MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota - Post offices around the country are implementing service changes described by the Postmaster General as a way to reverse major financial losses. However, labor leaders in Minnesota say the moves lack transparency and will affect vulnerable populations.
Since Oct. 1, service standards have been altered to slow the pace of delivery for some first-class mail, while cutting retail hours and increasing prices.
Peggy Whitney, a local business agent for the Minneapolis Postal Workers Union, said customers in urbanized settings might not notice it as much. However, she warned it's a different story for rural Minnesotans, especially those who see the daily mail service as a lifeline, including "senior citizens and veterans who rely heavily on medication by mail."
Whitney and other union leaders noted that the changes don't align with recommendations from the Postal Regulatory Commission, and said the Postmaster General failed to produce enough evidence to the commission. Minnesota and nearly 20 other states recently filed an administrative complaint, asking for a more detailed review of the new plan.
Postal leaders have argued that the longstanding service model was unsustainable, but Whitney said treating the Postal Service as a business runs counter to the organization's mission. When focusing on revenue losses, she said, she feels the 10-year overhaul plan doesn't make any sense, and added, "How many businesses raise prices for their customers and provide them with fewer products?"
Other critics of service reductions say the system could thrive by venturing into other areas, such as banking. The Postmaster-General has said some of the current price hikes will be temporary, to help with $160 billion in losses the USPS faces over the next decade.
Source: Minnesota News Connection