It’s Not Just You: Late USPS Mail Delivery is Up Nearly 50%


[Image courtesy of unscatter]

The U.S. Postal Service has been in the blog a lot lately – first, the dispute about vote-by-mail (VBM) in Utah County (which they worked out!) and then the internal report recommending increased efforts to promote VBM (a recommendation the USPS will not follow, as electionlineWeekly found). Now, however, the USPS is back in the news … and it isn’t good.

The Associated Press has a new story revealing that service changes are resulting in a spike in delivery delays:

Amid a significant downsizing of the money-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the number of letters arriving late has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year.

And that’s as measured against the agency’s own newly relaxed standards.

The delays have become so serious that the Postal Service’s watchdog issued an urgent alert earlier this month recommending that postal officials put all further closures of mail-sorting plants on hold until service stabilizes.

“The impacts on customer service and employees have been considerable,” Inspector General Dave Williams wrote.

Mail that’s supposed to take two days to arrive took longer — anywhere from 6 to 15 percent of the time during the first six months of 2015, investigators found, a decline in service of almost 7 percent from the same period last year. Letters that should take three to five days took longer anywhere from 18 to 44 percent of the time, a 38 percent decline in performance over the same time last year.

Even worse, this rise in late deliveries is measured using a lower, slower standard than before:

First-class mail has gradually been traveling more slowly since the Postal Service started closing dozens of mail-sorting plants in 2012. But in January, something more drastic happened: To prepare for another round of plant closings, the agency eliminated overnight delivery for local first-class letters that used to arrive the next day. And up to half of mail traveling longer distances was given an extra day to reach its destination.

These longer delivery times became the new normal, or “service standards” in postal parlance. Mail was considered on time if it took four to five days to arrive instead of three.

But postal officials have struggled this year to meet even these lower standards. The delays have been compounded by two factors, the inspector general found: Severe storms last winter and changes to plant operations that started when the new standards took effect. Thousands of postal workers were reassigned and shifts were changed, resulting in a disorganized, inefficient workplace.

From January through June, 494 million pieces of mail did not meet the standard for local or cross-country delivery, a 48 percent jump from the same period last year, investigators found.

The Postal Service doesn’t agree with the moratorium on further changes, citing improving delivery stats and other circumstances like weather affecting transit time:

Service gradually has rebounded a little each month since January, with scores for both 2- and 3-day mail within .914 and 10.9 percent, in June of where they were during the same month last year. But the inspector general cautioned that mail still is not reliable.

Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer, in a statement, described the changes in January as the “greatest operational changes the Postal Service has ever implemented.

“Despite our best efforts to minimize the impacts of the changes, there were some insurmountable challenges that negatively affected service performance, especially when considering the impacts of severe winter weather conditions,” he wrote.

“We remain totally committed to identifying and correcting errant processes in our operations as early as possible.”

But the agency did not agree with the inspector general’s recommendation that plant closings stay on hold until service improves across the board. Postmaster General Megan Brennan has temporarily halted the closings; it’s unclear when they’ll resume.

Not surprisingly, Congress is hearing about the slow delivery and wants to do something about it, but isn’t sure what – especially since fixes will cost money:

Members of Congress are now hearing from angry constituents whose mail is taking longer to arrive. The House took a drastic step this spring, passing a measure that requires the Postal Service to return mail delivery standards to 2012 levels. It raised the possibility that some shuttered plants would have to reopen.

The Congressional Budget Office said the cost to turn back the clock was so high that it would be unrealistic. The Senate didn’t take up the bill.

Plant closures have long been a concern for postal unions, who fear a shrinking workforce. Two weeks ago, Brennan met with labor leaders as well as civil rights and consumer groups calling themselves “A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service,” and slow mail delivery was among the issues on the table.

After foundering in three Congresses, legislation to stabilize postal finances is still a possibility, congressional aides say. One of the key issues a bill is likely to address is how to make sure that as the post office cuts costs, it doesn’t shortchange its customers, particularly those in rural areas.

