Joint Letter to the Post Master General

February 19, 2021

The Honorable Louis DeJoy

Postmaster General

United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza SW

Washington DC 20260

Dear Postmaster General:

As representatives of your customers, the undersigned are writing to you in an effort to clearly convey the fragility of customer confidence in the Postal Service, given the recent collapse in service, and the danger of increasing prices under such circumstances.

We understand the impact of the pandemic – our member companies and nonprofit organizations, and their customers, are experiencing it as well – and of other factors that have impaired USPS operations and delivery. As the Postal Service has acknowledged, that impairment was worsened by internal failures to maintain control over inventory and follow established procedures and operating plans.

As a result, customers have experienced delays of not just a few days but weeks – even months – in getting their personal correspondence, greeting cards, statements, advertising mail, newspapers, magazines, and packages to their recipients. In turn, many customers, from the clients of commercial mailers to everyday users of retail services, now question whether they can depend on the Postal Service in the future. The collapse of service experienced in recent months has the potential to significantly accelerate the abandonment of mail; it has already resulted in messages to consumers encouraging them to “go paperless.”

In this context, increasing prices for substandard service should not even be considered. Any action that would drive away already skeptical customers would worsen the Postal Service’s challenges. Any short-term increase in revenue from an over-CPI price change would be outweighed by its long-term business impact. We believe there are better measures that could be undertaken to restore financial equilibrium.

As you have noted, the burdens imposed by Congress could be alleviated through successful discussions with legislators; reform legislation could remove unnecessary retirement prefunding obligations; USPS employee costs could be reduced through more disciplined negotiations; and operational efficiencies can be implemented that do not require diminishing service standards. Yes, those would be more difficult than simply raising prices, but also would yield greater and more long-lasting benefits – without imperiling mail volume.

The Postal Regulatory Commission has provided greater pricing authority to the Postal Service. When the commissioners concluded the USPS was not financially stable, the tool they used to remedy that condition was alteration of the rate-setting mechanism to enable greater price increases. The challenges facing our industry require a more thoughtful and comprehensive approach than for the Postal Service to mechanically maximize its rate authority, separately or as part of a broader plan, simply because it was provided with the opportunity to do so. Moreover, the availability of $10 billion in funding under recent legislation, and the ongoing positive income derived from increased parcel volume, lessen the urgency to seek additional revenue from ratepayers.

The Postal Service’s financial condition did not develop overnight and is not simply due to inadequate revenue – nor can it be remedied simply by raising prices, particularly through an unanticipated increase at a time when customer allegiance has been so severely compromised by poor service. Customers already prepared to walk out the door should not be asked to pay more – now or in the future – for something whose value they concurrently have reason to doubt.

We look forward to working with you to strengthen the Postal Service and ensure its future. We are also prepared to collaborate on an integrated and comprehensive approach to the challenges we face together. We stand ready to discuss these and other issues at your convenience.

Sincerely, Stephen Kearney

Executive Director

Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers

Hamilton Davison

President and Executive Director

American Catalog Mailers Association

Mark Pitts

Executive Director

American Forest & Paper Association

Steve Krejcik

President

Association for Mail Electronic Enhancement

Michael Plunkett

President and Chief Executive Officer

Association for Postal Commerce (Postcom)

Rita D. Cohen

Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Policy

MPA – The Association of Magazine Media

Christopher Oswald

Senior Vice President, Government Relations

ANA – Association of National Advertisers

Michael Plunkett

President

Delivery Technology Advocacy Council (DTAC)

Maynard Benjamin

President

Envelope Manufacturers Association

George White

President

Greeting Card Association

Kate Muth

Executive Director

International Mailers’ Advisory Group

Leo Raymond

Managing Director

Mailers Hub

Todd Haycock

President

Major Mailers Association

Robert Galaher

Executive Director

National Association of Presort Mailers

Tonda Rush

General Counsel

National Newspaper Association

Arthur B. Sackler

Executive Director

National Postal Policy Council

Paul Boyle

Senior Vice President / Public Policy

News Media Alliance

Jim Cochrane

Chief Executive Officer

Parcel Shippers Association

Donna Hanbery

Executive Director

Saturation Mailers Coalition

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