Postal Reform Bill gets another chance

Postal Reform Bill gets another chance

Thousands of postal employees have renewed hope

Because I work in the mail and shipping industry, today’s Senate passage of the postal reform bill interests me.  The Senate voted 62 to 37 on the bill, which aims to restructure the mail service and protect it from bankruptcy. The legislation now goes to the Republican-controlled House where it faces an uphill battle. 

Thousands of postal employees have renewed hope because of the bill.  The Postal Service has plans to shut down 252 mail processing centers around the country, as well as hundreds of rural post offices. But, the bill cuts the number of centers that could close in half, to only 125.  The bill also includes provisions to keep overnight delivery standards for regional areas for at least three years and would also prevent the Postal Service from eliminating Saturday mail delivery for two years.

I am constantly amazed by the Postal Service and how much they really do get right.  Over the holidays, I was able to take some mail directly to the dock of our local sort facility.  I was amazed at the sheer volume of mail – mounds of mail and parcels piled up on the dock.  When I considered that all that mail would be sorted and en route to their destination within a few hours I was amazed.  What surprises me more is how few pieces of mail and parcels get lost.  The Postal Service tracking system is years behind FedEx’s or UPS’ systems.  And yes, packages and mail often times don’t get where they are going in as timely a manner as we would like.  Yet, they usually do get there. 

Consider the cost of a stamp ($0.45) will get your letter cross-country in three to five days, or for just around $5 you can get it there in two to three days.  Think on the alternatives – FedEx and UPS cannot get your letter anywhere in two to three days for $5.  It will be at least three times that cost.  And then, we want to squak when the price of a stamp goes up a few pennies?  It seems to me that if they are to compete, and to help bail themselves out of crisis, they may need to continue a regiment of prices increases. 

And, why would we required that they pay forward a pension plan by decades?  No other industry is required to do such and that money could be well used to get the Postal Service back on track.  No matter the answer, one thing seems clear to me – that we should strive to preserve the USPS while considering reforms that would better streamline and improve the Postal Service, not send it backwards to Pony Express days.