By Joel Allis, TPA Postal Consultant
On April 1, the USPS announced it had filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for an advisory opinion. This began a process that could bring regular Saturday mail delivery to an end. Unfortunately this was not an April fool’s joke.
The Postal Service plans to implement five-day delivery in fiscal year 2011, which begins October 1, 2010. Implementation is contingent on Congress not enacting legislation to prevent that change in service. Yes, I know that sounds confusing, but that’s how it works.
In addition, the Postal Service must ask the PRC to review its plans and issue a non-binding advisory opinion. USPS has created an information website, http://www.usps.com/communications/five-daydelivery/
The March/April MailPro publication contains a very informative five-page article titled An Action Plan for the Future. This article is good reading material and is available at: http://www.usps.com/mailpro/2010/marchapril/marapr.pdf
The PRC is inviting public comments on this proposal and has set a schedule to review the proposal, including a series of field hearings. One of the field hearings is scheduled for May 17 in Dallas. Further information is available at: http://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/default.aspx
The PRC Chairman’s April 22 Senate Testimony is available at: http://www.prc.gov/prc-docs/home/whatsnew/Chairman%20Goldway%20Senate%20Testimony%204%2022%2010%20FINAL_869.pdf
This is an outstanding read and should be required reading for anyone having an interest in the future of the USPS (which is all of us).
Obviously, Texas Press Association and the National Newspaper Association (NNA) oppose this proposal as it would have an extremely detrimental effect on almost all member newspapers. The change to 5-day delivery and the postage rate increases that are likely to follow would be devastating to our members, affecting both service and postage costs.
The impact on newspapers with a Saturday issue is obvious. Those members would have some difficult decisions to make. But what about members with a Friday issue dependent upon the postal service for its delivery? Would the postal service be able to provide the level of delivery service required to satisfy your advertisers and subscribers?
The question is vital, the answer is unknown. The MailPro article referenced above implies -- really, it flat-out says -- that some classes of mail, including Periodicals, don’t pay their way. What are the implications of that on future postage rates?
TPA plans to do everything in its power to articulate to those responsible for ultimately making this decision the huge negative impact this proposal would have on its members. TPA will also be supporting the NNA in opposing this proposal. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.