United States Postal Service

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"United States Post Office" redirects here. United States Postal Service_sentence_0

For individual post offices, see List of United States Post Offices. United States Postal Service_sentence_1

"USPS" redirects here. United States Postal Service_sentence_2

For the non-profit boating safety and education organization, see United States Power Squadrons. United States Postal Service_sentence_3

United States Postal Service_table_infobox_0

United States Postal ServiceUnited States Postal Service_table_caption_0
Agency overviewUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_0_0
FormedUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_1_0 July 1, 1971; 49 years ago (1971-07-01)

Washington, D.C., U.S.United States Postal Service_cell_0_1_1

TypeUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_2_0 IndependentUnited States Postal Service_cell_0_2_1
HeadquartersUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_3_0 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW

Washington, D.C. 20260-0004 U.S.United States Postal Service_cell_0_3_1

EmployeesUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_4_0 633,108 (496,934 career personnel, 136,174 non-career personnel) as of 2019United States Postal Service_cell_0_4_1
Agency executivesUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_5_0 United States Postal Service_cell_0_5_1
Key documentUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_6_0 United States Postal Service_cell_0_6_1
WebsiteUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_7_0 United States Postal Service_cell_0_7_1
Revenue (2019) US$71.1 billion

Net income (loss) (2019) −US$8.81 billionUnited States Postal Service_header_cell_0_8_0

Revenue (2019)United States Postal Service_header_cell_0_9_0 US$71.1 billionUnited States Postal Service_cell_0_9_1
Net income (loss) (2019)United States Postal Service_header_cell_0_10_0 −US$8.81 billionUnited States Postal Service_cell_0_10_1

The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas and associated states. United States Postal Service_sentence_4

It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. United States Postal Service_sentence_5

The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. United States Postal Service_sentence_6

The Post Office Department was created in 1792 with the passage of the Postal Service Act. United States Postal Service_sentence_7

It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 into the United States Postal Service as an independent agency. United States Postal Service_sentence_8

Since the early 1980s, many direct tax subsidies to the USPS (with the exception of subsidies for costs associated with disabled and overseas voters) have been reduced or eliminated. United States Postal Service_sentence_9

The USPS, as of 2019, has 469,934 career employees and 136,174 non-career employees. United States Postal Service_sentence_10

The Postal Service is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. United States Postal Service_sentence_11

The Post Office has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States, but has to compete against private package delivery services, such as United Parcel Service, FedEx, and Amazon. United States Postal Service_sentence_12

History United States Postal Service_section_0

Further information: United States Post Office Department and Postage stamps and postal history of the United States United States Postal Service_sentence_13

On March 18, 1970, postal workers in New York City—upset over low wages and poor working conditions, and emboldened by the Civil Rights Movement—organized a strike against the United States government. United States Postal Service_sentence_14

The strike initially involved postal workers in only New York City, but it eventually gained support of over 210,000 United States Post Office Department workers across the nation. United States Postal Service_sentence_15

While the strike ended without any concessions from the Federal government, it did ultimately allow for postal worker unions and the government to negotiate a contract which gave the unions most of what they wanted, as well as the signing of the Postal Reorganization Act by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970. United States Postal Service_sentence_16

The act replaced the cabinet-level Post Office Department with a new federal agency, the United States Postal Service, and took effect on July 1, 1971. United States Postal Service_sentence_17

Since the 1990s, Republicans have been discussing the idea of privatizing the U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_18

Postal Service. United States Postal Service_sentence_19

The Donald Trump administration proposed turning USPS into "a private postal operator" as part of a June 2018 governmental reorganization plan, although there was strong bipartisan opposition to the idea in Congress. United States Postal Service_sentence_20

In 2020, operational policy changes implemented by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy precipitated the 2020 United States Postal Service crisis. United States Postal Service_sentence_21

Current operations United States Postal Service_section_1

See also: 2020 United States Postal Service crisis United States Postal Service_sentence_22

In a 2006 U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_23 Supreme Court decision, the Court noted: "Each day, according to the Government's submissions here, the United States Postal Service delivers some 660 million pieces of mail to as many as 142 million delivery points." United States Postal Service_sentence_24

As of 2017, the USPS operates 30,825 post offices and locations in the U.S., and delivers 149.5 billion pieces of mail annually. United States Postal Service_sentence_25

The USPS operates one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world, with an estimated 227,896 vehicles, the majority of which are the easily identified Chevrolet/Grumman LLV (long-life vehicle), and the newer Ford/Utilimaster FFV (flex-fuel vehicle), originally also referred to as the CRV (carrier route vehicle). United States Postal Service_sentence_26

Made from 1987 to 1994 and with no air conditioning, no airbags, no anti-lock brakes, and lacking space for the large modern volume of e-commerce packages, the Grumman fleet ended its expected lifespan in fiscal year 2017. United States Postal Service_sentence_27

The replacement process began in 2015, and prototypes have been produced by various bidders, but due to delays as of May 2020, a final contract for replacement trucks has not been awarded. United States Postal Service_sentence_28

It is by geography and volume the globe's largest postal system, delivering 47% of the world's mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_29

For every penny increase in the national average price of gasoline, the USPS spends an extra US$8 million per year to fuel its fleet. United States Postal Service_sentence_30

The number of gallons of fuel used in 2009 was 444 million, at a cost of US$1.1 billion. United States Postal Service_sentence_31

The fleet is notable in that many of its vehicles are right-hand drive, an arrangement intended to give drivers the easiest access to roadside mailboxes. United States Postal Service_sentence_32

Some rural letter carriers use personal vehicles. United States Postal Service_sentence_33

All contractors use personal vehicles. United States Postal Service_sentence_34

Standard postal-owned vehicles do not have license plates. United States Postal Service_sentence_35

These vehicles are identified by a seven-digit number displayed on the front and rear. United States Postal Service_sentence_36

The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system to deliver mail for the military; this is known as the Army Post Office (for Army and Air Force postal facilities) and the Fleet Post Office (for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard postal facilities). United States Postal Service_sentence_37

In February 2013, the Postal Service announced that on Saturdays it would only deliver packages, mail-order medicines, Priority Mail, and Express Mail, effective August 10, 2013. United States Postal Service_sentence_38

However, this change was reversed by federal law in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013. United States Postal Service_sentence_39

They now deliver packages on Sunday—only for Amazon.com — meaning that carriers make parcel deliveries seven days a week. United States Postal Service_sentence_40

During the four weeks preceding Christmas since 2013, packages from all mail classes and senders were delivered on Sunday in some areas. United States Postal Service_sentence_41

Parcels are also delivered on holidays, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas. United States Postal Service_sentence_42

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the USPS with the agency delivering an estimated 900 million packages during the period of 2018. United States Postal Service_sentence_43

In May 2019, the Postal Service announced that it will be releasing a pilot of self-driving trucks to haul mail across the U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_44

The 18-wheelers were developed by startup company, TuSimple. United States Postal Service_sentence_45

The pilot will last two weeks, making five total round trips to cities across the country. United States Postal Service_sentence_46

In early May 2020, the USPS's board of governors confirmed that Louis DeJoy would be the new postmaster general. United States Postal Service_sentence_47

Operation and budget United States Postal Service_section_2

In 2016, the Postal Service collected $71.5 billion in revenue. United States Postal Service_sentence_48

Revenue decline and planned cuts United States Postal Service_section_3

In 2016, the USPS had its fifth straight annual operating loss, in the amount of $5.6 billion, of which $5.8 billion was the accrual of unpaid mandatory retiree health payments. United States Postal Service_sentence_49

