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National Grange testifies on Proposed 5-day Mail Delivery
 

By Terri Fassio, CT State Grange

  AUGUST 4, 2010 --

National Grange President Ed Luttrell testified in front the the Postal Regulatory Commission on August 3, 2010. In his testimony, Luttrell addressed the potential impacts of proposals to allow the United States Postal Service to reduce scheduled mail delivery to fewer than six days a week.

With the U.S. Postal Service facing declining revenues and an outdated business model competing with the age of the internet, Postmaster General John E. Potter has proposed eliminating six-day-a-week delivery as part of a plan to keep the Postal Service viable for the next decade.

The plan to end Saturday mail delivery could negatively affect rural customers who live far from post offices and depend on letter carriers for government checks, prescription medicines, parts for farming equipment, weekly newspapers and more.

At the 143rd Annual Convention of the National Grange held last November in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grange delegates adopted the following policy regarding maintenance of six day mail delivery to farming, tribal and rural communities across the nation:

"The National Grange continues to support Rural Free Mail Delivery Service as an essential part of universal mail service. We support the continuation of rural Saturday mail delivery and all other mail services to rural areas."

Luttrell explained that delegates to the National Grange Annual Convention for the past 13 years have expressed their support for continuation of six-day mail delivery services to rural areas.

"Grassroots Grange members located in farming, tribal and rural communities across the nation have made clear to their state Grange and national Grange delegates, of their on going support for six-day mail delivery service to rural areas. During committee sessions at state Grange and National Grange conventions over the years, as well as during the various debates on the delegate floors of the state and National Grange conventions where this issue has been raised, the following concerns are most often raised to reflect the need for continued six day mail service to rural America."

There were four main points that Luttrell discussed at length in his testimony:

• While Broadband Internet Services and Wireless PDA Services are reshaping the communications landscape across the Nation, actively competing with some of the communications services provided by the Postal Service, a major digital divide still exists for many rural communities that do not have access to reliable cost effective High Speed Internet or PDA Services because of various reasons.

• Rural small businesses disproportionately rely on affordable and consistent six day postal Services as part of their business plans.

• Rural consumers rely on the Postal Service for delivery of discretionary as well as critical need products in a timely manner that only six-day service can provide.

• Reducing mail delivery service from six days to five will have a negative impact on the National trend to encourage and require greater mail voting and participation in elections and referendums.

Historically, National Grange has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Rural Free Mail Delivery Service, and has a long standing policy of support for it's impact within the universal mail system. Founded in 1867, today the Grange represents nearly 200,000 individual Grange members affiliated with 2600 local, county and state Grange chapters across the nation.

The Postal Regulatory Commission began hearings on July 12 addressing the matter. In addition to eliminating Saturday deliveries, proposed changes include shrinking the work force through attrition and the possibility of raising mail prices above the inflation rate.

The volume of mail has plummeted from 211 billion pieces in 2006 to 176 billion in 2009, and Potter projects it will decline to 150 billion by 2020, even though package deliveries are expected to rise slightly. First-class mail, the biggest source of revenue, is expected to drop by half over the next decade.

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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