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Postal Union, Maryland U.S Senator react to postmaster general's plan that would slow down mail, raise prices

Posted at 9:52 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 23:12:27-04

Postmaster General Louis Dejoy released his 10-year strategic plan for USPS, but it's sparking controversy with critics lamenting some of the changes, which include longer delivery times.

In the plan called "Delivering for America", the delivery standard for first class mail would change to five days instead of two. It will also cut hours at some post offices and potentially raise prices for customers.

Courtney Jenkins, who is with the postal American Postal Workers Union Local 181 in Baltimore, said the plan is concerning and should be for any customer who uses the postal service.

"Anything that alludes to shifting service standards, making it longer for you to get your product to your doorstep, or alludes to raising prices, or closing post offices or changing post office hours that directly impacts the customer," he said.

Dejoy believes the cost-cutting changes are necessary to stave off more than $100 billion dollars in projected losses over the next decade.

In an effort to "modernize" USPS, the postmaster general also included plans to invest billions of dollars "in workforce, new vehicles, improved post office, technology improvements and infrastructure upgrades."

The plan will also look to implement new services and products, while also expanding package delivery services for business customers.

Jenkins said the union supports many of those changes, but can't get behind plans that would negatively impact service and the customer experience.

“It just doesn't make sense," he said.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen agrees with Jenkins. He said he and other congressional leaders met with top USPS officials Wednesday to express their concerns.

‘It’s not a very auspicious time for the post office to be talking about the next plan for the next 10 years before they got their house in order," he said. “We continue to hear more about problems with the post office than almost any issue.”

Joel Bratton-Bey is one of the individuals still having problems. He said he sent packages nearly two weeks ago and they have yet to reach their destination.

"It’s getting worse and not getting better," he said. "And the administration need to have a sit down and get other people's ideas on what it will take to make things better because right now we are in dire need.”

USPS Statement:

Delivering for America, which establishes clear strategies to quickly achieve financial sustainability and service excellence. If the Plan is implemented in its totality, we project we will achieve break-even operating performance over the ten-year period (and achieve positive net income by FY2023 or FY2024), reversing $160 billion in projected losses.

Our Plan delivers:

  • A modernized Postal Service capable of providing world class service reliability at affordable prices.
  • Maintenance of universal six-day mail delivery and expanded seven-day package delivery reach.
  • Workforce stability and investment strategies that empower, equip, and engage each employee and put them in the best possible position to succeed.
  • Innovation that grows revenue and meets changing marketplace needs.
  • Financial sustainability to fulfill our universal service mission.

While the Postal Service provides an essential service to the American people, our organization is in crisis. The Postal Service has recorded $87 billion in financial losses over the last 14 years and has persistently failed to meet service standards. Our business and operating models are unsustainable and out of step with the changing needs of the nation and our customers. Years of chronic underinvestment in our infrastructure and network have taken its toll on our performance and workforce. Our problems are serious but solvable.

If fully implemented, the Plan will provide $24 billion in new net revenues from offering innovative new products and services and optimizing our competitive prices; reduce costs by enabling us to create a more efficient operating model; and generate cash flow to fund $40 billion of investments in our people, technology and infrastructure, while improving the reliability and predictability of service for our customers and the American public.