Declining mail volume United States Postal Service_section_4

First-class mail volume peaked in 2001, declining by 43% as of 2017 due to the increasing use of email and the World Wide Web for correspondence and business transactions. United States Postal Service_sentence_50

Private courier services, such as FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS), directly compete with USPS for the delivery of urgent letters and packages. United States Postal Service_sentence_51

Lower volume means lower revenues to support the fixed commitment to deliver to every address once a day, six days a week. United States Postal Service_sentence_52

According to an official report on November 15, 2012, the U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_53

Postal Service lost $15.9 billion its 2012 fiscal year. United States Postal Service_sentence_54

Internal streamlining and delivery slowdown United States Postal Service_section_5

In response, the USPS has increased productivity each year from 2000 to 2007, through increased automation, route re-optimization, and facility consolidation. United States Postal Service_sentence_55

Despite these efforts, the organization saw an $8.5 billion budget shortfall in 2010, and was losing money at a rate of about $3 billion per quarter in 2011. United States Postal Service_sentence_56

On December 5, 2011, the USPS announced it would close more than half of its mail processing centers, eliminate 28,000 jobs and reduce overnight delivery of First-Class Mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_57

This will close down 252 of its 461 processing centers. United States Postal Service_sentence_58

(At peak mail volume in 2006, the USPS operated 673 facilities.) United States Postal Service_sentence_59

As of May 2012, the plan was to start the first round of consolidation in summer 2012, pause from September to December, and begin a second round in February 2014; 80% of first-class mail would still be delivered overnight through the end of 2013. United States Postal Service_sentence_60

New delivery standards were issued in January 2015, and the majority of single-piece (not presorted) first-class mail is now being delivered in two days instead of one. United States Postal Service_sentence_61

Large commercial mailers can still have first-class mail delivered overnight if delivered directly to a processing center in the early morning, though as of 2014 this represented only 11% of first-class mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_62

Unsorted first-class mail will continue to be delivered anywhere in the contiguous United States within three days. United States Postal Service_sentence_63

Post office closures United States Postal Service_section_6

In July 2011, the USPS announced a plan to close about 3,700 small post offices. United States Postal Service_sentence_64

Various representatives in Congress protested, and the Senate passed a bill that would have kept open all post offices farther than 10 miles (16 km) from the next office. United States Postal Service_sentence_65

In May 2012, the service announced it had modified its plan. United States Postal Service_sentence_66

Instead, rural post offices would remain open with reduced retail hours (some as little as two hours per day) unless there was a community preference for a different option. United States Postal Service_sentence_67

In a survey of rural customers, 54% preferred the new plan of retaining rural post offices with reduced hours, 20% preferred the "Village Post Office" replacement (where a nearby private retail store would provide basic mail services with expanded hours), 15% preferred merger with another Post Office, and 11% preferred expanded rural delivery services. United States Postal Service_sentence_68

Approximately 40% of postal revenue already comes from online purchases or private retail partners including Walmart, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, Sam's Club, Costco, and grocery stores. United States Postal Service_sentence_69

The National Labor Relations Board agreed to hear the American Postal Workers Union's arguments that these counters should be manned by postal employees who earn far more and have "a generous package of health and retirement benefits". United States Postal Service_sentence_70

Elimination of Saturday delivery averted United States Postal Service_section_7

On January 28, 2009, Postmaster General John E. Potter testified before the Senate that, if the Postal Service could not readjust its payment toward the contractually funding earned employee retiree health benefits, as mandated by the Postal Accountability & Enhancement Act of 2006, the USPS would be forced to consider cutting delivery to five days per week during June, July, and August. United States Postal Service_sentence_71

H.R. 22, addressing this issue, passed the House of Representatives and Senate and was signed into law on September 30, 2009. United States Postal Service_sentence_72

However, Postmaster General Potter continued to advance plans to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. United States Postal Service_sentence_73

On June 10, 2009, the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA) was contacted for its input on the USPS's current study of the effect of five-day delivery along with developing an implementation plan for a five-day service plan. United States Postal Service_sentence_74

A team of Postal Service headquarters executives and staff has been given a time frame of sixty days to complete the study. United States Postal Service_sentence_75

The current concept examines the effect of five-day delivery with no business or collections on Saturday, with Post Offices with current Saturday hours remaining open. United States Postal Service_sentence_76

On Thursday, April 15, 2010, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing to examine the status of the Postal Service and recent reports on short and long-term strategies for the financial viability and stability of the USPS entitled "Continuing to Deliver: An Examination of the Postal Service's Current Financial Crisis and its Future Viability". United States Postal Service_sentence_77

At which, PMG Potter testified that by the year 2020, the USPS cumulative losses could exceed $238 billion, and that mail volume could drop 15 percent from 2009. United States Postal Service_sentence_78

In February 2013, the USPS announced that in order to save about $2 billion per year, Saturday delivery service would be discontinued except for packages, mail-order medicines, Priority Mail, Express Mail, and mail delivered to Post Office boxes, beginning August 10, 2013. United States Postal Service_sentence_79

However, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, passed in March, reversed the cuts to Saturday delivery. United States Postal Service_sentence_80

Retirement funding and payment defaults United States Postal Service_section_8

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) obligates the USPS to fund the present value of earned retirement obligations (essentially past promises which have not yet come due) within a ten-year time span. United States Postal Service_sentence_81

In contrast, private businesses in the United States have no legal obligation to pay for retirement costs at promise-time rather than retirement-time, but about one quarter do. United States Postal Service_sentence_82

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the main bureaucratic organization responsible for the human resources aspect of many federal agencies and their employees. United States Postal Service_sentence_83

The PAEA created the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund (PSRHB) after Congress removed the Postal Service contribution to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). United States Postal Service_sentence_84

Most other employees that contribute to the CSRS have 7% deducted from their wages. United States Postal Service_sentence_85

Currently all new employees contribute into Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) once they become a full-time regular employees. United States Postal Service_sentence_86

On September 30, 2014, the USPS failed to make a $5.7 billion payment on this debt, the fourth such default. United States Postal Service_sentence_87

On February 5, 2020, the House passed The USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 2382) with 309 Yeas and 106 Nays meeting the 2/3rd rule. United States Postal Service_sentence_88

The measure eliminates the requirement going forward and forgives all payments on which USPS has defaulted. United States Postal Service_sentence_89

It was moved to the Senate on February 10, 2020 and is awaiting action by senators. United States Postal Service_sentence_90

Rate increases United States Postal Service_section_9

Congress has limited rate increases for First-Class Mail to the cost of inflation, unless approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. United States Postal Service_sentence_91

A three-cent surcharge above inflation increased the 1 oz (28 g) rate to 49¢ in January 2014, but this was approved by the commission for two years only. United States Postal Service_sentence_92

As of January 2019, first-class postage for up to 1 ounce is $0.55. United States Postal Service_sentence_93

Reform proposals and delivery changes United States Postal Service_section_10

Comprehensive reform packages considered in the 113th Congress include S.1486 and H.R.2748. United States Postal Service_sentence_94

These include the efficiency measure, supported by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe of ending door-to-door delivery of mail for some or most of the 35 million addresses that currently receive it, replacing that with either curbside boxes or nearby "cluster boxes". United States Postal Service_sentence_95

This would save $4.5 billion per year out of the $30 billion delivery budget; door-to-door city delivery costs annually on average $353 per stop, curbside $224, and cluster box $160 (and for rural delivery, $278, $176, and $126, respectively). United States Postal Service_sentence_96

S.1486, also with the support of Postmaster Donahoe, would also allow the USPS to ship alcohol in compliance with state law, from manufacturers to recipients with ID to show they are over 21. United States Postal Service_sentence_97

This is projected to raise approximately $50 million per year. United States Postal Service_sentence_98