That’s the primary thrust of a bill sponsored by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who started a campaign last year called “Fix My Mail.” Hundreds of residents wrote to her complaining of late deliveries, nonexistent deliveries, mistakes with mail forwarding and short hours at post offices.

Heitkamp, joined by three senators with rural constituencies, introduced legislation this summer called the “Rural Postal Act.”

Its No. 1 requirement would be restoring service standards so mail reaches its destination faster.

The link between mail delivery problems and elections is abundantly clear: as jurisdictions rely more and more on mailed ballots and materials, USPS service issues can reduce the amount of time voters have to review the materials and/or create a problem for election officials when otherwise valid ballots arrive too late to be counted. More and more, I hear from election officials out there about how much time and effort (and worry) they invest in working with their local post office to ensure timely delivery of election materials, especially ballots. Moreover, it sounds like these efforts aren’t aimed at optimizing the relationship as much as they are developing stopgaps and double-checks in order to overcome declining performance. Soon, it may not just be overseas military and civilian ballots for whom slow delivery is a major cause of problems on and after Election Day.

The good news, as always, is that we have people like Tammy Patrick on the case – in large part, staying on the USPS’ case – but it’s huge problem that will require a comprehensive solution. As the number of ballots moving through the mail to and from voters increases, it’s a solution that can’t wait.

Stay tuned.


31 Comments on "It’s Not Just You: Late USPS Mail Delivery is Up Nearly 50%"

  1. people will not like this but here is the honest to God truth.

    I have been an adult who receives mail since the early 1980’s

    I used to know my mailman by his first name, knew when he would take vacation, give him a cash filled envelop at X-mas and offered him a soda or water on hot summer days.

    no serious problems until about the early 2000’s

    I noticed the white mail carriers were gone for the most part and replaced by minorities. Both as delivery people and behind the counters at the post office. Not only did the mail delivery get much much slower the bad attitudes towards the customers went up. This people act like they hate their job and you are bothering them when you ask them to perform their job.

    Hey USPS raise the starting salary, get rid of the CCA’s and hire more white people who have a work ethic and you will solve 90% of your problems.

    No time to be politically correct or BS around the bush. The USPS employees lazy, selfish, do nothing minorities that don’t want to do the work but want to collect a paycheck.

    It angers me that people have to suffer b/c of PC nonsense

    • fuck you you dumb ignorant sack of shit

      its not about hiring whites it’s about making hiring more strict in general so better people of any race can be hired

      you’re a braindead moron get your head out of your ass

    • Marcus Narcissistic | February 21, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Reply

      You are Absolutely right…& I’m a black male. Lol

    • That’s the biggest sack of shit I’ve heard, and this is coming from a white guy. How about this, my priority package I they decided to use USPS for over in California has taken 8 days so far and it just got within 100 miles of me. Do recall I pay the shipping cost on this crap, and it isn’t the firs time either. I ordered some batteries that go with my device and they also shipped out from CA with first class on the same day, still waiting. I can see why Amazon has been sending 90% of my shipments through UPS now. If you want the honest to god truth, the postal service has been slipping for a long time and I would recommend against using them for anything more than sending discs or envelopes. Thanks to them sucking so bad, UPS and Fedex are allowed to freely steamroll their shipping business. Eat shit, John. Maybe them colored folk and other minorities will go back where they done came frum. Don’t hold your breath.

  2. Way to butcher your point by stereotyping minorities. Absolutely bigoted and idiotic views.

  3. Michelle Cumberbund | November 22, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Reply

    Hey John, you are absolutely correct. Just look at other companies like McDonalds and their “all black” restaurants that have fallen to shit. Even Intel has had problems since they were instructed to start hiring loads more minorities, not for their talent mind you, but because they were minorities. And Tom, you can’t have “more strict” hiring without getting caught in the web of affirmative action bullshit. MAGA 2016!

    • Your racist thinking is giving me a headache. I dont think minorities are the problem. The real issue is ignorance. Based on your comment you seem to be a very racist and uneducated. I think people with your degree of hatred are a bigger problem than hiring minorities.

      • I agree. I’ve had some pretty ignorant White people serve my food and yet, I’ve never heard any complaints about that. It seems like people base anecdotal stories of unpleasant experiences they’ve had had with minorities as fact, rather than just some encounter with another human being.

