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Postal News Roundup

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: Key Considerations for Potential Changes to USPS's Monopolies

U.S. Government Accountability Office - “The value of the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) letter delivery and mailbox monopolies was $5.45 billion in fiscal year 2015, according to the most recent estimate prepared by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the regulator of USPS. This figure suggests that USPS's net income would decline by this amount if its monopolies were eliminated… Narrowing or eliminating USPS's letter delivery and mailbox monopolies would likely have varied effects, according to views provided by postal stakeholders, experts, USPS, and PRC. For example, all parties agreed that allowing other entities to deliver letters could decrease USPS's revenues, and that additional strain would be placed on USPS's ability to continue providing the current level of universal service. Additionally, some stakeholders said that allowing other entities to deliver items to the mailbox could adversely affect the security of mail and increase clutter that would impair USPS's delivery efficiency. On the other hand, most of the postal experts we interviewed said that allowing entry to this market by private competitors could result in increased competition that would spur USPS to become more efficient.”

SUNDAY DELIVERIES HELP OVERCOME US POSTAL SERVICE SHORTFALLS

The Laconia Daily Sun - “On a given Sunday, the United States Postal Service delivers 300 packages in Gilford and Laconia, and has been doing so for about a year. “The customers love it,” said Michael Quinn, officer in charge of the Laconia Post Office. Just a few years ago, seeing a decline in first-class mail as customers turned to email, instant messaging, and social media for regular communications, the postal service was looking to restrict mail delivery to five days a week, eliminating Saturday deliveries. Now it delivers Express Mail and packages seven days a week, although not all locations handle the Sunday mail. The Laconia Post Office is the distribution center for Gilford and Laconia, Quinn said. Steve Doherty, USPS communications specialist, said the internet age has not only transformed the way people purchase products, it has shifted their mail habits. That led Former Postmaster General Patrick Donahue to suggest eliminating Saturday deliveries as a cost-saving measure, estimating that it would save as much as $3 billion a year.”

Fawn Grove residents want their post office back

York Daily Record - “Some residents of Fawn Grove, population 456, are clamoring to get their post office back. The Fawn Grove Post Office, formerly located at 7 E. Main St. at the main crossroads of the small burg in southern York County, has been closed a year. It opened at that location, according to the U.S. Postal Service, in 1961. Council President Gordon McFadden said on Monday that he and others in the community began campaigning for a replacement post office soon after the one they had closed. "We tried for a long time," McFadden said. "And, finally we gave up. "Then, they (the USPS) contacted us. It was very pleasant to get that call." That call, McFadden said, came last week.”

Congressional Democrats Promise a ‘Better Deal’ for American Workers

The New York Times - “The Democratic Party wants to pick a fight with corporate America to win back Congress. The big ideas in the economic agenda that congressional Democrats unveiled on Monday, including a higher minimum wage and lower drug prices, are aimed at reclaiming the party’s populist mantle from President Trump. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the driving force behind this “Better Deal,” said that Mr. Trump won the presidency by promising to help working Americans, only to abandon them. The Democrats are now hoping to reclaim Congress by making a number of the same promises to the same people.”

Benefits cuts threaten hometown payrolls

Federal News Radio - ‘“All politics is local.”—Rep. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill (D.Mass.), the former speaker of the House of Representatives. If the above is true, various proposals to whack or eliminate retirement benefits for all federal and postal workers, as well as current and future retirees, are likely to hit a fatal speed bump later this year as House members, up for reelection next year, look at what the mind-boggling changes would mean to their home districts. Although billed as a GOP plan — either from the White House or the House itself — nine Republicans (along with more than 100 House Democrats) have already disassociated themselves from plans to make feds pay more for their retirement in return for small lifetime pensions or annuities.”

Wall Street’s Washington Friends Aim to Kill New Consumer Protection

The Huffington Post - “With the ink still wet on a new regulation to protect the little guy or gal against big financial predators, congressional Republicans are already moving to get rid of it. On July 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized a rule to prohibit banks, credit card companies, and other lenders that break the law from stripping customers of the right to hold them accountable in class action lawsuits. The regulation is in response to the “ripoff clauses” that financial firms often bury in the fine print of contracts, forcing consumers to seek redress for misconduct on their own through secret arbitration proceedings. Most people only learn about these clauses when they become the victim of illegal financial behavior.”

Santander's call-center workers bring union push to Washington

American Banker - “Call-center workers at Santander Consumer USA, concerned about what they deem aggressive collections tactics, are looking to unionize with the help of some big names on Capitol Hill. The group of employees, who are working with the Communications Workers of America, met with Democrats in both chambers of Congress this week to raise their concerns that the company encourages them to extend and modify financially stretched consumers' loans without explaining fully costs or risks — allegations the company says "misrepresent our work environment." The claims are laid out in a 25-page report authored by the AFL-CIO and the pro-labor non-profit National Employment Law Project that will be released publicly as soon as Friday.”

International solidarity has the power to reform the banking industry

UNI Global Union – Australia - “Financial workers from the United States and Australia are standing together to curb big banks’ abuses of employees and customers. Former Wells Fargo personal banker Kilian Colin recently travelled Down Under to help the Finance Sector Union’s (FSU) drive to reform the Australian banking industry. The union wants to expand protections in retail banking and eliminate unethical pay structures that do not put customers’ best interest first. The Wells Fargo example provided a cautionary tale.”