A Battle Won in Postal Service
The news came last Friday from Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office. The U.S. Postal Service announced that it had indefinitely postponed the closing of 68 mail processing centers.
It is a victory in the ongoing battle to keep rural postal services intact, with the hope of restoring better service. There haven’t been too many victories for the National Newspaper Association (NNA), chief lobbiest for newspapers and rural post offices. The NNA’s membership is composed of many small weekly and daily newspapers across the country that depend on the postal service to reach their subscribers.
A group of U.S. senators, including Sen. McCaskill, following a Roundtable on Rural Mail before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, asked for a one-year moratorium on postal closings until the impact of the closing is fully understood. Sens. Jon Tester, D-MT, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, along with Sen. McCaskill, were among the leaders in the battle to keep the postal processing centers open…
“These closing swould undoubtedly have hurt rural communities and the U.S. Postal Service cannot keep solving their problems on the back of these smaller and rural towns.” McCaskill added that the moratorium is a short-term victory, “we still need to get down to the hard work of addressing the Postal Service’s very real operational challenges, in a way that doesn’t kill postal service service in rural areas.”
To some people, this may not seem as much of a victory. But it is to the forces that have been working for years to address the problems of the agency, which has been facing tough competition, loss of revenue and operational problems. Some time back, the agency decided it was going to concentrate on improving first class mail revenue and give the most attention to urban areas. That policy harmed people in rural areas.
The NNA seeks measurement of mail service times from rural to rural areas, rural to urban areas and urban to rural areas. USPS currently measures on-time delivery of mail nationally and reports to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). “But because urban areas receive the most mail, reported averages are heavily weighted toward urban service. Isolating rural service has not yet become a priority of the commission,” the NNA stated…