(Shipping alcoholic beverages is currently illegal under 18 U.S.C. (f).) United States Postal Service_sentence_99

In 2014, the Postal Service was requesting reforms to workers' compensation, moving from a pension to defined contribution retirement savings plan, and paying senior retiree health care costs out of Medicare funds, as is done for private-sector workers. United States Postal Service_sentence_100

As part of a June 2018 governmental reorganization plan, the Donald Trump administration proposed turning USPS into "a private postal operator" which could save costs through measures like delivering mail fewer days per week, or delivering to central locations instead of door to door. United States Postal Service_sentence_101

There was strong bipartisan opposition to the idea in Congress. United States Postal Service_sentence_102

In April 2020 Congress approved a $10 billion loan from the Treasury to the post office. United States Postal Service_sentence_103

According to the Washington Post, officials under Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested using the loan as leverage to give the Treasury Department more influence on USPS operations, including making them raise their charges for package deliveries, a change long sought by President Trump. United States Postal Service_sentence_104

In May 2020 Louis DeJoy was appointed Postmaster General and immediately began taking measures to reduce costs, such as banning overtime and extra trips to deliver mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_105

While DeJoy admitted that these measures were causing delays in mail delivery, he said they would eventually improve service. United States Postal Service_sentence_106

More than 600 high-speed mail sorting machines were scheduled to be dismantled and removed from postal facilities, raising concerns that mailed ballots for the November 3 election might not reach election offices on time. United States Postal Service_sentence_107

Mail collection boxes were removed from the streets in many cities; after photos of boxes being removed were spread on social media, a postal service spokesman said they were being moved to higher traffic areas but that the removals would stop until after the election. United States Postal Service_sentence_108

The inspector general for the postal service opened an investigation into the recent changes. United States Postal Service_sentence_109

On August 16 the House of Representatives was called back from its summer recess to consider a bill rolling back all of the changes. United States Postal Service_sentence_110

On August 18 - after days of heavy criticism, and the day after lawsuits against the Postal Service and DeJoy personally were filed in federal court by several individuals - DeJoy announced that he would roll back all the changes until after the November election. United States Postal Service_sentence_111

He said he would reinstate overtime hours, roll back service reductions, and halt the removal of mail-sorting machines and collection boxes. United States Postal Service_sentence_112

However, 95 percent of the mail sorting machines that were planned for removal have already been removed, and according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DeJoy said he has no intention of replacing them or the mail collection boxes. United States Postal Service_sentence_113

Coronavirus pandemic and voting by mail United States Postal Service_section_11

See also: 2020 United States Postal Service crisis United States Postal Service_sentence_114

Voting by mail has become an increasingly common practice in the United States, with 25% of voters nationwide mailing their ballots in 2016 and 2018. United States Postal Service_sentence_115

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has been predicted to cause a large increase in mail voting because of the possible danger of congregating at polling places. United States Postal Service_sentence_116

For the 2020 election, a state-by-state analysis concluded that 76% of Americans are eligible to vote by mail in 2020, a record number. United States Postal Service_sentence_117

The analysis predicted that 80 million ballots could be cast by mail in 2020 - more than double the number in 2016. United States Postal Service_sentence_118

The Postal Service sent a letter to 46 states in July 2020, warning that the service might not be able to meet the state's deadlines for requesting and casting last-minute absentee ballots. United States Postal Service_sentence_119

The House of Representatives voted to include an emergency grant of $25 billion to the post office to facilitate the predicted flood of mail ballots. United States Postal Service_sentence_120

Trump conceded that the post office would need additional funds to handle the additional mail-in voting, but said he would oppose any additional funding so that "universal mail-in voting" would not be possible. United States Postal Service_sentence_121

On August 14, 2020, President Trump says he's willing to approve USPS funding if concessions are made to some funding asks in coronavirus relief package. United States Postal Service_sentence_122

Governance and organization United States Postal Service_section_12

The Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service sets policy, procedure, and postal rates for services rendered. United States Postal Service_sentence_123

It has a similar role to a corporate board of directors. United States Postal Service_sentence_124

Of the eleven members of the Board, nine are appointed by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate (see 39 U.S.C. ). United States Postal Service_sentence_125

The nine appointed members then select the United States postmaster general, who serves as the board's tenth member, and who oversees the day-to-day activities of the service as chief executive officer (see 39 U.S.C. –). United States Postal Service_sentence_126

The ten-member board then nominates a deputy postmaster general, who acts as chief operating officer, to the eleventh and last remaining open seat. United States Postal Service_sentence_127

The independent Postal Regulatory Commission (formerly the Postal Rate Commission) is also controlled by appointees of the president confirmed by the Senate. United States Postal Service_sentence_128

It oversees postal rates and related concerns, having the authority to approve or reject USPS proposals. United States Postal Service_sentence_129

The USPS is often mistaken for a state-owned enterprise or government-owned corporation (e.g., Amtrak) because it operates much like a business. United States Postal Service_sentence_130

It is, however, an "establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States", (39 U.S.C. ) as it is controlled by presidential appointees and the postmaster general. United States Postal Service_sentence_131

As a government agency, it has many special privileges, including sovereign immunity, eminent domain powers, powers to negotiate postal treaties with foreign nations, and an exclusive legal right to deliver first-class and third-class mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_132

Indeed, in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision “The Postal Service is not subject to antitrust liability. United States Postal Service_sentence_133

In both form and function, it is not a separate antitrust person from the United States but is part of the Government, and so is not controlled by the antitrust laws.” Sherman Antitrust Act. United States Postal Service_sentence_134

Unlike a state-owned enterprise, the USPS lacks a transparent ownership structure and isn't subject to standard rules and norms that apply to commercial entities. United States Postal Service_sentence_135

The USPS also lacks commercial discretion and control. United States Postal Service_sentence_136

The U.S. Supreme Court has also upheld the USPS's statutory monopoly on access to letter boxes against a First Amendment freedom of speech challenge; it thus remains illegal in the U.S. for anyone, other than the employees and agents of the USPS, to deliver mailpieces to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail". United States Postal Service_sentence_137

The Postal Service also has a Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee and local Postal Customer Councils, which are advisory and primarily involve business customers. United States Postal Service_sentence_138

Privatization proposals United States Postal Service_section_13

On December 17, 2017, President Donald Trump criticized the postal service's relationship with Amazon. United States Postal Service_sentence_139

In a post on Twitter, he stated: "Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? United States Postal Service_sentence_140

Should be charging MUCH MORE!" United States Postal Service_sentence_141

Amazon maintains that the Postal Service makes a profit from its contract with the company. United States Postal Service_sentence_142

On June 21, 2018, Trump proposed a sweeping government reorganization that would sharpen the focus on workforce training, consolidate government-assistance programs and shrink federal agencies. United States Postal Service_sentence_143

As part of this proposal, he recommended restructuring the postal service with an eye toward privatization. United States Postal Service_sentence_144

According to his proposal, privatization would cut costs and give the financially burdened agency greater flexibility in adjusting to the digital age. United States Postal Service_sentence_145

Lisa Graves documented decades-long efforts to privatize the U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_146

Postal Service through driving the public service to financial collapse in her brief that was published by ITPI, In The Public Interest. United States Postal Service_sentence_147

There are other ideas, such as for USPS to create an email service to serve the public and to bring it into the digital age. United States Postal Service_sentence_148

Universal service obligation and monopoly status United States Postal Service_section_14

Law enforcement agencies United States Postal Service_section_15

Under the Mail Cover Program USPS photographs the front and back of every piece of U.S. mail as part of the sorting process, enabling law enforcement to obtain address information and images of the outsides of mail as part of an investigation without the need for a warrant. United States Postal Service_sentence_149

