Congress takes action to help Postal Service – will it work?

If you’re like me, you have spent many hours over the last years fretting about our inadequate U.S. Postal Service.

I have no problem with the people working in my local post office. They are friendly, helpful and diligent. That’s the rank and file. When I ask for assistance from the “managers,” well, that’s a different story.

Example, just yesterday I received a package, delivered to my front door. It was a 12-by-12-inch box. It was lightweight and should not have been a problem, except it had a huge gash in it. Fortunately, it did not damage the contents, but I was not happy that it had been so terribly damaged.

When I went to the post office and asked to speak to the manager, I told him what happened and said I wanted to file a complaint. He told me they don’t know who handled the package.

I said I realized they don’t keep a list of everyone who handles a package, but surely each one was an employee of the USPS and the post office is responsible for the damage.

Clearly, he was not willing to accept my complaint or deal with the issue. He took the damaged box and said he would take a picture of it.

Only problem, after that, he disappeared and, in fact, left the building!

So much for my formal complaint.

I haven’t been back since, but I’m not done with my complaint – for whatever it’s worth to the Postal Service.

Awhile back, I experienced the reality that my bill payments were not being delivered to the companies they were addressed to – utilities, etc. I realized it when I was notified that I was past due in payments, even though I had mailed checks. For whatever reason, those checks never arrived, were never cashed, and I had to deal with each utility separately.

In this case, the post office looked at me and essentially said. “Huh?” They took no responsibility for the errors. 
 Ever since, for every piece of mail I send, I do so with a “proof of mailing,” which means I am paying nearly three times the cost of postage for each letter.

But at least I have proof that I did mail the letter and paid the bill on time!

It was interesting to note that last week, Congress passed legislation that is supposed to ensure six-day a week delivery, except for federal holidays and natural disasters. It’s also set to correct other delivery problems the service endures.

Last month, the House approved the Postal Service Reform Act by a vote of 342-92, with all Democrats and most Republicans voting in favor. On Tuesday of last week, the Senate sent the measure to the president on a 79-19 vote.

One of the areas that has hit the Postal Service especially hard is the decline in postage sales and other services – reported to be 14 straight years of losses. Add to that the decline in mail volume as well as the increased costs of workers compensation and benefits. The growing red ink has been hard to deal with.

The bill ends a requirement that the Postal Service finances workers’ health care benefits ahead of time for the next 75 years. This is a requirement that other federal agencies and private companies do not face.

Instead, future retirees will enroll in Medicare and pay current actual health care costs that aren’t covered by the federal health insurance program for older people.

The chief architect of the bill is Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who said the new bill is not a bailout nor is there any new funding to go to the agency.

His bottom line is: “We need to save our postal service.”

Portman is fully aware of the widespread criticism of the post office after the last presidential election. The increase in mail-in voting has raised the issue of proper delivery of ballots – both the blank ballots and the ones that are completed by voters and need to be returned in a timely fashion.

At that time, there were delays in delivery and there were, in fact, cut-backs in service. Add to that the problems later with the COVID-19 crisis and the Postal Service felt the full brunt of customer complaints.

Those issues have been dealt with, and it’s hoped that this new legislation and the way it will be carried out, will mean smoother service for customers – both with incoming and outgoing letters and parcels.

As a long-time customer and one who does use the service weekly for mail deliveries, I look forward to more efficient service. My only final hope is for there to be a reduction of JUNK MAIL!

I realize that the system makes money on this junk, but I am inundated with it, and there seems to be no way to cut it down or eliminate it. I’ve tried the cut-off suggestions, but they don’t work. They never seem to change their mailing lists.

Ages ago, I made the mistake of donating to a couple of charities, and from that came the deluge! Now, I hate all of them, but it’s too late. I’m on their list, and the good ol’ post office is doing its job, delivering every letter and calendar to me. Consider, last year, I got 350 free calendars in the mail!

I can’t win!

Follow Barbara Simpson on Facebook.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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