Possible Solutions to USPS’s Pandemic-Related Problems

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.

Who Governs and Funds the U.S. Postal Service?

Similar to other public corporations, a government-approved 11-person board runs the USPS. The Board consists of up to nine governors, the Post Master General, and his/her deputy. A separate entity, the Postal Regulatory Commission, has five members who are all presidential appointees. This commission oversees USPS operations, including rates.

How Does the Postal Service Finance Its Operations? 

The Postal Service is not financed directly by the taxpayer. It relies on the revenue it generates from stamps, parcel delivery, and other services. While in recent months, the effects of COVID-19 have annihilated a huge chunk of USPS’s revenue, the circumstances that have contributed to the decline of the USPS’s financial situation emerged years before coronavirus, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Why Is USPS in Financial Trouble?

The underlying problem is that USPS’s revenue only covers its operational costs, but it has immense retiree health care and pension liabilities, which push it into losses. The USPS has been a loss-making entity since 2007. Between 2008 and 2018, the Postal Serve had losses amounting to $69 billion. In the 2019 financial year, its losses on operating revenue of $71.1 billion amounted to $8.8 billion.

Furthermore, the USPS’s dire financial situation has been exacerbated by the rise of digital communication and email, which has led to a decline in First-Class Mail volumes. The USPS has attempted to boost revenue by increasing marketing mail delivery and competing with FedEx and UPS in parcel delivery. By 2017, the USPS had a 19% market share in US package delivery. With the drop in the volume of First-Class Mail, the Postal Service has been reducing its number of blue mailboxes over the years.

What Kind of Support Has USPS Received from Congress?

In the third quarter of 2020, USPS reported a net loss of $2.2 billion. Through the CARES Act, Congress provided the USPS with a $10 billion loan. The loan can adequately cover the Postal Service’s immediate financial needs. However, the Treasury-imposed conditions for the loan led to the resignation of the board’s vice chair, who alleged that demands made by Treasury threatened to transform the organization into a political tool.

Cost Cutting Measures

To improve its financial position, the USPS has implemented several cost-cutting measures, including some controversial ones. For instance, a leaked internal memo outlined there should be an effort to limit extra delivery trips and late departures, even if it means leaving some mail behind. The USPS projects that if its package volume gets back to pre-pandemic levels, it will exhaust its financial resources by mid of 2021, and if the package volume goes 15% above pre-pandemic levels, it will run out of funds by October 2021.

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Amazon & the USPS: Learn What May Be Causing Mail Delays

Find out about Amazon and your mail delays.  

Getting your mail on time is important. You need to receive your bills and send important packages. However, in recent years, there have been complaints about how long it takes to receive mail through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Reasons for the delays vary. Some consumers attribute the delays to the USPS’s relationship with Amazon.

Outdated Equipment.

Over the past few year, the USPS has struggled financially. Since 2011, the USPS hasn’t been able to get itself out of a financial rut. However, in recent years, the USPS has teamed up with Amazon. With old equipment, the USPS has been working to replace over 180,000 delivery trucks and update its technology, costing over an estimated five billion dollars.

Relationship with Amazon.

Amazon and the USPS have struck a deal that has changed mail delivery as we know it. Mail carriers are showing up at all hours of the night to make deliveries, even on Sundays which was previously unheard of. Also, in addition to sending letters, the USPS now delivers things such as groceries. This relationship with Amazon has consumers concerned about the USPS’s priorities, especially when it comes to delays in regular mail delivery service.

Weather Delays.  

In regard to recent concern about delays in mail delivery, the USPS has released a statement addressing the issue. They claim that the delays are a result of weather and the holiday rush, and not due to their relationship with Amazon.

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Check Out These Fun Facts About the USPS

Learn about the United States Postal Service with these fun facts! 

The postal service has a long history since it’s inception in the American colonies. Along the way, there have been a few interesting occurrences. Check out these fun facts about the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On the Map

There are USPS offices located all around the United States in all 50 states. The highest post office in the country is located at 10,578 ft. above sea level in Alma, Colorado. The lowest post office is in Death Valley, California at 282 ft. below sea level.

Street Smarts

From your address to a method of transportation, streets are vital to the USPS. The most common street names in the country are Main, 2nd, Maple, Oak, and Park. The longest main street in the U.S. spans 33 miles and is in Island Park, Idaho.

Usual Delivery Methods

There are quite a few unusual methods in which the USPS delivers mail throughout the US. In Arizona, a mule train carries mail, food, and supplies to the Havasupai Indians at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In Alabama, a contract mail boat delivers mail to dock-side mailboxes.

What’s in a Name?

The US post office has had many names over the years. In the late 18th through the early 19th century, the office was known was the General Post Office. It remained under that name until 1829 when the post office became part of the presidential cabinet. The name of the office then became the Post Office Department. In 1970 after the Postal Reorganization Act was passed, the mail delivery service of the United States had become the U.S. Postal Service.

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Check Out Everything You Need to Know About the History of the USPS

Learn all about the history of the United States Postal Service!

The history of the United States Postal Service (USPS) spans back to the American colonies. From international deliveries to a budding system of intra-country postal roads, the USPS has played an integral role in the history of the United States. Check out these highlights of the history of the USPS.

Colonial America.

Before the US became a country, North America had been colonized by several European nations. It wasn’t until 1639 that the first center for mail distribution was established in North America. It was deemed that Richard Fairbanks’s tavern in Boston became the first official mail repository for overseas deliveries. Other colonies established similar offices. In 1692, the British government gave a grant to the colonies which led to the establishment of a central post office. Andrew Hamilton was appointed as postmaster general. The British bought the central post office, and it wasn’t until 1775 when the Continental Post for internal mail deliveries throughout the colonies.

The American Revolution.

After the American Revolution had ended, the Second Continental Congress met to determine how letters and information were to be delivered. Benjamin Franklin was appointed to the role of Postmaster General. The role of secure mail delivery was an essential component of communication during the Revolutionary War.

19th Century Mail Delivery.

The post office grew dramatically during the 19th century. Innovation for transportation was brought to the US, which was in part subsidized by the US postal service, which was a part of the presidential cabinet at the time. Steamboats, trains, and the pony express were all used to deliver mail. An additional 59,473 miles of post roads were added to the already existing 84,860 miles of roads. By 1819, the postal service served 22 states. Additionally, the 19th century brought the first postage stamp. The first US postage stamp made it’s debut on July 1, 1847.

20th Century Mail Delivery.

The 20th century has brought its own developments to the postal service. New technology has enabled air mail to get mail to its destination faster. Additionally, parcel mail was enabled in 1912. No longer were US postal workers limited to carrying packages under four pounds. The zip code system was also developed in the 20th century during the Second World War.

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