Postal Service Roughs Up Publishers: They're Getting Higher Costs, Worsening Service

Louis DeJoy, our current Postmaster General, has penned an op-ed piece defending his crisis management of the U.S. Postal Service. 

PMG DeJoy states that the USPS “survived by suspending payments to our employee retirement fund, and deferring investments and maintenance on facilities, vehicles and equipment.

What a formula — it hardly befits an institution tasked with maintaining a venerable communications channel. And while it may have helped the postal service financially (maybe), it certainly hasn’t done much for publishers.

For instance, the National Newspaper Association (NNA) last week forwarded 200 letters from newspapers to the Postal Rate Commission (PRC), complaining about “delivery failures, losses of subscribers and unresponsive local postal authorities when delivery was not properly executed.”



They have a point: even as publishers like Gannett move more of their delivery to the USPS, the NNA observes that rates keep going up and delivery down.

Community newspapers, which are hanging by a thread as it is, have suffered from a 35% to 50% increase in postage costs over the past four years. 

These conditions are well known to companies that send direct mail. 

Not that the complainants blame DeJoy, although it has happened on his watch. Rather, they pin it on the PRC.

“The PRC is inclined to blame the Postmaster General for using every inch of his rate authority that the Commission extended,” says NNA Chair John Galer, publisher of the Journal News, of Hillsboro, Illinois. “But it was the Commission that laid the table for this disaster.”

How so? “With proper rate regulation, we would not be in the situation we now find ourselves in,” Galer continues. “Now, we have to be concerned not only for the future of our own newspapers but for the plummeting of mail volumes that threatens the very basis of universal mail service.”

The USPS has suffered greatly from the decline in print volume in favor of digital. But even before that, it was harmed by cynical politicians who foisted unfair expenses on it, a point that DeJoy infers. But it’s not clear where it goes from there. 


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