan.  Now the Postal Service has decided it wants to sell the air rights above the historic building...

September 6, 2014

New OIG report faults USPS on post office relocations
The USPS Office of Inspector General has released a long-awaited audit report on the post office relocation process.  The report faults the Postal Service on a number of counts — lack of transparency, not following postal regulations, the conflicting roles of...

September 4, 2014

CBRE arranges sale of Bronx GPO to one of its clients
The New York Daily News is reporting that the Postal Service has sold the Bronx General Post Office to Youngwoo & Associates.  Back in February, The Real Deal had reported that Youngwoo was proposing to use the site to build a marketplace in the vein of the...

August 29, 2014

Bronx GPO sold, no details yet
The Bronx General Post Office has been sold.  There’s no word yet on who the buyer is or what the plans for the building are, but the post office was definitely sold two weeks ago.  On the USPS-CBRE website, the listing says simply, "Sold." The...

August 19, 2014

Postal Service releases schedule of plant consolidations set for 2015
The Postal Service has released a schedule showing when the phase-two mail processing plants will be consolidated next year. The spreadsheet shows the date on which each type of mail will be relocated from a closing facility to a gaining facility.  As the schedule...

May 22, 2014

POStPlan postponed: 3,200 postmasters get a reprieve
The Postal Service has announced that the timeline for implementing POStPlan is going to be extended.  Initially, all 13,000 post offices included in the plan were to have their hours reduced by the end of September 2014, and any full-time postmasters still working at...

May 8, 2014

We don’t care, we don’t have to, we’re the Postal Service
MARK JAMISON It looks like the folks in L’Enfant Plaza will be the last to acknowledge what everyone else in the country already knows — customer service at the Postal Service is going way down hill, and fast.  The plant consolidations have resulted...

April 30, 2014

Postal watchdog files complaint against USPS for reducing hours at post offices
Postal watchdog Douglas Carlson has filed a formal complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission concerning the Postal Service’s decision to reduce window hours at post offices.  According to the complaint, the Postal Service has changed its policies without...

April 20, 2014

Giving away the store: The Postal Service discounts the mail
MARK JAMISON In her book Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, Susan Crawford describes how the American public has been imprisoned by monopoly arrangements in the delivery of broadband and wireless Internet services. Using...

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)...

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