The USPS is important to get people their mail, but mail form 2020 was just found in a facility.
The service is adding electric vehicles and making consolidations while dealing with increased inflation.
Mail-in ballots from 2020 found at Baltimore USPS
Some voters in Baltimore, Maryland just received their mail-in ballots from 2020. Now, the Baltimore City Board of Elections is now trying to understand how this happened. Mail-in ballots are supposed to be prioritized. However, a block of homes in Southeast Baltimore got theirs nearly two years after they were supposed to be delivered.
The postal service is reviewing their processes and procedures with all employees ahead of the general elections to ensure this doesn’t happen again. The Maryland State Board of Elections meets with USPS regularly to discuss any issues.
The deadline to request a ballot online or by mail is November 1, 2022.
USPS analysis on electric mail trucks is flawed
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that an analysis of the USPS electric mail trucks was “significantly flawed.” This analysis led to the USPS downplaying the environmental benefits of electric mail trucks. The postal service used the analysis to justify the decision not to make the entire fleet of next-generation mail trucks electric.
The researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a more rigorous study that found a much larger emissions reduction than the original analysis. A life-cycle assessment (LCA) was done by researchers. The LCA has a broader scope than the original USPS study. The original study only considered emissions from the actual use of the vehicles.
This debate started more than 18 months ago after USPS announced only 10% of vehicles would be electric. This led to environmental groups and a coalition of states to sue. Now, 50% of of the next-generation vehicles will be electric.
Disproportionately impacted by inflation
The USPS is disproportionately impacted by inflation. Much of this is because they have to make payments that private sector competitors can avoid. Some of these include, restrictions on its investments, requirements of its labor agreements and limits on its rate increases.
Annually, the USPS spends $82 million. Two-thirds of that goes towards labor costs. Nearly, three-quarters of its workforce receive cost-of-living adjustments twice per year. The pay increases are negotiated into the agency’s collective bargaining agreements. This means that it is separate from the annual wage increases employees receive, which are fixed.
The USPS is not immune from the increased fuel costs either. Trucking expenses spiked 13% in 2021. Overall, fuel costs have pushed transportation costs to record highs. The Postal Service does not purchase fuel for future use to hedge against potential spikes in prices.
More than 200 post offices and other U.S. Postal Service facilities will reduce their operations. This is because the USPS is looking to consolidate. The changes will mean that letter carriers no longer go to their local facility to pick up mail for their route. Rather, they will have to travel farther after picking up from the consolidated location. The post offices being impacted will still conduct their retail operations, but many of the back-end functions will be relocated.
Most post offices around the country operate as delivery units. This means that mail carriers go to them to pick up mail and packages for their routes before bringing them to homes and businesses.
The impacted sites are located in: Georgia, New York, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Kentucky, Washington, North Carolina, Indiana and Arkansas. Consolidations are expected to start as soon as next month.