Congress Could Make the Holidays Happier for USPS with the Postal Reform Act

Last year’s holiday season was not exactly a merry one for the U.S. Postal Service. Overworked postal workers had no choice but to leave gifts unsorted for weeks in the weeks leading up to Christmas. They delivered only 38 percentSending out greeting cards and non-local first class mail on time

What can we expect for the new year?

USPS leaders claim they’re ready for the rush. But customers have reason to worry about slower — and more expensive — service.

The service is designed to hire 40,000 seasonal workersFor the holidays. But that’s 10,000 less than last year — and given broader pandemic staffing shortages, recruitment and retention for these demanding jobs will not be easy. While the ecommerce surge that caused system strain last year has been contained, declined somewhatPostal workers still deliver many more packages than they did before the crisis.

COVID-19, however, is not the only reason to be worried. In fact, the root causes of our country’s postal problems are inaction by Congress and misguided action by USPS leadership.

Congress has failed to correct a policy error that requires the Postal Service, more than 50 years before retirement, to set aside money for prefunding retiree health care. This has been going on for more than a decade. This burden is not shared by any other federal agency or private company. 84 percentBetween 2007 and 2020, USPS reported losses in the range of 1% to 5%. If Congress had made the same demand of America’s strongest businesses, many would be bankrupt.

Strong bipartisan support has been shown for a bill to repeal the pre-funding mandate and give USPS a stronger financial position. However, both the Senate and House leaders have not introduced this bill. Postal Reform ActVote now

In the meantime, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is using the agency’s artificially large losses to justify jacking up prices and slowing deliveries.

If you’re planning to send holiday cards a significant distance this season, say from Pittsburgh to Boise, the USPS delivery window is now five days instead of three. These reduced service standards impact approximately 40 percentFirst Class Mail

As part of the a 10-year planDeJoy is also slowing down delivery by 1 – 2 days for approximately a quarter of the order. First Class packages. These are small parcels that can be used to ship medications that require immediate attention, or other lightweight ecommerce purchases.

A big cause of the slowdown: DeJoy’s plan to cut costs by shifting long-distance deliveries from planes to trucks. This is a rollback of the introduction of airmail more than 100 years ago — one of many postal innovations that strengthened the broader U.S. economy.

For worse service, we’ll have to pay more.

The USPS will be open August raised ratesFirst Class mail will be charged 6.8% and package services 8.8 percent respectively. Delivery costs can be increased by as much up to 8% with a holiday surcharge $5 per packageThrough December 26, January will see an increase in rates for popular flat rate envelopes and boxes. $1.10.

Next up on DeJoy’s plan: reduced hours at some post offices and the closure of others.

Officials at the USPS claim that these draconian measures will increase profits. But even the regulatorThe agency’s oversight body has criticised the underlying financial analysis.

Instead, DeJoy’s 10-year plan will more likely drive customers away. This will result in fewer good postal jobs, which is a significant obstacle to the middle class, especially for women. Black families.

DeJoy will continue his self-destructive cost-cutting spree unless Washington lawmakers lift the financial burden he imposed on USPS.

The extreme challenges faced by the pandemic have been overwhelming for both postal workers and customers. Now it’s time for Congress to deliver by passing the Postal Reform Act and urging USPS leaders to focus on innovations to better serve all Americans for generations to come.