March Madness 2011
March is generally tagged with the subheading "March Madness" for the basketball playoffs. However, there are other factors including postal possibilities.
Just like typical weather for March where temperatures and snowstorms ride a roller coaster of ups and downs the Postal Service will be raising our hopes and bringing us down this month.
The President's budget raises hopes of deferring payouts to retiree health benefit funding and getting back some overpaid Civil Service retirement revenue. Congress and the axe they are using to slash budget items will probably bring that down again.
We know that prices will increase less than two percent in April but USPS was expected in court on March 15, 2011 to argue the exigent price increase request from last year. The exigent case was rejected by the Postal Regulatory Commission last October. The Postal Service has appealed that case, asked for and received an OK for an expedited hearing. To date there has been no news regarding the hearing or even if it took place as originally scheduled on March 15.
Where will this lead? While groups like the Affordable Mail Alliance will press forward with arguments to prevent this increase from happening, much of the case for appeal is based on legal definitions and on how the case was presented by the Postal Service. In its rejection of the case, the Postal Regulatory Commission alluded to the Postal Service having defined the need as exigent but did not accept the justification of immediate need. This is far from over.
How far the "madness" continues will also showcase whether or not the Postal Service begins its job reduction that may be as much as 80,000 to 100,000 employees through Voluntary Early Retirement and Reductions In Force (VER and RIF). We may be hearing more about this near the end of March.
You can also expect to see the announcement of the closing and consolidation of ten postal districts by the end of the month as well as confirmation of the closing and consolidation of at least six processing centers. District consolidations have the greatest impact on administrative personnel and control of operations while the processing centers will be physically moving mail to other facilities.
The economic uncertainties out there right now add fuel to the fire of finding postal financial stability as soon as possible. Stay tuned.
Ed Mayhew worked for the Postal Service for 37 years, becoming one of the most recognized experts on periodicals mail in the country. Ed was a part of the Rates and Classification Service Center (RCSC), ending his career as a Classification Specialist in the New Pricing and Classification Service Center in New York City. He has written rulings, instructions and articles for postal publications, appeared as an expert witness in court, a rebuttal witness for the Postal service at the Postal Rate Commission, co-authored postal handbooks and applications, and was the RCSC coordinator for six postage rate cases.
He is the 2002 winner of the Angelo R. Venizian award for contributions to the publishing industry, the first postal winner of that award in its history.
Ed has made training videos appearing on radio and TV, speaks at numerous seminars and is an 11-time top National Postal Forum speaker. He is founder and president of consultancy Eddie Mayhew’s Classification Station. Contact Ed at 973-462-5662, E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @eddiemclass.