The National Newspaper Association, while meeting for its annual convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, called for Congress to renew its commitment to postal reform in light of a new report criticizing the Postal Service for steeply rising costs despite spotty service performance.
NNA president Matthew Adelman, publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget, said NNA members are concerned about a report from the USPS Inspector General that periodicals are not being delivered on time even though mail processing costs for overtime have risen 43% and delivery overtime costs have risen 26% in the past five years.
The report said that although periodicals delivery had improved somewhat over the past five years, on-time delivery has still never hit its target in that time period.
“The Postal Service is clearly a stressed organization. It is being pushed from all sides — falling mail volume, an expanding delivery network, rising labor costs and a new demand to deliver packages, which are more costly to handle. The Postmaster General has said the system will run out of cash in 2024. NNA is deeply worried that Congress has allowed other legislative priorities to push postal issues off the table, despite the warning signs coming from USPS.
“For newspapers, these stresses are doubly alarming. They tell us that subscribers are at risk of not receiving their papers on time, in an era where the internet promises instant delivery. But the internet does not produce sufficient revenues to support a newsroom, and most of our readers want the hard copy. We can see that pressure to increase postage rates is bound to come our way unless Congress acts and that USPS will continue to want to eliminate days of service, which is particularly worrisome in rural areas,” Adelman said.
“NNA has stood up repeatedly over the past decade and a half to ask Congress to address the Postal Service’s many issues. We have agreed in the past to increased postage rates so long as service is fixed; and we have taken many steps to make our mail as easy as possible to handle.
“But if the newspaper is not in the mailbox on time, both our business and the Postal Service’s mission are at serious risk. Congress must keep the health of our nation’s delivery system at the top of its priorities.”