Possible Solutions to USPS’s Pandemic-Related Problems

usps covid related problem

Pre-COVID-19, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), would typically deliver priority mail within three days. However, poor mail service has become rampant due to pandemic-related challenges such as understaffed or closed postal offices, increased online shopping practices, and the prevailing economic recession. For instance, at least one million Christmas packages did not reach their destinations by Christmas in 2020, according to CBS News.

To revive the financial strength in the postal service, Louis DeJoy, the current Postmaster General, came up with a 10-year plan titled “Delivering for America.” Here’s a detailed look at some of the measures outlined in the plan.

Abolishment of the Post-Retirement Health Care Benefits

In 2006, the U.S. Congress passed a law that required the U.S. Postal Service to set aside $72 billion for funding post-retirement health care expenses for its employees for up to 75 years in the future. While this favored USPS employees, it drove the USPS into a financial crisis that has lasted to date. According to the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the financial crisis could justify the USPS service cuts and delivery delays. DeJoy’s plan includes getting rid of this law in an attempt to ease the USPS’s financial burden and stabilize their services.

Closing Some Stations and Reducing Working Hours for Post Offices

Currently, there are over 34,400 post offices in the U.S., as reported by Statista. Due to the increased demand for delivery services, the USPS hired additional employees during the pandemic to improve service delivery in these post offices. This caused expenses to rise, considering the agency was already struggling financially.

Specifically, the operating revenue for the 2020 fiscal year was $73.1 billion, and the operating expenses amounted to $82.2 billion, representing a $9.2 billion loss. To help minimize expenses, DeJoy, in his 10-year plan, announced that “a small percentage” of post offices will have reduced hours while some stations will close permanently. Although this may help lower operating expenses, it will most likely increase delivery delays.

Shutting Down Sorting Machines

In 2020 alone, the USPS shut down 711 sorting machines leading up to elections. DeJoy, in his defense during a court hearing, said that this was a common practice in the agency and that it was not a political move. This is also part of his 10-year plan, and it will further delay mail deliveries. The debate around this topic is becoming intense, with most people blaming the Postmaster General for failing to adequately consult postal stakeholders in developing the “Delivering for America” plan.

As the U.S. Postal Service strives to get back on its feet, service delivery will remain a challenge. Therefore, you should consider using private delivery services or another alternative if you don’t want late deliveries or lost parcels. Located in Southern California, we’re your custom courier and mail delivery service experts for all your mail and delivery needs in Orange County. For more information, today, contact us today.

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