  4. Xavier Jimenez | January 20, 2017 at 2:19 am | Reply

    I’m left speechless by the shameless racism expressed by Michelle and John. God help us.

  5. Marcus Narcissistic | February 21, 2017 at 11:12 pm | Reply

    Hey guys. Just wanted a explanation as to why the mail runs so late from time to time. But black people are Seriously bullshitting when it comes to getting things done right & on time. I’m a black male & love my brothers& sisters, but y’all niggas SUCK to do any type of business with. Period.

    • All I see is a self-hating black man. Why don’t you actually help your “brothers & sisters” instead of complainingn about them? Oh right, because you’re probably a racist hiding behind a screen who thinks the “As a black man…” argument still holds.

  6. Julius Nepos | March 13, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Reply

    Tried using USPS for check payments from FL to NC. It takes a full 2 weeks to deliver a 1st class envelope with a check! Will be looking more at other options like electronic payment even tho the banks charge hi fees with those systems. Snail Mail is collapsing!

  7. The truth hurts lol

  8. Michael Pierce | April 7, 2017 at 6:28 am | Reply

    Michelle Cumberbund and John Reils are correct. The deeper issue is, WHY is there a push for multiculturalism and hiring minorities? I urge all Whites to look into who is running our government (and most of the world) and what their plan is. Here’s a clue: ITS THE JEWS.

    Time to wake up Whitey, or face extinction. It’s going to get much worse than just slow mail.

  9. Michael Pierce | April 7, 2017 at 6:31 am | Reply

    “Also John” I have news for you, Black people can actually have the views expressed by Marcus Narcissistic. I recommend you look up Pastor David Manning for example. These people aren’t “self hating” they’re just honest about the state of their people.

    I worked at Denny’s when I was in college. All of the Black waitresses there told the manager to NOT give them Black customers because they didn’t tip for sh*t. I guess they were “self-hating” too huh?

  10. is not user friendly to report customer service/delivery complaints. The issue I reported was no delivery or pick up from my rural box on 11/13/17 and delivery at 8:50 PM on 11/15/17.

  11. this racist bullshit is absolutely disgusting. I search for information on figuring out mail delivery and I see you stupid racist shit right in the google result. What an enlightened and humane way to look at the world

  12. I mailed my daughter a letter two weeks ago from de to Vegas she has not got it yet

  13. I sent my daughter a letter from de to Vegas two weeks ago she did not get it yet

  14. Fuck all niggers white power! Don’t forget who lynched you coons and branded you as property

  15. Like most, My Bills normally come 2-3 weeks prior to the due date. Had thought the mailman might have put my Spectrum bill in someone elses mailbox because I never got it this month! The due date on the Cable bill was yesterday. It arrived in the mailbox today. After the past due date on the bill. Spectrum confirmed it was mailed over 3 weeks ago

  16. This was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally ? taking time and actual effort to make a very good article? but what can I say? I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.

  17. All I can say is about the mail is I hope Congress replaces it altogether and puts something else in it’s place…for right now and frankly for the last 5 years it has truly sucks!!. They screw up and loose bills even with sending Priority and a track no#, my business is suffering due to lack of smart people that cannot read the delivery addresses correctly and they ask than for more money from our Government? are you nuts?…if you do a good job I would say fine, but you keep on raising prices for mailing items and postal stuff and yet you do an even more crappy job…NO…I surly hope the USPS goes straight to the garbage can where they belong and we finally get a delivery service that works instead….

  18. I want to express my gratitude to this writer who writes very well and covers all the information on the topic. I have never read this information before. This is really an amazing topic which means a lot.

  19. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs every day. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Well described. Keep up the good writing.

  21. Thanks for getting me back into the reading again. I really enjoyed the stuff you shared in the form of blogs. Keep writing.

  22. Thanks for this really helpful article. I always wondered about Postal Service and USPS Mail, etc.

  23. I am fond of reading different blogs however I found your blog more interesting and valuable in terms of technical knowledge.

    Thanks for sharing useful blogs.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.