Featured image for “To Be Discontinued: The Postal Service identifies 170 suspended post offices for permanent closure”

To Be Discontinued: The Postal Service identifies 170 suspended post offices for permanent closure

Earlier this week the Postal Service shared a list with the Postal Regulatory Commission identifying 170 post offices that were “temporarily” suspended several years ago and that will soon be…
Featured image for “Rationale for a Suspension Dashboard: Comments for the PRC’s Public Inquiry”

Rationale for a Suspension Dashboard: Comments for the PRC’s Public Inquiry

The USPS and PRC should create a dashboard with information about post offices that have been suspended. It’s “a commonsense way to make sure the Postal Service is keeping everyone…
Featured image for “Counting Up Collection Box Removals in 2020-2021: Lists & Maps”

Counting Up Collection Box Removals in 2020-2021: Lists & Maps

In August 2020, amidst the pre-election furor over collection box removals, a FOIA request was submitted to the USPS asking for data about the removals. Nineteen months later, the USPS…
Featured image for “Lost in Limbo: Post Offices Under Suspension”

Lost in Limbo: Post Offices Under Suspension

When the Postal Service considers closing a post office, it must go through a lengthy discontinuance process, with 30 steps of administrative review and opportunities for public input. But when…
Featured image for “How slower mail has become a fact of life: USPS Service Performance and Postal Reform”

How slower mail has become a fact of life: USPS Service Performance and Postal Reform

Last week the Postal Service published its service performance reports for the first quarter of fiscal year 2022 (Oct-Dec 2021). This is our first opportunity to see any details about…
Featured image for “Reply to the USPS: How the new service standards will cause geographic discrimination”

Reply to the USPS: How the new service standards will cause geographic discrimination

Briefs and Replies have been submitted for the PRC’s Advisory Opinion on the USPS plan to slow down First Class mail. Here’s my Reply Brief.…

New Dashboard tracks emergency suspensions

When the Postal Service closes a post office for an emergency, like unsafe building conditions after a weather event or a last-minute breakdown in lease negotiations, it's supposed to correct the problem as soon as possible — by making repairs, settling the lease issue or finding a new location. The Postal Service, however, may choose instead to initiate a study about whether or not to close the post office permanently.

The law does not specify a time frame for re-opening the office or completing the discontinuance process, so some post offices can end up in limbo for many years. A large backlog of unresolved suspensions sometimes develops. At the end of fiscal year 2021, there were about 450 post offices under suspension, nearly a hundred of them going back to 2012 or before.

In February, the Postal Regulatory Commission opened a Public Inquiry docket (its second on suspensions) to examine how the the resolution of these suspensions might be expedited, presumably through a modification of the rules governing discontinuances.

To provide a clearer picture of the suspensions and to lend some transparency to the process of resolving them as it unfolds, we’ve created a Suspension Dashboard. It includes a page for each of the 450 suspended offices, with information about its suspension status, community demographics and facility data.

You can view the new suspension dashboard here.

When the Postal Service closes a post office for an emergency, like unsafe building conditions after a weather event or a last-minute breakdown in lease negotiations, it's supposed to correct the problem as soon as possible — by making repairs, settling the lease issue or finding a new location. The Postal Service, however, may choose instead to initiate a study about whether or not to permanently close the post office.

The law does not specify a time frame for re-opening the office or completing the discontinuance process, so some post offices can end up in limbo for many years. A large backlog of unresolved suspensions sometimes develops. At the end of fiscal year 2021, there were about 450 post offices under suspension, nearly a hundred of them going back to 2012 or before.

In February, the Postal Regulatory Commission opened a Public Inquiry docket (its second on suspensions) to examine how the the resolution of these suspensions might be expedited, presumably through a modification of the rules governing discontinuances.

To provide a clearer picture of the suspensions and to lend some transparency to the process of resolving them as it unfolds, we’ve created a Suspension Dashboard. It includes a page for each of the 450 suspended offices, with information about its suspension status, community demographics and facility data.

You can view the new suspension dashboard here.

