Goldway Says USPS Dissed Mailers With Load Leveling

Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway has criticized the U.S. Postal Service for moving ahead with a new load-leveling plan for presort mailers, alleging that the Post Office is insensitive to the needs of both senders and recipients of mail. The PRC had issued an advisory opinion on March 17 to delay the move that USPS management—as was its right—chose to ignore.

“We had a situation where the USPS wanted to change delivery standards for certain types of mail and delay them, and they asked us about it and it was determined that most thought it needed more study. But the Postal Service issued an announcement that they were going to go national with this program anyway,” Goldway told attendees of the Postal Vision 2020 conference in Washington. “Is that being customer sensitive? Is that being customer focused?”

Goldway charged that the Postal Service says one thing but does another as it embarks on a mission to reinvent its business, announcing plans for new ways to provide value for business customers and consumers while at the same time dismantling basic services.

“It’s not been my experience that the Postal Service takes very seriously that last person. It’s been the traditional business model to say, ‘Let’s depersonalize them as much as we can,’ and I think that’s a strategy that will ultimately lead to failure,” Goldway said. “Why would you want to do cluster boxes and give up that personal connection you have with consumers? Why say you want to offer more services and then say you don’t want to see them at all? Those are contradictory strategies.”

Goldway propounded a theme also put forth at the conference by National Association of Letter Carriers Chief of Staff Jim Sauber: that USPS management’s rush to five-day delivery might serve only to underutilize the monopoly’s exclusive access to some 152 million doors.

“Why would you want to reduce mail delivery while you’re making a move to seven-day delivery of packages?” she asked. “Why not figure out a way to merge the two, so the mail continues to be a resource that helps to grow the network, stabilize it, maintain it, and, in fact, enhance it?”

Goldway’s prescription to the Postal Service to stick to its knitting was punctuated with a caution to mailers to remain wary of delivery solutions whose market readiness had yet to be tested. One of those was drones, which she dismissed as currently being mere “toys for the wealthy.”

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