The USPS Needs A Course Correction

Critics are protesting the frequent rate hikes and service declines of the U.S. Postal Service – especially those affecting publishers. 

“At a time when the publishing industry is facing high paper costs, digital competition, threats against journalists, and a difficult advertising market, the Postal Service is once again imposing the maximum rate increases possible on Periodicals mail,” the NewsMedia Alliance said in comments submitted last week. 

The Alliance continues, “The increases are 9.701 percent for Within County Periodicals and 9.758 percent for Outside County Periodicals, for a class average increase of 9.754 percent. If approved, those increases will result in compounded increases of nearly 50 percent for Periodicals mail since August 2021.”

This is happening as “service performance has remained well below published standards for years,” the Alliance adds. “Although the Postal Service has met its service performance “targets” in the last two fiscal years, that is only because those targets were extremely low.”



Then there is the 2% surcharge now being imposed. 

“History shows that Periodicals rate increases will have minimal impact on overall Postal Service finances, that volumes will continue to plummet, and the Service’s abject failure to control Flats costs means that it likely could continue to charge the extra two percent non-compensatory surcharge indefinitely under current rules,” the Alliance stated. 

It continued, “The surcharge is part of the steep per-unit price increase paid by those publishers using the mail, but it is difficult to claim that this amount of money – trivial for an $80 billion organization such as the Postal Service – justifies the additional harm that the surcharge inflicts on publishers and their communities. 

The picture is also affected by continuing volume losses. 

“Periodicals volume declined by 40 percent. They have fallen an additional 8.3 percent through the first five months of the current fiscal year, a sizable decline considering that some newspapers have increased their use of Within County mail due to not being able to find independent carriers.” 

Don’t expect service to improve or the rates to come down any time soon. 


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