Postal Inspection Service United States Postal Service_section_16

The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_150

Founded by Benjamin Franklin on August 7, 1775, its mission is to protect the Postal Service, its employees, and its customers from crime and protect the nation's mail system from criminal misuse. United States Postal Service_sentence_151

Postal Inspectors enforce over 200 federal laws providing for the protection of mail in investigations of crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S. Mail, the postal system or postal employees. United States Postal Service_sentence_152

The USPIS has the power to enforce the USPS monopoly by conducting search and seizure raids on entities they suspect of sending non-urgent mail through overnight delivery competitors. United States Postal Service_sentence_153

According to the American Enterprise Institute, a private conservative think tank, the USPIS raided Equifax offices in 1993 to ascertain if the mail they were sending through Federal Express was truly "extremely urgent". United States Postal Service_sentence_154

It was found that the mail was not, and Equifax was fined $30,000. United States Postal Service_sentence_155

The PIS oversees the activities of the Postal Police Force who patrol and secure major postal facilities in the United States. United States Postal Service_sentence_156

Office of Inspector General United States Postal Service_section_17

The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) was authorized by law in 1996. United States Postal Service_sentence_157

Prior to the 1996 legislation, the Postal Inspection Service performed the duties of the OIG. United States Postal Service_sentence_158

The inspector general, who is independent of postal management, is appointed by and reports directly to the nine presidentially appointed, Senateconfirmed members of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service. United States Postal Service_sentence_159

The primary purpose of the OIG is to prevent, detect and report fraud, waste and program abuse, and promote efficiency in the operations of the Postal Service. United States Postal Service_sentence_160

The OIG has "oversight" responsibility for all activities of the Postal Inspection Service. United States Postal Service_sentence_161

How delivery services work United States Postal Service_section_18

Elements of addressing and preparing domestic mail United States Postal Service_section_19

See also: Address (geography) § United States United States Postal Service_sentence_162

All mailable articles (e.g., letters, flats, machinable parcels, irregular parcels, etc.) shipped within the United States must comply with an array of standards published in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). United States Postal Service_sentence_163

Before addressing the mailpiece, one must first comply with the various mailability standards relating to attributes of the actual mailpiece such as: minimum/maximum dimensions and weight, acceptable mailing containers, proper mailpiece sealing/closure, utilization of various markings, and restrictions relating to various hazardous (e.g., explosives, flammables, etc.) and restricted (e.g., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, etc.) materials, as well as others articulated in § 601 of the DMM. United States Postal Service_sentence_164

The USPS specifies the following key elements when preparing the face of a mailpiece: United States Postal Service_sentence_165

United States Postal Service_ordered_list_0

  1. Proper Placement: The Delivery Address should be left-justified and located roughly in the center of mailpiece's largest side. More precisely, on a letter-size piece, the recommended address placement is within the optical character reader (OCR) read area, which is a space on the address side of the mailpiece defined by these boundaries: Left – 1/2 inch (13 mm) from the left edge of the piece; Right – 1/2 inch (13 mm) from the right edge of the piece; Top – 2-3/4 inches (70 mm) from the bottom edge of the piece; Bottom – 5/8 inch (16 mm) from the bottom edge of the piece. Preferred placement of a return address is in the upper left portion of the mailpiece—on the side of the piece bearing postage. Finally, postage (e.g., stamps, meter imprints, information-based indicia [IBI], etc.) is to be affixed in the upper right corner of the address side of the mail cover. Any stamp/indicia partly concealed or otherwise obscured by an overlapping stamp/indicia may not be counted as valid postage.United States Postal Service_item_0_0
  2. Delivery Address (party receiving mail): The mail piece must have the address of the intended recipient, visible and legible, only on the side of the mail piece bearing postage. Generally, the name of the addressee should be included above the address itself. A ZIP+4 code will facilitate delivery.United States Postal Service_item_0_1
  3. Return Address (party sending mail): A return address tells the USPS where the sender wants the mail returned if it is undeliverable. Usage of a return address is required for some postal services (including Priority Mail, Express Mail, Periodicals in envelopes or wrappers, Insured Mail, Registered Mail, and parcel services).United States Postal Service_item_0_2
  4. Postage Payment: All mailpieces must include appropriate valid postage. Postage payment may be in the form of stamps, stamped stationery, precanceled stamps, postage meter imprints & PC Postage products ("Postage Evidencing Systems"), or permit imprint (indicia). Members of the U.S. Congress, among others, have franking privileges, which require only a signature.United States Postal Service_item_0_3

Domestic First-Class Mail costs 55¢ for envelopes (35¢ for post cards) and upwards, depending on the weight and dimensions of the letter and the class. United States Postal Service_sentence_166

Mail going to naval vessels is known as the Fleet Post Office (FPO) and to Army or Air Force installations use the city abbreviation APO (Army Post Office or Air Force Post Office). United States Postal Service_sentence_167

Undeliverable mail that cannot be readily returned, including mail without a return address, is treated as dead mail at a Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia or Saint Paul, Minnesota. United States Postal Service_sentence_168

United States Postal Service_description_list_1

  • The format of the address is as follows: Line 1: Name of recipientUnited States Postal Service_item_1_4
  • Line 2: Street address or P.O. BoxUnited States Postal Service_item_1_5
  • Line 3: City, State (ISO 3166-2:US code or APO/FPO code) and ZIP+4 codeUnited States Postal Service_item_1_6

United States Postal Service_description_list_2

  • Example: Clifford ClavinUnited States Postal Service_item_2_7
  • 84 Beacon StreetUnited States Postal Service_item_2_8
  • Boston MA 02108-3496United States Postal Service_item_2_9

The USPS maintains a list of proper abbreviations. United States Postal Service_sentence_169

The format of a return address is similar. United States Postal Service_sentence_170

Though some style manuals recommend using a comma between the city and state name when typesetting addresses in other contexts, for optimal automatic character recognition, the Post Office does not recommend this when addressing mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_171

The official recommendation is to use all upper case block letters with proper formats and abbreviations, and leave out all punctuation except for the hyphen in the ZIP+4 code. United States Postal Service_sentence_172

If the address is unusually formatted or illegible enough, it will require hand-processing, delaying that particular item. United States Postal Service_sentence_173

The USPS publishes the entirety of their postal addressing standards. United States Postal Service_sentence_174

Postal address verification tools and services are offered by the USPS and third party companies to help ensure mail is deliverable by fixing formatting, appending information such as ZIP code and validating the address is a valid delivery point. United States Postal Service_sentence_175

Customers can look up ZIP codes and verify addresses using USPS Web Tools available on the official USPS website and Facebook page, as well as on third-party sites. United States Postal Service_sentence_176

Delivery Point Validation United States Postal Service_section_20

Delivery Point Validation (DPV) provides the highest level of address accuracy checking. United States Postal Service_sentence_177

In a DPV process, the address is checked against the AMS data file to ensure that it exists as an active delivery point. United States Postal Service_sentence_178

The USPS does not offer DPV validation on their website; however, there are companies that offer services to perform DPV verification. United States Postal Service_sentence_179

Paying postage United States Postal Service_section_21

The actual postage can be paid via: United States Postal Service_sentence_180

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_3

  • Stamps purchased online at usps.com, at a post office, from a stamp vending machine or "Automated Postal Center" which can also handle packages, or from a third party (such as a grocery store)United States Postal Service_item_3_10
  • Pre-cancelled stamps for bulk mailingsUnited States Postal Service_item_3_11
  • Postal meterUnited States Postal Service_item_3_12
  • Prepaid envelopeUnited States Postal Service_item_3_13
  • Shipping label purchased online and printed by the customer on standard paper (e.g., with Click-N-Ship, or via a third-party such as PayPal or Amazon shipping)United States Postal Service_item_3_14

