Alliance to Postal Governors: Stop the Slowdown

August 27, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the September-October issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Since its creation, members of A Grand Alliance to Save our Public Postal Service have shown up to defend our national treasure and the rights of everyone to the prompt, reliable and efficient mail services promised us under the law. That has certainly been true in the last several months, as we have documented in the pages of this magazine. One example is Alliance members’ effort in urging the Biden Administration to quickly nominate new governors to the Postal Service Board of Governors.

In early August, the USPS Board met for the first time in public session since Biden’s three nominees – former Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman, former APWU General Counsel Anton Hajjar and vote-by-mail advocate Amber McReynolds – joined the Board. Grand Alliance members wasted no time in making demands of the Governors and the rest of the Board, urging them in a letter delivered in advance of their meeting to reconsider postal management’s plans to lengthen First Class Mail delivery standards to as many as five days.

The letter followed on the more than 130,000 comments Alliance partners generated to the Postal Service’s Federal Register notice on the proposed service standard changes, many of which were included in the APWU’s filing at the Postal Regulatory Commission on the proposal.

In July, the PRC issued its Advisory Opinion on the slowdown plans, which raised serious concerns about the Postal Service’s proposal. The Advisory Opinion said, “The Commission finds that the amount of estimated annual cost savings, even if fully realized, does not indicate much improvement, if any, to the Postal Service’s current financial condition… Therefore, it is not clear that the tradeoff between financial viability and maintaining high-quality service standards is reasonable.”

In writing to the Governors, Alliance members raised many of the same concerns, and noted particular concerns about how the slowdown would impact communities our organizations represent. The letter noted: The interests of seniors, small businesses, working- class people and people in rural areas…was never taken into consideration of by the Postal Service. Slowing down as much as 40% of First Class Mail would not only fall short of the public’s needs and expectations, it risks creating disparate impacts, hastening the public’s flight from the mail and further jeopardizing the Postal Service’s already fragile finances.

In his remarks at the Board meeting, newly-seated Governor Ron Stroman noted the public opposition – including many Alliance partners – to management’s service standard proposals. He opened his remarks by noting, “Mr. Chairman, as you know, the newest governors did not have the opportunity to participate in the Board’s decision in May to change our service standards…There is no compelling financial reason to make the changes,” Stroman said. He further added that the changes “will likely hinder the Postal Service’s ability” to meet its obligation under the law to provide prompt, reliable, and efficient delivery service across the country.

Anton Hajjar similarly noted public opposition to the service standard changes. He said in the meeting, “I have not seen a groundswell of support from affected customers for this change. I have heard concerns the public at large that they may be adversely affected by this change…So I ask why this change needs to be implemented now?”

Despite the opposition from the new members of the Board, Board Chair Bloom and postal management seemed intent on continuing to pursue the service standard changes. A Grand Alliance members will continue to organize in defense of the public Postal Service and the right we all share to speedy and reliable mail service for all.

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