The USPS financial report for April 2022 is one for the history books. It shows a net income of $60 billion for the month — the one-time impact of the postal reform bill, which reversed the retiree health benefit deficit that had accrued since 2012.
https://www.prc.gov/docs/121/121830/2022.5.24%20April%20FY2022%20Monthly%20Financial%20Report.pdf

Earlier this week the @USPS shared a list with the @PostalRegulator containing 170 post offices, “temporarily” closed many years ago by emergency suspension, that "qualify for swift official Discontinuance." Here's the list, map, and more details.
https://www.savethepostoffice.com/to-be-discontinued-the-postal-service-identifies-170-suspended-post-offices-for-permanent-closure/

In making its argument against disclosing the contract (which may not even be an NSA with Amazon), the USPS cites as precedent a PRC case that actually did involve an Amazon NSA (as Amazon itself revealed by intervening). https://www.prc.gov/docs/89/89140/Order%20No.%201985.pdf
https://www.savethepostoffice.com/premature-motion-prc-dismisses-bid-to-view-non-public-amazon-docs/

The USPS has asked the @PostalRegulatory to deny the request by a coalition of unions to see what it believes is the negotiated service agreement with Amazon. USPS says disclosure would have a chilling effect on its ability to interact with its customers. https://www.prc.gov/docs/121/121781/Motion.Opp.Access%20SOC.pdf

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Counting Up Collection Box Removals in 2020-2021: Lists & Maps

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On August 20, 2020, amidst the furor over box removals, Robert Bracco, using the muckrock.com FOIA request website, filed a request asking the Postal Service to provide data “pertaining to the existence, addition, removal, or relocation of USPS collection boxes inside the United States and territories created or altered after 8/15/2019.”

On March 25, 2022 — nineteen months after the request was filed, and after seventeen follow-up messages inquiring on the status of the request — the Postal Service finally responded. It provided three lists of collection box locations in service in December 2019, 2020 and 2021. The lists make it possible to track additions and removals over this two-year period. We have the lists and maps here.

Service Performance Update

On October 1, 2021, the Postal Service lowered service standards for First Class mail, saying that this would allow it to deliver 95 percent of the mail on time. Since October, scores have averaged about 89 percent, and the Postal Service now says it will not reach 95 percent for two or three years. The new target for FY 2022 is 91 percent.

The weekly performance scores are being submitted as evidence in Pennsylvania v. DeJoy. The most recent report is here. For more performance data, check out our dashboard.

Service Performance Update

On October 1, 2021, the Postal Service lowered service standards for First Class mail, saying that this would allow it to deliver 95 percent of the mail on time. Since October, scores have averaged about 89 percent, and the Postal Service now says it will not reach 95 percent for two or three years. The new target for FY 2022 is 91 percent.

The weekly performance scores are being submitted as evidence in Pennsylvania v. DeJoy. The most recent report is here. For more performance data, check out our dashboard.

The Year in Review

First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat, the new book by historian Christopher Shaw, is hot off the presses. The book should have a profound impact on shaping the postal narrative.

Listen to interviews with Christopher Shaw on Wisconsin NPR here, WBAI's Leonard Lopate show here, and Sam Seder's Majority Report here. And check out the podcast of Chris talking with Ralph Nader in a City Lights event here. Learn more about the book here.

From the Foreword by Ralph Nader

“The preventable plight of our U.S. Postal Service is an important issue for all Americans. When President Donald J. Trump’s donor and henchman Louis DeJoy became postmaster general in 2020 and proceeded to dismantle the agency, millions of citizens participated in demonstrations that revealed a deep civic commitment to preserving the people’s post office. While DeJoy triggered a crisis that immediately threatened the presidential election process, attacks on the Postal Service have been an ongoing problem for decades. The anti-postal campaigns of corporate interests have remained a continuing source of frustration to those of us who have observed the Postal Service’s decline due to unimaginative management, a deck stacked to favor profit-driven entities such as FedEx and UPS, and unfair financial obligations imposed by Congress.” Read more.

First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat, the new book by historian Christopher Shaw, is hot off the presses. The book should have a profound impact on shaping the postal narrative.

Listen to interviews with Christopher Shaw on Wisconsin NPR here, WBAI's Leonard Lopate show here, and Sam Seder's Majority Report here. Learn more about the book here.

From the Foreword by Ralph Nader

“The preventable plight of our U.S. Postal Service is an important issue for all Americans. When President Donald J. Trump’s donor and henchman Louis DeJoy became postmaster general in 2020 and proceeded to dismantle the agency, millions of citizens participated in demonstrations that revealed a deep civic commitment to preserving the people’s post office. While DeJoy triggered a crisis that immediately threatened the presidential election process, attacks on the Postal Service have been an ongoing problem for decades. The anti-postal campaigns of corporate interests have remained a continuing source of frustration to those of us who have observed the Postal Service’s decline due to unimaginative management, a deck stacked to favor profit-driven entities such as FedEx and UPS, and unfair financial obligations imposed by Congress.” Read more.

The Year in Review