All unused U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_181 postage stamps issued since 1861 are still valid as postage at their indicated value. United States Postal Service_sentence_182

Stamps with no value shown or denominated by a letter are also still valid, although the value depends upon the particular stamp. United States Postal Service_sentence_183

For some stamps issued without a printed value, the current value is the original value. United States Postal Service_sentence_184

But some stamps beginning in 1988 or earlier, including Forever Stamps (issued from April 2007) and all first-class, first-ounce stamps issued from January 21, 2011, the value is the current value of a first-class-mail first-ounce stamp. United States Postal Service_sentence_185

The USPS calls these Forever Stamps but the generic name is non-denominated postage. United States Postal Service_sentence_186

Forever stamps are sold at the First-Class Mail postage rate at the time of purchase, but will always be valid for First-Class Mail, up to 1 ounce (28 g), no matter how rates rise in the future. United States Postal Service_sentence_187

Britain has had a similar stamp since 1989. United States Postal Service_sentence_188

The cost of mailing a 1 oz (28 g) First-Class letter increased to 55 cents on January 26, 2020. United States Postal Service_sentence_189

Postage meters United States Postal Service_section_22

Main article: Postage meter United States Postal Service_sentence_190

A postage meter is a mechanical device used to create and apply physical evidence of postage (or franking) to mailed matter. United States Postal Service_sentence_191

Postage meters are regulated by a country's postal authority; for example, in the United States, the United States Postal Service specifies the rules for the creation, support, and use of postage meters. United States Postal Service_sentence_192

A postage meter imprints an amount of postage, functioning as a postage stamp, a cancellation and a dated postmark all in one. United States Postal Service_sentence_193

The meter stamp serves as proof of payment and eliminates the need for adhesive stamps. United States Postal Service_sentence_194

PC Postage United States Postal Service_section_23

In addition to using standard stamps, postage can now be printed in the form of an electronic stamp, or e-stamp, from a personal computer using a system called Information Based Indicia. United States Postal Service_sentence_195

This online PC Postage method relies upon application software on the customer's computer contacting a postal security device at the office of the postal service. United States Postal Service_sentence_196

PC Postage providers include: United States Postal Service_sentence_197

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_4

  • Stamps.com (founded 1996, headquartered in El Segundo, CA)United States Postal Service_item_4_15
  • EasyPost (founded 2012, headquartered in San Francisco, CA)United States Postal Service_item_4_16

Other electronic postage payment methods United States Postal Service_section_24

Electronic Verification System (eVS) is the Postal Service's integrated mail management technology that centralizes payment processing and electronic postage reports. United States Postal Service_sentence_198

Part of an evolving suite of USPS electronic payment services called PostalOne!, eVS allows mailers shipping large volumes of parcels through the Postal Service a way to circumvent use of hard-copy manifests, postage statements and drop-shipment verification forms. United States Postal Service_sentence_199

Instead, mailers can pay postage automatically through a centralized account and track payments online. United States Postal Service_sentence_200

Beginning in August 2007, the Postal Service began requiring mailers shipping Parcel Select packages using a permit imprint to use eVS for manifesting their packages. United States Postal Service_sentence_201

Stamp copyright and reproduction United States Postal Service_section_25

All U.S. postage stamps issued under the former United States Post Office Department and other postage items that were released before 1978 are not subject to copyright, but stamp designs since 1978 are copyrighted. United States Postal Service_sentence_202

The United States Copyright Office in section 313.6(C)(1) of the Third Edition of the Compendium of U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_203 Copyright Office Practices holds that "Works prepared by officers or employees of the U.S. United States Postal Service_sentence_204

Postal Service ... are not considered works of the U.S. Government" and are therefore eligible for registration. United States Postal Service_sentence_205

Thus, the USPS holds copyright to such materials released since 1978 under Title 17 of the United States Code. United States Postal Service_sentence_206

Written permission is required for use of copyrighted postage stamp images, although under USPS rules, permission is "generally" not required for "educational use", "news reporting" or "philatelic advertising use," but users must cite USPS as the source of the image and include language such as "© United States Postal Service. United States Postal Service_sentence_207

All rights reserved." United States Postal Service_sentence_208

Service level choices United States Postal Service_section_26

General domestic services United States Postal Service_section_27

As of April 2011, domestic postage levels for low-volume mailers include: United States Postal Service_sentence_209

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_5

  • Priority Mail Express (formerly Express Mail): Overnight delivery guaranteed to most locationsUnited States Postal Service_item_5_17
    • Sunday, holiday and 10:30 a.m. delivery available for additional charge.United States Postal Service_item_5_18
    • $100 insurance included.United States Postal Service_item_5_19
    • Tracking included.United States Postal Service_item_5_20
    • Flat Rate envelopes are available. Otherwise, pricing varies by weight and distance.United States Postal Service_item_5_21
  • Priority Mail: Day specific delivery service ranging from 1 to 3 days depending on origin of shipment (not guaranteed)United States Postal Service_item_5_22
    • As of January 27, 2013, tracking via Delivery Confirmation is now included on all Priority Mail shipments.United States Postal Service_item_5_23
    • Flat Rate envelopes and boxes (various sizes) are available free from the Postal Store. Otherwise, pricing varies by weight, size and distance.United States Postal Service_item_5_24
    • $50 insurance for retail/$100 insurance for commercial starting on July 28, 2013.United States Postal Service_item_5_25
    • Tracking IncludedUnited States Postal Service_item_5_26
  • First-Class MailUnited States Postal Service_item_5_27
    • 2- to 3-day delivery.United States Postal Service_item_5_28
      • In most cases for letters and small packages.United States Postal Service_item_5_29
    • Rate varies by size and weight, but not distance.United States Postal Service_item_5_30
      • Postcards (5″ × 3.5″ × 0.007 to 6″ × 4.25″ × 0.016″ × [127 × 89 × 0.18 to 152 × 108 × 0.4 mm]): 35¢United States Postal Service_item_5_31
      • Letters (up to 11.5″ × 6.125″ × 0.25″ ×, 3.5 oz [292 × 156 × 6.4 mm, 100 g]): 55¢ + 15¢ for each additional ounce stamped, 50¢ + 15¢ for each additional ounce meteredUnited States Postal Service_item_5_32
      • Large Envelope or Flat (up to 15″ × 12″ × 0.75″ ×, 13 oz [381 × 305 × 19 mm, 370 g]): $1.00 + 15¢ each additional ounce (28 g). Must be rectangular, uniformly thick, and not too rigid.United States Postal Service_item_5_33
  • First class package serviceUnited States Postal Service_item_5_34
    • Rate varies by weight and distance.United States Postal Service_item_5_35
      • Package/Parcel (Up to 108 inches (270 cm) length plus girth, 13 ounces (370 g): $3.80-$4.20 up to 4 ounces, $4.60-$5.00 up to 8 ounces, $5.90-$6.50 up to 13 ouncesUnited States Postal Service_item_5_36
  • USPS Retail Ground (formerly Parcel Post)United States Postal Service_item_5_37
    • Slowest but cheapest service for packages too large or heavy for First Class—uses surface transport.United States Postal Service_item_5_38
    • 2- to 9-day service to contiguous U.S., 4–14 days internal to AK/HI/territories, 3–6 weeks between mainland and outlying areas (travels by ship).United States Postal Service_item_5_39
    • Variable pricing by weight, size and distance.United States Postal Service_item_5_40
    • Free forwarding if recipient has filed change-of-address form, or return if the item is undeliverable.United States Postal Service_item_5_41
  • Media Mail—formerly "Book Rate"United States Postal Service_item_5_42
    • Books and recorded media only.United States Postal Service_item_5_43
    • No advertising.United States Postal Service_item_5_44
    • Pricing by weight only.United States Postal Service_item_5_45
    • Transit time similar to Parcel Post.United States Postal Service_item_5_46
    • Cheaper than Parcel Post but only due to increased restrictions on package contents.United States Postal Service_item_5_47
  • Library MailUnited States Postal Service_item_5_48
    • Similar to Media Mail, but cheaper and restricted to academic institutions, public libraries, museums, etc.United States Postal Service_item_5_49

