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The Berkshire Company Blog

Together Again at the National Postal Forum

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 20, 2022 10:31:37 AM

 


Gathering for the first time since 2019, mailing professionals flocked to Phoenix for the National Postal Forum (NPF). People came ready to work – attending classes, connecting with vendors on the exhibit hall, and hearing from postal executives on products and policies.

A group of volunteers kicked off the conference with a different kind of work. Partnering with the NPF, The Berkshire Company sponsored a Habitat for Humanity build day on Saturday. The crew installed roofing, painted sections of the exterior and assembled work stools. We ended the day with a presentation of a mailbox for the new homeowners.

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United States Postal Service / Industry Vendors / National Postal Forum / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / NPF / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General / The Berkshire Company

Comprehensive Postal Reform – Part Two

Posted by Mark Fallon on May 1, 2022 5:09:39 AM



The last blog post proposed a new reporting structure of the US Postal Service (USPS) and the Postmaster General (PMG). This post will review the Universal Service Obligation (USO) and provide a draft USO for your consideration.

The USO is the vaguely defined responsibility of the USPS to provide consistent service at affordable rates to all citizens irrespective of geography. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) calculates the costs of the USO and publishes a report on those costs.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / Postal Reform / Postal Regulatory Commission / Vote by mail / Postmaster General / Universal Service Obligation / The Berkshire Company

Comprehensive Postal Reform – Part One

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 3, 2022 10:42:39 AM


In last month’s post, we reviewed the lack of real reform in the “Postal Service Reform Act of 2022”. While the bill does address some financial issues, it falls short of introducing meaningful change to the US Postal Service (USPS).

A common reply to the post has been, “What would you consider ‘real’ reform?”

That’s a good question, and one that will be answered in two parts. Part One will cover governance and accountability, and Part Two will address services provided.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General / Universal Service Obligation

A Strong Postal Regulatory Commission Benefits the Mailing Industry

Posted by Mark Fallon on Dec 21, 2021 4:00:00 AM


The day before Thanksgiving, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) published Order No. 6047 – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Regulations Pertaining to Section 601. The technical title veils the importance of the ruling. The section being discussed – 39 U.S. Code 601 – describes when the letter monopoly of the US Postal Service (USPS) doesn’t apply to a mailpiece. This is the core of the Private Express Statutes.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Regulatory Commission / Universal Service Obligation

Terrible Timing – The Absurdity of the August Rate Increase

Posted by Mark Fallon on Aug 1, 2021 11:03:09 AM

For over 6 months, mailing industry professionals – through their associations and as individuals – have expressed their concerns about a second postage rate increase in 2021. Through group calls with the US Postal Service (USPS) leadership, meetings with the postmaster general, and many articles and blog posts, the message has been clear – a second rate increase in 2021 will cause harm. Annual budgets have been set, printers and mailers are just beginning to recover from the pandemic, and USPS service levels will be lowered in September.

Their efforts were for naught.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General / The Berkshire Company

What’s the Cost of the Universal Service Obligation?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Mar 16, 2021 11:51:53 AM


On December 10, 2020, The Postal regulatory Commission issued Order Number 5777, requesting comment on Docket No. PI2021-1: Public Inquiry on the Universal Service Obligation Valuation Methodology. The Berkshire Company submitted the following document in response to the PRC.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Regulatory Commission / Universal Service Obligation

A Ship Adrift – The US Postal Service

Posted by Mark Fallon on Feb 1, 2021 4:00:00 AM



The last year has brought one challenge after another. The pandemic. Civil rights protests. A divisive election. Violent rioters in our nation’s capital.

The impact to the US Postal Service (USPS) was augmented by additional factors.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postal Reform / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General

Preparing for the 2021 Rate Increase

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jan 18, 2021 12:14:04 PM


On Sunday, January 24, 2021, the new US Postal Service (USPS) postage rates and rules go into effect. Mailers mailers have less than a week to complete their final preparations.

This may be the last increase under the ratemaking rules established under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006. Under the PAEA, the rates for Market Dominant products – First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail, Periodicals, etc. – were limited by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

After completing their 10-year review, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) modified the ratemaking rules. On November 30, 2020, the PRC issued Order No. 5763 – Order Adopting Final Rules for the System of Regulating Rates and Classes for Market Dominant Products. Under the new system, the USPS will have additional rate authority to raise rates. The factors include a combination of delivery density and retirement-related expenses. The rules went into effect on January 15, 2021 and may be used by the USPS to raise rates above CPI.

There are currently four legal appeals on the PRC order, including one by the USPS. Industry advocates claim that the PRC overstepped its authority, while the USPS is appealing the narrow scope of the order. Until the courts issue a ruling, the order remains in effect.

The current USPS price list – Notice 123 – is available on Postal Explorer as either an HTML or PDF document. Until January 24, the new rates are available for download as either an Excel or PDF file. The Excel file has a tab for each rate class, complete with Zone and weight tables.

Even with the increase, postage rates are a great deal. The USPS retail rates for letter mail remain lower than our trading partners – including the countries that have privatized their posts. This is the current prices for one-ounce stamps (based on exchange rates in effect on January 17, 2020):

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Postal Regulatory Commission

Postmaster General DeJoy Should Know Silence Isn’t Golden

Posted by Mark Fallon on Jul 20, 2020 1:17:52 PM


Last month, Mr. Louis DeJoy began his service as the 75th Postmaster General (PMG) of the United States and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service (USPS). On his first day in office, PMG DeJoy released a video praising USPS employees and recognizing outgoing PMG Megan Brennan. It was an upbeat message that was received well by employees and customers alike.

There have been no public statements by PMG DeJoy since then. Just silence.

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United States Postal Service / USPS / U.S. Postal Service / Postage Rates / Leadership / Postal Regulatory Commission / Postmaster General

What’s a Letter?

Posted by Mark Fallon on Apr 6, 2020 9:00:00 PM


On February 7, 2020, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued Order Number 5422 – “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Consider Regulations to Carry Out the Statutory Requirements of 39 U.S.C. 601”. It’s a brief document – only 10 pages – that opens up significant issues around the definition of “a letter”, the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) monopoly to deliver letters, and the universal service obligation (USO).

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United States Postal Service / USPS / Postal Reform / Postal Regulatory Commission