Posts tagged with "USPS"

USPS honors Yankees legend Yogi Berra with ‘Forever’ stamp

June 25, 2021

If he were here today, he would have repeated one of his most famous lines: “I want to thank everybody for making this day necessary.”

 The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring the inimitable Yankees catcher Yogi Berra on June 24. This Forever stamp was dedicated during a ceremony at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, New Jersey, and is now being sold at Post Office locations nationwide and online at usps.com/yogiberrastamp.

News about the stamp is being shared on social media using the hashtags,  #YogiBerraStamp and #BaseballStamps.

“We hope this stamp will serve as a reminder of Yogi’s larger than life personality — both on and off the field,” said Ron A. Bloom, chairman, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. Bloom was joined for the ceremony by  Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Bob Costas; and Larry, Tim and Dale Berra, sons of Yogi Berra. The ceremony can be viewed on the Postal Service Facebook and Twitter pages.

“The Berra family wishes to thank the U.S. Postal Service for honoring our father with a Forever stamp for his prowess as a baseball icon who demonstrated the right way to earn the respect of family, friends, competitors and people everywhere,” the family said in a statement.

Research contact: @USPS

Senators introduce bipartisan bill to overhaul U.S. Postal Service

May 21, 2021

On May 19, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill—the Postal Service Reform Act—intended to improve management of the troubled U.S. Postal Service, The Hill reports.

The move to “stabilize” the USPS is being led by Senators Gary Peters (D-Michigan); and  Rob Portman (R-Ohio)m both of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee.

A total of nine Republicans signed on as co-sponsors. Adding their support, as well as Portman’s vote, to the Democrat vote of 50 members would secure passage of the legislation and head off a filibuster—making the new legislation the closest thing Congress has done to a postal overhaul in more than a decade, The Capitalist reports.

Specifically, The Washington Post has said, the bill would repeal $5 billion a year in mandatory retiree health care expenses, the Post reports, and require future retirees to enroll in Medicare. The bill would also create a public online performance dashboard that would allow customers to see the Postal Service’s on-time delivery metric by ZIP code.

The change in health care requirements would purportedly save the Postal Service $30 billion over the next ten years.

The bill will likely affect Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s proposed ten-year plan of increasing postage prices, creating longer delivery windows and reducing post office hours. The Post notes that an important part of DeJoy’s plan hinged on congressional intervention on retiree health care costs.

Some officials have argued that these costs, which must be prepaid per the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, are the main reason why the agency cannot invest in new technology and equipment. However, the Post notes that the Postal Service has not made these payments since 2011 and they do not affect the agency’s liquidity.

Regardless of its financial situation, the agency’s problems may be beyond legislative action experts told the newspaper.”Some things are beyond the realm of legislation to be able to deal with,” Postal Policy Associates consulting firm President Kenneth John told the Post.

“Letter mail volume is going to decline to the extent that prices increase more rather than less,” John, a former senior analyst at the Government Accountability Office, added. “That decline may accelerate somewhat, but it’s fundamentally a result of changing ways of communication and payment, and these are going to continue.”

Research contact: @thehill

New USPS delivery vehicle with more headroom, safety features, and AC coming in 2023

Febraury 25, 2021

Few things have changed less during the course of this century than this nation’s fleet of postal delivery vehicles.

The familiar squat, box-like vans—produced from 1987 through 1994, and in service ever since— have a steering wheel on the right, to make it easier for drivers to reach out and put mail in curbside mail boxes. They have few creature comforts—certainly not air conditioning.

Overall, they were designed to be rugged, not flashy. They have lived up to their name, the Grumman LLV, for long lasting vehicle.

Indeed, says CNN, this ubiquitous fleet of 200,000 vehicles has been around longer than such common features of modern life as smartphones, online shopping, social media, streaming services, or Google. About 70% of them are between 25 and 32 years old.

But their days are finally numbered. A contract with Oshkosh Defense, a unit of Oshkosh Corp. Under the contract between 50,000 and 165,000 new postal trucks will be produced over a period of ten years. Oshkosh initially will receive $482 million to initiate engineering efforts to finalize the production vehicle design, and for tooling and factory build-out activities that are necessary prior to vehicle production.

