After many years of advocacy by Domtar, our industry partners, customers and consumers, Congress passed legislation in favor of U.S. postal reform in March. In early April, President Joe Biden signed the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022.
The bipartisan legislation will help the United States Postal Service (USPS) become more financially sound, and it codifies important services, such as six-day delivery.
“Because nearly a third of the product we make at our mills travels through the mail each day, Domtar views the U.S. Postal Service as a business partner,” says Kathy Wholley, vice president of communications and public affairs. “For years we have been advocating for substantive legislative proposals that make needed reforms to the postal service. These changes will help the partnership between us, our customers and the postal service remain strong, as well as benefit American consumers.”
What U.S. Postal Reform Means
With the new law to enact long-sought U.S. postal reform, the USPS can make meaningful changes, such as:
- Integrating Medicare with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for future retirees, creating a significant savings in retiree health care costs
- Stopping the pre-funding of retiree health benefits and removing the related outstanding debts from the USPS’s books
- Entering into agreements with state, local and tribal governments to provide non-postal services to increase revenue for the USPS
The U.S. postal reform law also requires transparency about the USPS’s financial performance and service performance. It requires the service to use an integrated network for mail and packages and codifies six-day delivery of mail as a service standard.
Years of Advocacy Pay Off
Tina Howard, vice president of converting and specialty sales, has worked for years with our industry partners, such as the Envelope Manufacturers Association and others, to press representatives and senators to act.
“This has been a long time coming,” she says. “It’s gratifying to believe we’ve achieved something alongside our partners that will help our customers, our industry and every American who relies on mail service.”
This effort took years of advocacy by Domtar’s government relations team, leaders, employees, customers and consumers across the country. Many employees rallied to contact their representatives, and several testified before Congress about the need for U.S. postal reform.
Rob Melton, now senior vice president for pulp and paper, commercial, and Kathy Collins, now a senior director for performance improvement in manufacturing, both testified on Capitol Hill about the need for U.S. postal reform.
Tom Howard, who served as Domtar’s vice president for government relations for 14 years before leaving the company in March 2021, also advocated for U.S. postal reform. He’s pleased about the bill’s passage, saying, “I congratulate Domtar’s government relations team for getting the ball over the goal line. A great development for Domtar and our country.”
Weighing In On Rising Postal Rates
The Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 has been signed into law, but that doesn’t mean we’re finished advocating for U.S. postal reform.
“Our attention now turns to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which Domtar and others are asking to revisit the Postal Service’s finances, given the financial relief provided by pandemic relief funding and the reduction in the service’s financial obligations,” says Wholley. “This should prompt a reevaluation of rates and proposed increases, bringing predictable and affordable rates to consumers.”
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) Industry Affairs department recently informed AF&PA members that the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has “issued a report directing the PRC to study how emergency funding, and USPS financial results since the November ruling [which gave postal ratemaking authority to the USPS], should impact postal rate increases.”
As a result of that action, the PRC is inviting stakeholders to weigh in on the issue until July 31, 2022. We encourage our readers to submit their comments via email at email@example.com. You can also mail a letter addressed to:
Postal Regulatory Commission
901 New York Ave., NW, Ste. 200,
Washington DC, 20268