PRC Issues Warning to USPS about Service Standard Change

July 21, 2021

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Yesterday, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) released its Advisory Opinion on the Postal Service’s proposals to slow the First Class Mail service standard to as many as five days, and issued a serious warning to postal management about their proposal. The PRC found that management’s planned changes are untested, unlikely to improve the Postal Services finances, and risk further alienating the mailing public, who justifiably expect to receive their mail quickly and reliably. 

The Postal Service’s proposals would slow down the mail for millions of users and billions of pieces of mail, including extending the current three-day delivery standard for First Class and Periodicals to up to up to five days (six for periodicals), depending on distance of travel.

“The PRC’s opinion echoes what the APWU has argued since management first introduced their plans to slow down the mail,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “We strongly opposed these proposals and we are heartened that the Commission shared many of our concerns.”

While the PRC acknowledged that the USPS proposals may save money, they remained unconvinced that any modest savings were worth the cost to service expectations; noting:

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.

The APWU led the effort, along with other members of A Grand Alliance to Save our Public Postal Service, to help the public comment on the USPS plan. This generated over 77,000 submitted comments. The concerns from the public and the APWU  were reflected in the PRC’s findings, particularly with respect to postal customers in rural areas and others who rely heavily on the public Postal Service. 

While the PRC’s reservations were made clear in their opinion, the agency lacks the authority to stop the USPS from proceeding with their plans. 

“We are pleased that the PRC heard the voice of our union, and the tens of thousands of postal workers and allies who shared their views,” said President Dimondstein. 

“The ball is back in management’s court to do the right thing in light of the Commission’s serious concerns,” he continued. “The APWU calls on postal management and the Postal Board of Governors to reconsider their plans, and to ensure the people of the country received the prompt, reliable and efficient service promised under the law.”

The PRC’s Advisory Opinion can be accessed here

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