The Mailers Council, the nation’s largest coalition of mailers and mailing associations, has published a new white paper that warns of United States Postal Service insolvency without significant new legislative reform. The paper suggests other non-legislative steps to avoid collapse of the nation’s postal system.
According to Mailers Council Board of Directors President James R. O’Brien, “The mailing industry, and the nearly nine million jobs it represents, and every American who depends on a reliable, affordable postal system, need Congress’ help now. Our research shows that recent legislation offers only temporary relief of the agency’s financial problems. Without more significant measures, such as those outlined in our white paper, the Postal Service will soon be unable to meet its financial obligations.”
The Postal Service was recently put back on the General Accountability Office’s High-Risk List, a reflection that the agency’s future is in jeopardy. It ended FY 2009 with a net loss of $3 billion and is expected to report a nearly $7 billion deficit for FY 2010. Mail volume declined by approximately 26 billion pieces in one year. Next year, the Postal Service will be close to its statutory borrowing limit of $15 billion, with no sign of being able to repay these funds anytime soon.
Legislation approved on September 30 gave the Postal Service a one-year reprieve from the large annual payments required to prefund its retiree obligations. However, because of staggering declines in mail volume, changing communication patterns and the ongoing recession, the USPS may be unable to pay its bills or its employees by the end of FY 2010.
The Mailers Council’s white paper offers these recommendations for addressing the Postal Service’s problems:
- The Postal Service needs to be allowed to reduce its head count.
- It must be allowed to close unneeded facilities and consolidate its retail network.
- The Postal Service needs greater control over compensation.
- It should be allowed to adjust its pre-funding schedule for retiree health benefits when economic conditions dictate.
- An arbitrator should consider the financial health of the Postal Service when making a decision in the collective bargaining process.
- The Postal Service should complete its study of five-day-a-week delivery and fully present its findings for further discussion.
The Mailers Council is a coalition of corporations, nonprofit organizations, and major mailing associations. Collectively, the Council accounts for 70% of the nation’s mail volume. The Mailers Council believes that the USPS can be operated more efficiently, supports efforts aimed at lowering postal costs, and has the ultimate objective of containing postal rates without compromising service