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Department & Division News

Mail Delivery Takes a Dramatic Dive

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Across the country, postal customers are complaining that they’re waiting longer for their mail. And while postal management dismisses the complaints as isolated, the numbers tell a different story.

First-class mail delivery for the first seven weeks of 2015 declined dramatically compared to the first seven weeks of 2014, according to an analysis by David Yao, vice president of the Greater Seattle Area Local.

Yao examined data from the External First-Class Mail Measurement System (EXFC), which calculates the time it takes first-class mail to reach its destination and compares the results to USPS service standards. Since 1990, the Postal Service has contracted an independent organization to measure performance based on a sampling of single-piece letters, cards and flats. Currently, testing is performed by IBM Corporation.

Double-Digit Declines

Overall there was a decline of more than 15 percent, with double-digit declines across all first-class service categories.

Combined EXFC for the first seven weeks of 2015 was 73.27 percent, compared to 88.86 percent for the same period in 2014 – a decrease of 15.59 percent. For 3-5 Day mail, EXFC plummeted 22.6 percent in the first seven weeks of 2015 to 58.87 percent, compared to 81.47 percent for the same period last year. For 2-day mail, EXFC dropped to 88.2 percent this year from 91.99 percent in the first seven weeks of last year. EXFC data for overnight mail could not be determined because the service was eliminated on Jan. 5, 2015, when management lowered service standards.

What was management’s reaction? The USPS filed a request with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to change the procedure. Instead of using a third-party, the Postal Service wants to measure performance itself.

Worse Than it Looks

The decline in service is actually much worse, however, because the EXFC scores for each year measured performance against the service standards that were in place at the time.

On Jan. 5, 2015, postal management lowered service standards, allowing more time for mail to reach its destination and still qualify as “on time.”

Despite these terrible results, the Postal Service is pushing ahead with plans to close and consolidate mail processing centers, which will devastate mail delivery throughout the country. The APWU is standing up and fighting back!