Change May Be Coming For USPS
Posted by Melissa Simon on Jul 25, 2013 - 2:10:27 PM
UNITED STATES—The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved a bill Wednesday, July 24 that would end door-to-door delivery and affect millions of people, including residences and businesses.
HR 2748, or the Postal Reform Act of 2013, was proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and suggests an alternate centralized delivery system. In this new system, the Postal Service would be in charge of setting up new delivery points where groups of people will have their mail delivered based on input from local officials and patrons.
“The commonsense reforms in this legislation will restore the United States Postal Service to long-term financial solvency while maintaining high-quality universal service for all Americans,” Issa said in a release.
John Beaumont, CA state president for the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), told Canyon News that it will affect nearly 30 million people.
Postal Service delivery truck
“HR 2748 will do away with door-to-door delivery for every in the entire nation except for about 9 million people,” he said. “The other 30 million people will have go to cluster boxes at the end of their street and if they’re a senior or if there is bad weather that day, those are some of the several reasons people don’t want to do away with door-to-door delivery.”
The bill has also come up against opposition from American Postal Workers Union (APWU).
“The legislation as written is totally unacceptable,” Cliff Guffey, president of the APWU, said in a statement. Gary Kloepfer, legislative and political director for the APWU, said the bill must be stopped because it would have a “devastating effect.”
According to Beaumont, several amendments were made during the review with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but they were all voted down. He told Canyon News that this is not a bipartisan bill nor is it a bipartisan vote because there is not one democrat on the Committee that supports the bill.
“A balanced approach to saving the Postal service means allowing USPS to adapt to America’s changing use of mail,” Issa said in a statement. “Done right, these reforms can improve the customer experience through a more efficient Postal Service.”
The move to end door-to-door delivery, which is the key part of the bill, is intended to save money. In a report issued by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, it costs $353 per stop for a delivery in most cities, whereas it costs $224 for curbside mailbox delivery and only $160 for cluster boxes. According to government reports, it cost $30 billion to deliver mail and ending the deliveries would save $4.5 billion every year.
“@USPS is broke. Last year it lost a record $15.9 billion and defaulted on payments to the fed gov worth $11.1 billion,” Issa tweeted July 24 during the review for the bill.
Beaumont told Canyon News about some of his suggestions for the postal service to fix itself including allowing the post office to get more involved in other products.
“You know the post office already does passports so why can’t they get involved with issuing fishing licenses or vehicle ID’s like the DMV and the Auto Club does?” he said. “There are other things the post office could sell and they can get more involved as a business itself and move in that direction to go forward.”
Beaumont also suggested updating the fleets of post office trucks, which he said leave the largest carbon footprint of a delivery network.
“If we could clean up our fleet it would be a win-win situation,” he said. “It would save money for the post office and it would also clean up the environment. Not only that, those vehicles could be made in Detroit or in the U.S. by automakers that have suffered a lot in the last few years.”
The NALC as well as all four unions and management recognize the postal service does need to reform, according to Beaumont.
“We need to do it responsibly and in such a way that protects the public and this bill does not do that,” he said.