Bipartisan group in Congress calls for end to USPS service slowdown

West Virginia Congressman David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to the postal slowdown and a return to prior service standards.

On July 1, 2012 the United States Postal Service (USPS) initiated an aggressive plan to cut costs by closing rural post offices, mail processing facilities and reducing First Class Mail delivery. This has had a disproportionate impact businesses and families in rural areas.

“We’ve heard from hundreds of West Virginians — newspapers, businesses and individual postal customers negatively impacted by these delivery changes. By restoring prompt and reliable service, we can rebuild trust in the postal service and give rural Americans peace of mind” said McKinley.

The fall 2013 closure of the USPS Mail Processing Facility in Bridgeport has required mail to be shipped to Pittsburgh or Charleston for processing, resulting in delays, increased costs, and unreliable service. Beckley mail is sent to Charleston for processing. This month, USPS announced it would end overnight delivery of First Class Mail in further efforts to cut costs.

“The recent changes implemented by the United States Postal Service are having a dramatic and negative impact on all businesses and residents living in rural parts of the United States,” said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association. “This recent USPS decision is a national issue that is impacting the entire country. The newspaper industry across America is just one segment of the national economy that will suffer as a result of these changes. We hope other members of Congress will support his resolution and join in the discussion.”

“This postal slowdown is causing real harm across West Virginia as credit card bills are delayed, consumers cancel unreliable newspapers, and timely medicine deliveries are threatened. The Post Office should reconsider these changes and work with Congress to develop an alternative model,” McKinley added.

The bipartisan resolution, H. Res. 54, was co-sponsored by Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Don Young, R-Alaska.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif; Richard Nolan, N.M.; David Joyce, R-Ohio; and Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.

Retired letter carrier, now a congresswoman, praises USPS

From USPS News Link:

Many Postal Service retirees begin new careers after leaving USPS, and Brenda Lawrence is no different — although her new job is unique.

Lawrence took office this month as U.S. House of Representatives member from Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, which includes eastern Detroit. She retired from USPS in 2008 after 30 years, including serving as a letter carrier.

“I recall the pride and the sense of responsibility in delivering the U.S. Mail,” Lawrence said in a statement last week on the House floor.

She also noted the organization’s recent successes, including delivering approximately 524 million packages in December.

“I want to take this moment to recognize and applaud the hardworking individuals who made this possible,” Lawrence said.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to Discuss Challenges Facing USPS at National Press Club Tuesday

WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On Jan. 5, the United States Postal Service will lower standards for mail delivery across the nation. Mail will take longer to reach its final destination. In contrast, USPS expanded package delivery to seven days a week during the holiday season. Where is USPS headed in an era of growing ecommerce and package delivery, but a drop in the use of mail for bill-paying and personal correspondence?

What about USPS’ finances? The postal service just reported its best quarter financially in seven years. Yet, USPS has been hobbled by a Congressional requirement to pre-pay billions in retiree healthcare costs. Congress also adjourned last year without approving either new members for USPS’ Board of Governors or enacting postal reform legislation that was years in the making.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe who has led USPS since 2011, during one of the Service’s most turbulent periods, and is leaving his post on Feb. 1, will offer a frank appraisal on what is working and what needs to be fixed at a Newsmaker news conference 10 a.m., Tues. Jan. 6, in the National Press Club’s Murrow Room. Past National Press Club President Angela Greiling Keane, who previously covered USPS for Bloomberg News, will host the event.

At BOG confirmation hearing, Kennedy warns against further USPS service cuts

At her confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday, Vicki Kennedy suggested that she opposed the USPS plan to cut mail delivery to five days:

Mrs. Kennedy expressed her commitment to helping the Postal Service survive and warned that further cutbacks could hurt the already embattled agency.

“Anytime you have a cutback in service in any way, whether its delivery standards, whether its daily delivery, you know six days a week…I think it’s a black eye. I think it hurts us, and we want people to feel that the postal service is excellent in every way,” Kennedy said.

Read more: 630WPRO.COM | The Voice of Rhode Island – Vicki Kennedy Testifies on Capitol Hill [From ABC News].

Republican Senator pushing USPS to keep Minot ND plant open

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today spoke with Drew Aliperto, United States Postal Service (USPS) vice president of area operations for the western area, to press for the continued operation of the Minot Area Mail Processing facility.

In 2011, the USPS began studying more than 250 mail processing facilities nationwide for possible consolidation or closure. By February 2014, 141 facilities had been consolidated, and the USPS announced a freeze on further action for the remaining facilities, including Minot. This week, however, the Postal Service notified affected facilities that it is resuming the plan.

Hoeven’s call was prompted by Monday’s announcement that the USPS planned to close as many as 82 mail processing facilities, including Minot, beginning in January 2015. At Hoeven’s request, however, Aliperto committed to further evaluating the Minot facility in light of significant population growth in the Minot region, which includes the northwest North Dakota oil counties. Aliperto said specifically that he planned to evaluate the facility’s mail volume over the coming weeks and would contact the senator with his results.

“While identifying cost savings are crucial to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Postal Service, it makes no sense to close facilities in rapidly growing parts of the country, like Minot and western North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “The Postal Service needs to consider North Dakota’s strong economic and population growth not only now but in the future when making a decision on the Minot facility.”

North Dakota is currently experiencing unprecedented development, which is increasing demands on local services and infrastructure. The Minot region is experiencing an influx of businesses and people from expansions in the energy industry.

Hoeven has been a strong advocate for providing quality postal services in fast growing North Dakota. He has hosted both Aliperto and U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in the state to see firsthand the tremendous commercial and demographic growth in the area and its impacts on postal service. The senator worked to get more personnel and facilities in North Dakota, including a second full-service post office in Williston, which opened this week, and a memorandum of understanding between USPS and the Rural Letter Carriers Association to grant pay increases and bonuses to recruit and retain rural carriers in the Bakken region. The MOU includes Minot, Dickinson, Williston, Watford City and most of the communities in western North Dakota. The Postal Service has also agreed to add more career positions at the state’s post offices.

Read more: Hoeven Working to Keep Minot Area Processing Facility Operating – News Releases – Press Office – United States Senator John Hoeven for North Dakota.