PMG tells postal workers “The Staples relationship has been good for our business”

From USPS News Link:

Today’s customers demand more convenience, and the Postal Service is ready to offer it, with innovative programs for access to postal products and services.

“Customers want one-stop shopping,” PMG Pat Donahoe says in his latest video message to employees. “That’s why major retailers are adding services in their retail stores, like dry cleaning, pharmacies, banking and medical services. If the Postal Service is not at the table, our competitors will be.”

Donahoe explains that the pilot program started with Staples last October is an example of the innovation needed. “Improving access for our customers is the reason we launched the pilot program,” he says. “The Staples relationship has been good for our business. It has put volume in the mailstream, and increasing volume helps to preserve and support Postal Service jobs.”

The Staples pilot program will end starting Aug. 1. Participating Staples stores will transition to the Postal Service’s Approved Shipper Program, which is expected to be complete by Aug. 29.

“The Approved Shipper Program will give customers access beyond normal Post Office hours, in areas where we don’t have regular Post Offices,” Donahoe said, noting that 27 percent of the postal business in the Staples pilot occurred outside normal business hours. “With more outlets for our products and services, the Postal Service can grow business.”

The Approved Shipper Program has been in place since 2005 and almost 6,200 businesses participate nationwide.

Read more: USPS News Link Story – ‘Good for our business’.

USPS Responds to “Is the PMG lashing out at Congress by closing plants?”

Update: earlier this afternoon, Lisa Bowes replied to the USPS statement on her blog

The US Postal Service has responded to yesterday’s “deconstruction” of the USPS’s plant consolidation announcement on the Intellisent Postal Affairs blog:

If Lisa Bowes would have spent more time reading the materials the Postal Service provided on its website about Phase 2 of Network Rationalization http://usps.com/ourfuturenetwork and less time doing her own “deconstruction,” she would have a much better understanding why the Postal Service is taking this action. First, this is not new. Yesterday’s notification to mailers is a continuation of the network rationalization activity approved by the Postal Service Board of Governors in 2011. The consolidation of 141 mail processing facilities in 2012 and 2013 was highly successful and resulted in annual cost savings of approximately $865 million. After ensuring the efficient operations of our network following those changes, the Postal Service is ready to move forward in January 2015 with Phase 2 of Network Rationalization, which is expected to generate an additional $750 million in annual savings. The reason for moving forward is not a mystery – in the last three years, the Postal Service recorded financial losses of $26 billion and we continue to face significant financial challenges associated with the decline of First-Class Mail volume and revenue, wage and benefit inflation, increasing operating costs, as well as legislative mandates and significant debt pressures. In addition, the uncertainty regarding legislative reform and review of postal rates in the courts continues to delay needed capital investments in network operations and undermine the future financial viability of the Postal Service. Moving forward with streamlining our mail processing operations is part of a broader strategy to position the Postal Service for the future so we can continue to meet our customers’ mailing and shipping needs.

Dave Partenheimer
Manager, Media Relations
U.S. Postal Service

Is the PMG lashing out at Congress by closing plants?

Patrick DonahoeThe sudden announcement that the USPS would begin closing more processing plants next year took many by surprise. At least one mailing industry observer suggests that the PMG’s move may have been born at least partly, of anger over the failure of Congress to give him what he wants- five day mail delivery. At the Intellisent Postal Affairs blog, Lisa Bowes deconstructed the USPS statement:

Why are we taking this step now?

Several reasons. Angry about no 5 day from Congress- the timing of this announcement is just not coincidental – and anger at the Staples blowback. I have to confess, I bought in to the Staples rhetoric at first, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and that pudding is some rotten.

We believe strongly..

This is the part that makes me sad, because I do think the USPS believes strongly. However, I think their arrogance makes them bad listeners, and bad listeners can’t be successful in the long run. I hope I am wrong on that, because I value the postal system.

Read more: intelisent » Postal Affairs Blog – Direct Mail, Technology, and Marketing.

NALC blasts PMG for endorsing highway budget scam, misleading Congress

NALC-LOGOJune 14, 2014—Earlier this week, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe recklessly endorsed the House of Representative’ leadership’s outrageous ploy to use massive job and service cuts in the Postal Service to “pay for” a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money in August if Congress fails to raise the gas tax that normally funds it or to come up with an alternative source of revenue.

The proposal, the brainchild of the outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), would use the alleged saving of eliminating Saturday mail delivery to offset the cost of a temporary injection of taxpayer funds into the trust fund to keep highway maintenance and construction projects going for a few more months.

The plan, which appears to have failed to gain enough support to advance in the House, was widely panned in Washington as a transparent gimmick that relied on averting a hypothetical taxpayer bailout of the Postal Service in the future.  It was also a massive failure of leadership. Our nation deserves a serious long-term solution to our highway infrastructure crisis, but the House of Representatives refuses to govern.

The criticism did not stop the PMG from lending his support to the scheme.

NALC President Fredric Rolando denounced the PMG’s move and issued the following statement:

“Mr. Donahoe’s action may be the most irresponsible thing any Postmaster General has done since the creation of the Postal Service in 1970. If allowed to succeed, this budget gimmick would have set a terrible precedent for the Postal Service. Why raise taxes or reduce spending at taxpayer-funded agencies, when you can pay for pet projects with legislated service cuts at the Postal Service? Need a new aircraft carrier? Slash post office hours. Want a new fleet of planes to fight forest fires? Raise postage rates. The PMG recklessly risked undoing all the hard work we did in the late 1980s to get the Postal Service off-budget, to shield the Postal Service and ratepayers from scheming politicians like Rep. Cantor. The PMG owes every postal employee and every postage rate-payer an apology.”

The Postal Service did not just offer rhetorical support for the House GOP plan. It spent the week distributing grossly misleading “fact sheets” to Congress about the effects of eliminating Saturday delivery.

The NALC and our allies in the other unions and in both parties in Congress fought back with fact sheets and communications of our own.

There was never any support in the Senate for the Cantor highway trust fund proposal, and according to a story by Congressional Quarterly, opposition in the House now seems to have killed the idea altogether.

But President Rolando warned NALC members to remain vigilant:

“We may have defeated this gimmick, but we must also ensure that the six-day mandate is renewed in next year’s House appropriation bill. The next few weeks will be decisive on this front as well; we will need every member to fight to save the Postal Service from politicians who want to dismantle it. It’s a shame that postmaster general has made common cause with the dismantlers instead of working with us and other stakeholders to advance consensus reforms that will strengthen the Postal Service, not weaken it.”