The amount of the contract to actually purchase the production version of the vehicles has not yet been set—but it will almost certainly be a multi-billion dollar deal.

As for the design of the new van, it has a low engine compartment and hood; and a very high windshield. It looks like a duck’s head, complete with bill. The back is tall enough for a letter carrier to stand in.

It also has safety features missing from many of the current vehicles, including — believe it or not — airbags, which are standard features in virtually all motor vehicles today.

They also will have back-up cameras, front collision warnings, automatic front and rear braking, blind spot detectors and, to the relief at last of letter carriers come summer, air conditioning.

And, according to CNN, the vehicles will have more cargo space than current vehicles—enabling USPS to deliver more packages, a growing and profitable part of its business, rather than traditional letters, a segment that’s shrinking.

Many but not all of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicles(NGDVs) will be electric vehicles. With electric vehicle changing at a fast pace and the vehicles designed to last decades, the contract calls for the electric versions to able to be retrofitted to keep pace with advances.

The rest will be what the USPS says will be high efficiency traditional gasoline engines. The precise mix between EVs and internal combustion engines has not been set. But the mix has already elicited criticism from environmentalists.

“The USPS NGDVs should be electrified as a matter of urgency,” Robbie Diamond, president of Securing America’s Future Energy, or SAFE, told CNN. “This contract is a golden opportunity to stimulate the domestic EV market and supply chain, and a commitment to electrifying the NGDV would provide a clear incentive for further domestic EV industry development.”

The vehicles have also been in the works for years. USPS has been working on the project with potential suppliers since 2016.

Research contact: @CNN

More than 5,000 mail-order prescriptions delayed at Cook County Health amid USPS changes

August 17, 2020

More than 5,000 prescriptions usually filled by the Cook County [Illinois] Health’s mail-order pharmacy were delayed in July, following upheaval at the U.S. Postal Service, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The pharmacy regularly fills more than 20,000 prescriptions each month, said Cook County Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Claudia Fegan. In July, 23% of those prescriptions were delayed, she said. That was up from less than 1% delayed in March. Delays were up in April and May as well, and reached 18% in June.

In sme ZIP codes, about half of the system’s mail-order prescriptions in July were delayed, Fegan said. Some of the ZIP codes most affected by the delays are those that include the South Side neighborhoods of Auburn Gresham, Roseland, Pullman, and South Shore.

“This is yet another example of the impact that policy changes have on our vulnerable populations,” Fegan said at a news conference Monday. “Our patients deserve high-quality care and continuity of care. They deserve to be able to receive their medication and not have to worry about how they’ll get to the pharmacy during a pandemic to get their medications.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump crony who was appointed in early May, implemented a series of policy changes that slowed down and delayed the mail, including canceling overtime and limiting mail transportation runs, according to the American Postal Workers Union.

Those changes were called out and criticized by Democrats—who saw them as an attempt to make it more difficult for people to vote by mail in the November election.

DeJoy said in a statement last week that he would hold off on certain changes until after the November election “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.” The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure to send $25 billion in additional funds to the Postal Service but that measure is not expected to be taken up in the Senate, the Tribune said.

Cook County Health leaders said Monday they continue to hear complaints about delayed medications from patients.

“This has severely impacted seniors and other individuals who have high risk of exposure to COVID-19 and depend on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their mail-order prescriptions on time,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Patricia Moore, a patient at Cook County Health who spoke at the news conference,

said she had never had a problem getting her mail-order prescriptions delivered on time before now. But she recently ran low on her medication for high blood pressure when it didn’t arrive on time. She ended up making a trip to Provident Hospital to pick it up. When she again ran low, she stood in line at her local post office for an hour-and-a-half to try to pick it up, only to be told that she’d have to come back another time.

When she finally received her medication, she was down to her last pill, she said.

“Finally, I got my medication, but I hope and pray in the future, I don’t have to go through all these changes again,” Moore said.

Research contact: @chicagotribune