Latest News and Highlights

USPS Announces Price Change. On October 10, the USPS announced price changes effective January 29, 2019. The proposed prices, approved by the Governors of the Postal Service, would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 2.5 percent. Shipping Services price increases vary by product. The price increase percentages by class are First-Class Mail 2.486, Marketing Mail 2.479, Periodicals 2.520, Package Services 2.522, and Special Services 2.512.

STOP Act passes in the Senate. On September 17, the Senate passed a legislative package designed to combat the growing opioid crisis in the US. That package included the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act. As indicated in the accompanying article, the legislation would " bring requirements currently enforced on private shipping companies to the Postal Service by 2021..."  While the Postal Service has not explicitly endorsed either the House or Senate versions of the STOP Act, they have expressed a willingness to work collaboratively to offer helpful suggestions on the legislation. The White House is believed to support the legislation which is expected to be reconciled with the version of the STOP Act recently passed by the House of Representatives.

Robert Duncan Elected Chairman on the USPS Board of Governors. On September 13, the USPS announced that Robert Duncan was elected Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, with David Williams having been elected Vice Chairman. Mr. Williams will also serve as Chairman of the Temporary Emergency Committee of the Board.

Postal Board of Governor Updates. On August 28, Robert Duncan and David Williams were confirmed as Governors of the U.S. Postal Service by voice vote in the Senate.  The Postal Service had been without any sitting Governors since December 2016.  On August 29, the White House announced two additional Governor Nominees: Ron A. Bloom of New York, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service, for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2020. Roman Martinez IV of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service, for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring December 8, 2024. A copy of the White House statement can be found here.

Plan Would Restrict Marketing Mail Content The U.S. Postal Service is contemplating a plan to limit Marketing Mail letters and flats (regular and nonprofit) to paper-based printed content – a move the USPS says will improve on-time delivery and processing. If implemented, the proposal would push all merchandise or goods, “regardless of value,’” into another product such as Priority Mail or Parcel Select. In an advanced rulemaking published in the August 23 Federal Register, the USPS said it is posting the proposal for extended comments in order to obtain as much feedback as possible. Comments are due Oct. 22.

White House Memo to UPU. On August 23, the White House issued a memorandum providing guidance for the U.S. delegation at the upcoming Universal Postal Union Extraordinary Congress in Addis Ababa. While terminal dues are not on the agenda for the Extraordinary Congress, the memo encourages a U.S. position that would unilaterally revise terminal dues to make them more similar to  comparable domestic rates. The memo also addresses provision of advance electronic data - which has been part of the STOP Act - and reform of the UPU. In addition, the memo requires the Secretary of State to present the President with a report summarizing actions undertaken to implement the recommendations and lays the groundwork for the US to adopt self-declared inbound rates.  

USPS Reports 2018 3rd Quarter Financials. On August 9, the U.S. Postal Service reported total revenue of $17.1 billion for the third quarter of 2018 (April 1, 2018 - June 30, 2018), an increase of $402 million, or 2.4 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. First-Class Mail revenue declined by $134 million, or 2.2 percent, and Marketing Mail revenue increased by $63 million, or 1.6 percent. Total mail volume declined by a combined 397 million pieces, or 1.2 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. Shipping and Packages revenue increased by $475 million, or 10.2 percent, on volume growth of 102 million pieces, or 7.5 percent. The net loss for the quarter totaled $1.5 billion, a decline in net loss of $651 million compared to the same period last year, the result of nonrecurring adjustments to retirement and retiree health benefit plans to account for revised actuarial assumptions. Excluding the effects of these adjustments, the net loss for the quarter increased by $507 million.

House Resolution Opposing USPS Privatization Introduced. On July 13, Representatives Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced a resolution calling on Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the Postal Service remain an independent agency of the federal government and not be subject to privatization. As of this date the resolution has ten co-sponsors in all. Lynch's resolution comes in response to an Office of Personnel Management Report which endorsed the eventual privatization of the Postal Service. 

GAO Releases Report about USPS Capital Spending and Processes On June 28, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the U.S. Postal Service's projected capital spending and processes for addressing uncertainties and risks. The GAO found that USPS has processes in place to help it identify the uncertainties that may affect its capital spending plan, and flexibilities that allow it to adjust the plan accordingly.

President Proposes Privatizing the US Postal Service On Thursday, June 21, the Executive Office of the President of the United States released a report titled:  "Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations".  Starting on page 68, the plan discusses privatizing the Postal Service. The summary states: This proposal would restructure the United States Postal System to return it to a sustainable business model or prepare it for future conversion from a Government agency into a privately-held corporation. Like many European nations, the United States could privatize its postal operator while maintaining strong regulatory oversight to ensure fair competition and reasonable prices for customers. The President’s Task Force on the United States Postal System will make recommendations on reforms towards this goal in August 2018.

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