e-Team Report, Aug. 29, 2015

USPS OIG Sounds the Alarm Over Delayed Mail

August 29, 2015

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The Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an alert this month that confirms what the APWU has been telling Congress and what postal patrons have been enduring – America’s mail has slowed dramatically. In its review of mail timeliness after the USPS cut service standards on January 5, 2015, the OIG found “a substantial increase in delayed mail over the last several months.”

Recognizing the severity of the situation, the OIG called on the USPS to “immediately address the timeliness of mail processing.” In their alert, the OIG highlights that delayed mail has increased by 48% in the first six months of 2015. By cutting service standards in January and virtually eliminating overnight First-Class Mail, the USPS now can take days longer to process and deliver mail and still be considered on-time. In spite of these relaxed standards, delayed mail is through the roof while the USPS fails to meet these newly lowered standards.

Remarkably, this steep decline in mail service occurred while the USPS has completed a small portion of their planned facility closures and consolidations. Earlier this year, the USPS put on hold the planned closure or consolidation of dozens of mail processing facilities. This was largely a reaction to customer dissatisfaction over reduced standards, delayed mail, and communities speaking out.

Before resuming the planned mail processing facility closures or consolidations, the OIG called on the USPS to “establish criteria for determining if the network has stabilized and ensure the criteria are met.” In the past, postal management has ignored similar recommendations by the OIG and the Postal Regulatory Commission. 

To read more about the USPS OIG sounding the alarm over delayed mail, please click here

USPS OIG Promotes Vote by Mail

The Inspector General issued another report this month encouraging the Postal Service to “develop a strategy to increase voting by mail.” The report, titled “Election Mail Opportunities,” found that while many states allow voting by mail with no excuse, only 24% of eligible voters did so in the 2014 midterm elections. According to the OIG, the USPS could grow mail volume and revenue by $32 million in five years by encouraged vote by mail in the states that already offer “no excuse” absentee balloting – all while fulfilling its responsibility to bind the nation together.

The APWU wholeheartedly supports the expansion of voting by mail. As has been demonstrated in state after state, mail balloting is secure, cost effective, and increases voter participation in our democracy.

Twenty-seven states already allow voting by mail through no-excuse absentee voting, and they have found that voting by mail works. Three states (Oregon, Washington, and Colorado) conduct their elections entirely by mail. After adopting all-mail balloting for the 2014 elections, Colorado bucked the national trend of declining voter participation and substantially increased voter turnout. States with all-mail balloting routinely rank among the states with the highest rate of voter participation. When surveyed, 81 percent of Oregonians said they preferred voting by mail to traditional polling-place elections.

Earlier this month, Greater Seattle Area Local Vice President David Yao and Grassroots Coordinator Phil Warlick took the union's message to the National Conference of State Legislatures 2015 Summit and encouraged state legislators to expand vote by mail.

Click here for APWU’s 1-page issue sheet on the many benefits of vote by mail.

To read the USPS OIG’s report on promoting vote by mail, please click here

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