In yesterday’s article recapping the EMA Spring Conference, I mentioned the Senate was debating postal reform legislation and promised to post an update as soon as possible. Yesterday afternoon the Senate passed its bipartisan postal reform measure S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, by a vote of 62-37.
The provisions of the 21st Century Postal Service Act include:
- allowing the Postal Service to offer voluntary separation incentives to retirement-eligible employees;
- restructuring pre-payments for retiree health benefits, allowing a 40-year amortization schedule;
- authorizing the Postal Service to enter negotiations with its unions to potentially develop a USPS health benefits plan separate from the plan in place for other federal employees;
- requiring the Postal Service to maintain a modified overnight delivery standard for First Class Mail for three years;
- establishing retail service standards;
- prohibiting the elimination of Saturday delivery for at least two years;
- allowing the Postal Service to offer some non-postal products and services.
Attention now moves to the House, to see whether it proceeds with its own primary bill (H.R. 2309, the Postal Reform Act, sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa and Dennis Ross) or choose to adopt/modify the Senate bill.
While more work needs to be done, this is certainly good news for the direct mail industry. Stay tuned for updates as this moves through the House.
- Kurt Ruppel
Marketing Services Manager