The Post Office will not deliver packages heavier than 70 pounds (32 kg) or if the length (the package's longest dimension) plus the girth (the measurement around the package at its largest point in the two shorter dimensions) is greater than 108 inches (270 cm) combined (130 inches [330 cm] for Parcel Post) United States Postal Service_sentence_210

Bulk mail United States Postal Service_section_28

See also: Bulk mail United States Postal Service_sentence_211

Discounts are available for large volumes of mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_212

Depending on the postage level, certain conditions might be required or optional for an additional discount: United States Postal Service_sentence_213

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_6

  • Minimum number of piecesUnited States Postal Service_item_6_50
  • Weight limitsUnited States Postal Service_item_6_51
  • Ability for the USPS to process by machineUnited States Postal Service_item_6_52
  • Addresses formatting standardizedUnited States Postal Service_item_6_53
  • USPS-readable barcodeUnited States Postal Service_item_6_54
  • Sorted by three-digit ZIP code prefix, five-digit ZIP code, ZIP+4, or 11-digit delivery pointUnited States Postal Service_item_6_55
  • Delivered in trays, bundles, or pallets partitioned by destinationUnited States Postal Service_item_6_56
  • Delivered directly to a regional Bulk Mail Center, destination SCF, or destination Post OfficeUnited States Postal Service_item_6_57
  • Certification of mailing list accuracy and freshness (e.g., correct ZIP codes, purging of stale addresses, processing of change-of-address notifications)United States Postal Service_item_6_58

In addition to bulk discounts on Express, Priority, and First-Class Mail, the following postage levels are available for bulk mailers: United States Postal Service_sentence_214

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_7

  • PeriodicalsUnited States Postal Service_item_7_59
  • Standard Mail (A)United States Postal Service_item_7_60
    • AutomationUnited States Postal Service_item_7_61
    • Enhanced Carrier RouteUnited States Postal Service_item_7_62
    • RegularUnited States Postal Service_item_7_63
  • Standard Mail (B)United States Postal Service_item_7_64
    • Parcel PostUnited States Postal Service_item_7_65
    • Bound Printed Matter – Cheaper than Media Mail, for advertising catalogs, phone books, etc. up to 15 lbUnited States Postal Service_item_7_66
    • Special Standard MailUnited States Postal Service_item_7_67
    • Library MailUnited States Postal Service_item_7_68
    • NonprofitUnited States Postal Service_item_7_69

Extra services United States Postal Service_section_29

Depending on the type of mail, additional services are available for an additional fee: United States Postal Service_sentence_215

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_8

  • Certificate of Mailing provides proof of the date a package was mailed.United States Postal Service_item_8_70
  • Certified Mail provides proof of mailing, and a delivery record. Used for serving legal documents and for sending U.S. Government classified information, up to the "confidential" level.United States Postal Service_item_8_71
  • Collect on Delivery (C.O.D.) allows merchants to offer customers an option to pay upon delivery, up to $1000. Includes insurance.United States Postal Service_item_8_72
  • USPS Tracking provides proof of delivery to sorting facilities, local post office and destination, but no signature is required.United States Postal Service_item_8_73
  • Insurance is shipping insurance against loss or damage for the value of the goods mailed. Amount of coverage can be specified, up to $5,000.United States Postal Service_item_8_74
  • Registered Mail is used for highly valuable or irreplaceable items, and classified information up to the "secret" level. Registered mail is transported separately from other mail, in locked containers. Tracking is included and insurance up to $25,000 is available.United States Postal Service_item_8_75
  • Restricted Delivery requires delivery to a specific person or their authorized agent, not just to a mailbox.United States Postal Service_item_8_76
  • Return Receipt actively sends signature confirmation back to the sender by postcard or emailed PDF (as opposed to merely putting this information into the online tracking system).United States Postal Service_item_8_77
  • Signature Confirmation requires a delivery signature, which is kept on file. The online tracking system displays the first initial and last name of the signatory.United States Postal Service_item_8_78
  • Special Handling is for unusual items, like live animals.United States Postal Service_item_8_79

International services United States Postal Service_section_30

In May 2007, the USPS restructured international service names to correspond with domestic shipping options. United States Postal Service_sentence_216

Formerly, USPS International services were categorized as Airmail (Letter Post), Economy (Surface) Parcel Post, Airmail Parcel Post, Global Priority, Global Express, and Global Express Guaranteed Mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_217

The former Airmail (Letter Post) is now First-Class Mail International, and includes small packages weighing up to four pounds (1.8 kg). United States Postal Service_sentence_218

Economy Parcel Post was discontinued for international service, while Airmail Parcel Post was replaced by Priority Mail International. United States Postal Service_sentence_219

Priority Mail International Flat-Rate packaging in various sizes was introduced, with the same conditions of service previously used for Global Priority. United States Postal Service_sentence_220

Global Express is now Express Mail International, while Global Express Guaranteed is unchanged. United States Postal Service_sentence_221

The international mailing classes with a tracking ability are Express, Express Guaranteed, and Priority (except that tracking is not available for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes or Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Boxes). United States Postal Service_sentence_222

One of the major changes in the new naming and services definitions is that USPS-supplied mailing boxes for Priority and Express mail are now allowed for international use. United States Postal Service_sentence_223

These services are offered to ship letters and packages to almost every country and territory on the globe. United States Postal Service_sentence_224

The USPS provides much of this service by contracting with a private parcel service, FedEx. United States Postal Service_sentence_225

The USPS provides an M-bag service for international shipment of printed matter; previously surface M-bags existed, but with the 2007 elimination of surface mail, only airmail M-bags remain. United States Postal Service_sentence_226

The term "M-bag" is not expanded in USPS publications; M-bags are simply defined as "direct sacks of printed matter ... sent to a single foreign addressee at a single address"; however, the term is sometimes referred to informally as "media bag", as the bag can also contain "discs, tapes, and cassettes", in addition to books, for which the usual umbrella term is "media"; some also refer to them as "mail bags". United States Postal Service_sentence_227

Military mail is billed at domestic rates when being sent from the United States to a military outpost, and is free when sent by deployed military personnel. United States Postal Service_sentence_228

The overseas logistics are handled by the Military Postal Service Agency in the Department of Defense. United States Postal Service_sentence_229

Outside of forward areas and active operations, military mail First-Class takes 7–10 days, Priority 10–15 days, and Parcel Post about 24 days. United States Postal Service_sentence_230

Three independent countries with a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. (Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia) have a special relationship with the United States Postal Service: United States Postal Service_sentence_231

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_9

  • Each associated state maintains its own government-run mail service for delivery to and pickup from retail customers.United States Postal Service_item_9_80
  • The associated states are integrated into the USPS addressing and ZIP code system.United States Postal Service_item_9_81
  • The USPS is responsible for transporting mail between the United States and the associated states, and between the individual states of the Federated States of Micronesia.United States Postal Service_item_9_82
  • The associated states synchronize postal services and rates with the USPS.United States Postal Service_item_9_83
  • The USPS treats mail to and from the associated states as domestic mail. Incoming mail does require customs declarations because, like some U.S. territories, the associated states are outside the main customs territory of the United States.United States Postal Service_item_9_84

