United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Services (USPS) is also recognized as a self-regulating organization of the United States federal government that holds responsibility of rendering postal services in the U.S. The USPC, synonymously known as the Post Office and the U.S.Mail is amongst the renowned government agencies exclusively certified by the United States Constitution.

History

The history of United States Postal Services dates back to 1775 at some stage in Second Continental Congress which was headed by Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster general. Franklin’s functioning paved way for the inception of cabinet-level Post Office Department in 1792 that later turned to its present form of Postal Reorganization Act 1971.  

Current operations

With more than 574,000 workers employed with United States Postal Services, placing it as the third-largest national employer in the America after the federal government and Wal-Mart. The Supreme Court decision of 2006 claimed the United States Postal Service to transport nearly 660 million posts to 142 million residences.

The USPS has almost 31,000 post offices and several locations in the States to distribute nearly 177 billion posts per day. The USPS is known to possess the biggest vehicle convoy across the globe with 218,684 vehicles such as Chevrolet, Ford/Utilimaster FFV. To ease the job of drivers in delivering the posts to roadside mailboxes, the vehicles have right-hand drive. The Standard postal-owned vehicles are uniquely featured with a seven digit number on its rear and front instead of the cliché license plates.

The USPS has collaborated with the Defense Department to deliver military mails also known as Army Post Office. For marine military, USPS as Fleet Post Office.  

Budget

The year 2012 witnessed a whooping operational loss of $4.8 billion after 2011 and 2010.

Reduction in mail size

Although the First Class mail volume reached its peak in the year 2001, the advent of email and World Wide Web for business communication led to the consequences for 29% decline from 1998 to 2008. The emergence of FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) rose as opponents of UPSC contributing to further losses.

Internal reformation and deceleration of delivery

USPS accepted automation, route re-optimization and other facilities in 2000 to enhance productivity. However, the organization had to face deficit budget of $8.5 million in 2010 besides losing $3 billion per quarter in 2011.

Shutting post offices

In order to bear the losses, the USPS in 2011 shut down its 3700 small post offices. Upon protests by the Congress party, the Senate declared to keep USPS offices open with a distance of 10 miles each. 

Governance and Organization

The guidelines, modus operandi, the post rates and the responsibilities of the board of directors are defined by the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Services. The board consists of eleven members, of which the President has the authority to appoint nine backed up by the confirmation of the US Senate. These nine board members are then entitled with the responsibility of selecting United States Postmaster General who hold the post of the tenth member of the board.

The duty of the Postmaster General as Chief Executive Officer is to keep an eye on the day activities that take place. The Postmaster General then appoints the Deputy Postmaster General who is entitled with the post of Chief Operating Officer and by default occupies the eleventh position and final position of the board of members.

The self-regulating body of Postal Regulatory Commission is directly in-charged by the appointees of the President with confirmation from the Senate. This Commission holds the duty of managing postal rates and its allied matters whilst enjoying the attorney of approving or declining USPS schemes.

Law Enforcement Agencies

Postal Inspection Service

United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is amongst the ancient law enforcement agencies of the U.S established by Benjamin Franklin. The aim of USPIS is to guard the postal services, its employees and keep at bay crime in addition to shielding the U.S mail system from unlawful exercise. The USPIS has the authority to impose the USPS control by performing search and confiscating raids on companies that seem susceptible. The PIS takes care of the doings of the Postal Police Force who tour of duty around few risk-soaring areas in city areas.

Office of Inspector General

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) was established by law in 1996 prior to which it discharged the duty of Postal Inspection Service. This unit was set up with an aim to check, discover and report scam; and further effectiveness of Postal Service operations.

How delivery services work

The post cards are sorted according to the size and address after which they are transferred to Processing and Distribution Centers. From P&DC, the mails are dumped into Dual Pass Rough Cull System (DPRCS). The Advanced Facer-Canceller System (AFCS) passes overstuffed or large envelopes and are physically sorted and sent to parcel sorting machines.

Nearly 95% of pre-sorted letters arrive at the carrier route level, rest of which need manual sorting. These posts then reach the mail/general post office, post office station, post office branch, classified unit, contract postal unit, community post office, finance unit, village post office, processing and distribution center, sectional center facility, international center facility, international service center, a network distribution center, an auxiliary sorting facility and remote encoding center.

Financial services

In the present era, sending postal money orders is considered a safe option compared to sending cash via mail. An amount of upto $1000 can be sent through money order. Just like the bank cheque, the money order has to be received only by the recipient. The disadvantage of postal money order is that it cannot be returned due to insufficient funds. With the advent of PaylPal, PaidByCash companies, the USPS is facing a downfall.

Employment in the USPS

As of 2011, the USPS is the second largest employer in the United States employing more than 574,000 employees. The USPS is divided into offices, giving out units and authentic post offices. The USPS employs mail carriers, rural carriers, mail handlers and processors, clerks, maintenance and custodians and transitional employees.

Fiction

1. In the year 1947, a film named Miracle on 34th Street was made with a role of a delivery boy of USPO portrayed as “Santa Claus”.

2. The novel Post Office was written by Charles Bukowski as his semi-autobiography.

3. The Postman movie depicts the role of USPS.