The U.S. Postal Service and the six unions that represent postal employees met March 22 to work out ways to improve service in areas that need it.
“Recognizing that issues in certain facilities across the country continue to hamper service performance, we have come together to form a National Joint Task Force on Service Performance to identify and craft solutions to improve service at specific locations within the network,” said a joint statement issued by Postmaster General and USPS Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy and six union presidents who represent postal workers.
The union presidents are:
- Fred Rolando, National Association of Letter Carriers president
- Paul Hogrogian, National Postal Mail Handlers Union president
- Daniel Heins, United Postmasters and Managers of America national president
- Mark Dimondstein, American Postal Workers Union president
- Ronnie Stutts, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association president
- Brian Wagner, National Association of Postal Supervisors president.
Task force members said they will work together to strengthen service reliability and address emerging issues.
“The National Task Force will also ensure resources are allocated, lines of communication are open and concerns that are not resolved locally are escalated quickly,” their statement read. “Maintaining strong service performance is a process, not a destination; through weather, natural disasters and a holiday season in the midst of a pandemic. Mail never stops flowing through our system. If bottlenecks occur it can have a cascading impact on the network. Addressing issues early can make all the difference.”
On March 23, DeJoy released a 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and improve service. Without it, he said, USPS is anticipated to lose $160 billion over the next decade.
To help reduce costs, prices for some mail went up Jan. 24. Metered mail and postcards went up 1 cent, while Priority Mail and package increases ranged from 15 to 80 cents. The cost of Forever stamps remains at 55 cents.
Delivery time for first-class mail will also change.
“The Postal Service has not met our First-Class Mail service targets in eight years, which is due to both unattainable service standards and a lack of operational precision. By adjusting First-Class Mail service standards by one or two days for certain mail, we can move First-Class Mail from air transportation, which is costly and unreliable, to ground transportation,” according to the USPS.
Officials said this will improve reliability and predictability while reducing expenses. Details indicate 61 percent of First-Class Mail and 93 percent of periodicals will be unaffected. First-class mail traveling within a local area will continue to be delivered in two days, and about 70 percent of first-class mail will continue to be delivered within three days.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper said the 10-year plan ignores immediate operational challenges facing the USPS. He said he is working with other senators to confirm President Joe Biden’s USPS Board of Governors nominees in an effort to improve the postal service.
“The initiatives the Postmaster General seeks to put into place like limiting operating hours and lowering service standards will further harm service for Americans, especially our seniors, small businesses, veterans and rural communities, who depend on this critical service,” Carper said in a press release. “In Delaware, I hear from my constituents about the mail delays they are experiencing, and I’m deeply concerned that the changes proposed by Postmaster DeJoy miss the mark in terms of providing certainty in the near-term to Delawareans and the millions of Americans who rely on the services provided by the Postal Service.”