The discontinuation of international surface mail United States Postal Service_section_31

For more information about surface mail, see Surface mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_232

In 2007, the US Postal Service discontinued its outbound international surface mail ("sea mail") service, mainly because of increased costs. United States Postal Service_sentence_233

Returned undeliverable surface parcels had become an expensive problem for the USPS, since it was often required to take such parcels back. United States Postal Service_sentence_234

Domestic surface mail (now "Retail Ground" or "Commercial Parcel Select") remains available. United States Postal Service_sentence_235

Alternatives to international surface mail include: United States Postal Service_sentence_236

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_10

  • International Surface Air Lift (ISAL). The service includes neither tracking nor insurance; but it may be possible to purchase shipping insurance from a third-party company.United States Postal Service_item_10_85
  • USPS Commercial ePacket. The service is trackable.United States Postal Service_item_10_86
  • Ordinary first-class international airmail.United States Postal Service_item_10_87

Senders can access the International Surface Air Lift and ePacket services through postal wholesalers. United States Postal Service_sentence_237

Some examples of such wholesalers include: United States Postal Service_sentence_238

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_11

  • Asendia USA (accessible through the Shippo website to users who have an Asendia account),United States Postal Service_item_11_88
  • Globegistics (now owned by Asendia), andUnited States Postal Service_item_11_89
  • APC Postal Logistics.United States Postal Service_item_11_90

If a sender sends an ISAL mailing directly through the USPS (without a wholesaler as an intermediary), the minimum weight is 50 pounds per mailing. United States Postal Service_sentence_239

Sorting and delivery process United States Postal Service_section_32

Delivery timing United States Postal Service_section_33

Delivery days United States Postal Service_section_34

From 1810, mail was delivered seven days a week. United States Postal Service_sentence_240

In 1828, local religious leaders noticed a decline in Sunday-morning church attendance because of local post offices' doubling as gathering places. United States Postal Service_sentence_241

These leaders appealed to the government to intervene and close post offices on Sundays. United States Postal Service_sentence_242

The government, however, declined, and mail was delivered 7 days a week until 1912. United States Postal Service_sentence_243

Today, U.S. Mail (with the exception of Express Mail) is not delivered on Sunday. United States Postal Service_sentence_244

Saturday delivery was temporarily suspended in April 1957, because of lack of funds, but quickly restored. United States Postal Service_sentence_245

Budget problems prompted consideration of dropping Saturday delivery starting around 2009. United States Postal Service_sentence_246

This culminated in a 2013 announcement that regular mail services would be cut to five days a week, which was reversed by Congress before it could take effect. United States Postal Service_sentence_247

(See the section Revenue decline and planned cuts.) United States Postal Service_sentence_248

Direct delivery vs. customer pickup United States Postal Service_section_35

Originally, mail was not delivered to homes and businesses, but to post offices. United States Postal Service_sentence_249

In 1863, "city delivery" began in urban areas with enough customers to make this economical. United States Postal Service_sentence_250

This required streets to be named, houses to be numbered, with sidewalks and lighting provided, and these street addresses to be added to envelopes. United States Postal Service_sentence_251

The number of routes served expanded over time. United States Postal Service_sentence_252

In 1891, the first experiments with Rural Free Delivery began in less densely populated areas. United States Postal Service_sentence_253

There is currently an effort to reduce direct delivery in favor of mailbox clusters. United States Postal Service_sentence_254

To compensate for high mail volume and slow long-distance transportation which saw mail arrive at post offices throughout the day, deliveries were made multiple times a day. United States Postal Service_sentence_255

This ranged from twice for residential areas to up to seven times for the central business district of Brooklyn, New York. United States Postal Service_sentence_256

In the late 19th century, mail boxes were encouraged, saving carriers the time it took to deliver directly to the addressee in person; in the 1910s and 1920s, they were phased in as a requirement for service. United States Postal Service_sentence_257

In the 1940s, multiple daily deliveries began to be reduced, especially on Saturdays. United States Postal Service_sentence_258

By 1990, the last twice-daily deliveries in New York City were eliminated. United States Postal Service_sentence_259

Today, mail is delivered once a day on-site to most private homes and businesses. United States Postal Service_sentence_260

The USPS still distinguishes between city delivery (where carriers generally walk and deliver to mailboxes hung on exterior walls or porches, or to commercial reception areas) and rural delivery (where carriers generally drive). United States Postal Service_sentence_261

With "curbside delivery", mailboxes are at the ends of driveways, on the nearest convenient road. United States Postal Service_sentence_262

"Central point delivery" is used in some locations, where several nearby residences share a "cluster" of individual mailboxes in a single housing. United States Postal Service_sentence_263

Some customers choose to use post office boxes for an additional fee, for privacy or convenience. United States Postal Service_sentence_264

This provides a locked box at the post office to which mail is addressed and delivered (usually earlier in the day than home delivery). United States Postal Service_sentence_265

Customers in less densely populated areas where there is no city delivery and who do not qualify for rural delivery may receive mail only through post office boxes. United States Postal Service_sentence_266

High-volume business customers can also arrange for special pick-up. United States Postal Service_sentence_267

Another option is the old-style general delivery, for people who have neither post office boxes nor street addresses. United States Postal Service_sentence_268

Mail is held at the post office until they present identification and pick it up. United States Postal Service_sentence_269

Some customers receive free post office boxes if the USPS declines to provide door-to-door delivery to their location or a nearby box. United States Postal Service_sentence_270

People with medical problems can request door-to-door delivery. United States Postal Service_sentence_271

Homeless people are also eligible for post office boxes at the discretion of the local postmaster, or can use general delivery. United States Postal Service_sentence_272

Special delivery United States Postal Service_section_36

From 1885 to 1997, a service called special delivery was available, which caused a separate delivery to the final location earlier in the day than the usual daily rounds. United States Postal Service_sentence_273

Same-day trials United States Postal Service_section_37

In December 2012, the USPS began a limited one-year trial of same-day deliveries directly from retailers or distribution hubs to residential addresses in the same local area, a service it dubbed "Metro Post". United States Postal Service_sentence_274

The trial was initially limited to San Francisco and the only retailer to participate in the first few weeks was 1-800-FLOWERS. United States Postal Service_sentence_275

In March 2013, the USPS faced new same-day competition for e-commerce deliveries from Google Shopping Express. United States Postal Service_sentence_276

In November 2013, the Postal Service began regular package delivery on Sundays for Amazon customers in New York and Los Angeles, which it expanded to 15 cities in May 2014. United States Postal Service_sentence_277

Amazon Sunday delivery has now been expanded to most major markets as of September 2015. United States Postal Service_sentence_278

Other competition in this area includes online grocers such as AmazonFresh, Webvan, and delivery services operated by grocery stores like Peapod and Safeway. United States Postal Service_sentence_279

Forwarding and holds United States Postal Service_section_38

Residential customers can fill out a form to forward mail to a new address, and can also send pre-printed forms to any of their frequent correspondents. United States Postal Service_sentence_280

They can also put their mail on "hold", for example, while on vacation. United States Postal Service_sentence_281

The Post Office will store mail during the hold, instead of letting it overflow in the mailbox. United States Postal Service_sentence_282

These services are not available to large buildings and customers of a commercial mail receiving agency, where mail is subsorted by non-Post Office employees into individual mailboxes. United States Postal Service_sentence_283

Financial services United States Postal Service_section_39

Postal money orders provide a safe alternative to sending cash through the mail, and are available in any amount up to $1,000. United States Postal Service_sentence_284

Like a bank cheque, money orders are cashable only by the recipient. United States Postal Service_sentence_285

Unlike a personal bank check, they are prepaid and therefore cannot be returned because of insufficient funds. United States Postal Service_sentence_286

Money orders are a declining business for the USPS, as companies like PayPal, Venmo and others are offering electronic replacements. United States Postal Service_sentence_287

From 1911 to 1967, the Postal Service also operated the United States Postal Savings System, not unlike a savings and loan association with the amount of the deposit limited. United States Postal Service_sentence_288

A January 2014 report by the inspector general of the USPS suggested that the agency could earn $8.9 billion per year in revenue by providing financial services, especially in areas where there are no local banks but there is a local post office, and to customers who currently do not have bank accounts. United States Postal Service_sentence_289

Employment United States Postal Service_section_40

The Postal Service is the nation's second-largest civilian employer. United States Postal Service_sentence_290

As of 2019, it employed 633,108 personnel, divided into offices, processing centers, and actual post offices. United States Postal Service_sentence_291

The United States Postal Service would rank 44th on the 2019 Fortune 500 list, if considered a private company and ranks 136 on Global Fortune 500 list. United States Postal Service_sentence_292

Labor unions representing USPS employees include: The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which represents postal clerks and maintenance, motor vehicle, mail equipment shops, material distribution centers, and operating services and facilities services employees, postal nurses, and IT and accounting; the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), which represents city letter carriers; the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA), which represents rural letter carriers; and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU). United States Postal Service_sentence_293

USPS employees are divided into major crafts according to the work they engage in: United States Postal Service_sentence_294

United States Postal Service_unordered_list_12

  • Letter carriers, also referred to as mailmen or mail carriers, prepare and deliver mail and parcels. They are divided into two categories: City Letter Carriers, who are represented by the NALC, and Rural Letter Carriers, who are represented by the NRLCA. City Carriers are paid hourly with automatic overtime paid after 8 hours or 40 hours a week of duty. City Carriers are required to work in any kind of weather, daylight or dark and carry three bundles of mail (letters in one hand with magazines and other larger mail pieces) on the forearm carrying the mail. Advertisement mail, Every door direct (EDD) and smaller parcels all go in the carriers satchel). Larger parcels, up to a total of 70 lbs. may be delivered at various times of the day or with the mail. Mail routes are outfitted with a number of scanpoints (mailbox barcodes) on random streets every 30 to 40 minutes apart to keep track of the carriers whereabouts in real-time.United States Postal Service_item_12_91
  • Rural carriers are under a form of salary called "evaluated hours", usually with overtime built into their pay. The evaluated hours are created by having all mail counted for a period of two or four weeks, and a formula used to create the set dollar amount they will be paid for each day worked until the next time the route is counted.United States Postal Service_item_12_92
  • Mail handlers and processors, prepare, separate, load and unload mail and parcels, by delivery ZIP code and station, for the clerks. They work almost exclusively at the plants or larger mail facilities now after having their duties excessed and reassigned to clerks in Post Offices and Station branches.United States Postal Service_item_12_93
  • Clerks, have a dual function by design of where their assignment is. Window clerks directly handle customer service needs at the counter, sort box mail and also sort first-class letters, standard and bulk-rate mail for the carriers on the work floor. Clerks may also work alongside mail handlers in large sorting facilities, outside of the public view, sorting mail. Data Conversion Operators, who encode address information at Remote Encoding Centers, are also members of the clerk craft. Mail handlers and Clerks are represented by the NPMHU and the APWU, respectively.United States Postal Service_item_12_94

Other non-managerial positions in the USPS include: United States Postal Service_sentence_295

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  • Maintenance and custodians, who see to the overall operation and cleaning of mail sorting machines, work areas, public parking and general facility operations.United States Postal Service_item_13_95
  • City Carrier Assistants. (CCAs) With the Das Arbitration award the designation of PTF City Carrier has been abolished. TE City Carriers will have the opportunity to become CCAs. A CCA is a non-career employee who is hired for a 360-day term, similar to what TEs had. CCAs earn annual leave. CCAs, unlike TEs do have a direct path to becoming career employees. When excess City Carrier positions exist the CCA in that work installation with the highest "relative standing" will be promoted to a career employee and be assigned to the vacant position.United States Postal Service_item_13_96
  • Career, Part Time Flexible and Transitional employees (Career, PTF & TE) There are a variety of other non-managerial positions in such crafts as accounting, information technology, and the remote encoding center. These are under a different contract than plant workers or letter carriers.United States Postal Service_item_13_97
  • Contractors are not USPS employees, but work for the USPS under a written contract and usually paid per mile. They do not get benefits including health insurance, leave, life insurance, and pension. They must use their own vehicle and pay any cost to maintain, insure, or replace. Contractors generally make less than employees. Just like regular carriers they deliver packages and letters to mailboxes and doors.United States Postal Service_item_13_98

Though the USPS employs many individuals, as more Americans send information via email, fewer postal workers are needed to work dwindling amounts of mail. United States Postal Service_sentence_296

Post offices and mail facilities are constantly downsizing, replacing craft positions with new machines and consolidating mail routes through the MIARAP (Modified Interim Alternate Route Adjustment Process) agreement. United States Postal Service_sentence_297

A major round of job cuts, early retirements, and a construction freeze were announced on March 20, 2009. United States Postal Service_sentence_298

Workplace violence United States Postal Service_section_41

See also: Edmond post office shooting and List of postal killings § United States United States Postal Service_sentence_299

In the early 1990s, widely publicized workplace shootings by disgruntled employees at USPS facilities led to a Human Resource effort to provide care for stressed workers and resources for coworker conflicts. United States Postal Service_sentence_300

Due to media coverage, postal employees gained a reputation among the general public as more likely to be mentally ill. United States Postal Service_sentence_301

The USPS Commission on a Safe and Secure Workplace found that "Postal workers are only a third as likely as those in the national workforce to be victims of homicide at work." United States Postal Service_sentence_302

In the documentary Murder by Proxy: How America Went Postal, it was argued that this number failed to factor out workers killed by external subjects rather than by fellow employees. United States Postal Service_sentence_303

This series of events in turn has influenced American culture, as seen in the slang term "going postal" and the computer game Postal. United States Postal Service_sentence_304

Also, in the opening sequence of Naked Gun ​33 ⁄3: The Final Insult, a yell of "Disgruntled postal workers" is heard, followed by the arrival of postal workers with machine guns. United States Postal Service_sentence_305

In an episode of Seinfeld, the mailman character, Newman, explained in a dramatic monologue that postal workers "go crazy and kill everyone" because the mail never stops. United States Postal Service_sentence_306

In The Simpsons episode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday," Nelson Muntz asks Postmaster Bill if he has "ever gone on a killing spree"; Bill replies, "The day of the gun-toting, disgruntled postman shooting up the place went out with the Macarena". United States Postal Service_sentence_307

The series of massacres led the USPS to issue a rule prohibiting the possession of any type of firearms (except for those issued to Postal Inspectors) in all designated USPS facilities. United States Postal Service_sentence_308

In 2016, video footage was released showing a group of police officers from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) arresting a USPS worker while he was in the middle of his deliveries. United States Postal Service_sentence_309

The footage showed that the officers were dressed in civilian clothing. United States Postal Service_sentence_310

The NYPD is reportedly investigating alleged disorderly conduct. United States Postal Service_sentence_311

In fiction United States Postal Service_section_42

See also United States Postal Service_section_43

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History United States Postal Service_section_44

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International associations United States Postal Service_section_45

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Mail bag types United States Postal Service_section_46

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Workplace violence United States Postal Service_section_47

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Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United States Postal Service.