News & information

POSTAL FACTS: Aug. 13, 2015 (updated)

What reporters and commentators are writing and saying about the Postal Service, and how NALC members and leaders are making their voices heard.


NALC President Fredric Rolando was quoted more than anyone else in the overall news coverage of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial report for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2015, released on Aug. 10.

U.S. Postal Service reports $586 million net loss this spring, improvement from last year (AP)

The Associated Press is perhaps the most important news outlet because its stories run in thousands of newspapers, TV stations and news websites around the country. Almost a third of AP’s story—used, for example, by U.S. News & World Report—consisted of Rolando’s comments. It mentioned “improvement” in the headline and “big improvement” in the lead paragraph; it also noted that no taxpayer money is involved:

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the results represent an impressive “turnaround continuing in full force.” The group cites the $1.2 billion in “controllable” net income for the first three-quarters of the year. Controllable income excludes certain factors including a requirement that the Postal Service prefund retiree health benefits.

The operating losses during the third quarter aren’t unusual, and “it doesn’t change the fact that 2015 is turning into one of the USPS’ most impressive annual performances since the Great Recession,” he said in a statement.

Click here to read the AP story in U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. Postal Service reports $586M net loss for spring (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post ran the AP story and included President Rolando’s explanation and comments.

Click here to read the story.

Postal Service Sharply Reduces Loss in Most Recent Quarter (NBC News)

NBC also ran the AP story and broke Rolando’s comments into three prominent paragraphs.

Click here to read the story.

Loss of $586 Million Shows Improvement for Postal Service (The New York Times)

A short item in The New York Times condensed AP’s story, using the word “improvement” in the headline and quoting only Rolando directly.

Click here to read the story.

Postal Service logs $586 million quarterly loss (The Hill)

The story in The Hill included the following:

But of late, there have been some signs the Postal Service is recovering. Through three quarters, profits are up slightly from 2014, even after posting the third-quarter loss.

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said that number shows that the Postal Service has made an “impressive…financial turnaround.”

“The relatively small operating loss of $197 million for the third quarter isn’t unexpected—the third quarter is typically the slowest—but it doesn’t change the fact that 2015 is turning into one of the USPS’ most impressive annual performances since the Great Recession,” he said in a statement.

Click here to read the story.

Postal Service reports $586 million quarterly loss (USA Today)

The story in USA Today included Rolando’s comments as well as a mention of the Postal Service’s operating profit:

Citing the $1.2 billion “controllable” income for the first three fiscal quarters, Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the report showed an impressive turnaround for the Postal Service. The “controllable” income excludes certain costs such as the mandated prefund retiree health benefits.

“2015 is turning into one of the USPS’ most impressive annual performances since the Great Recession,” Rolando said in a statement. “Moreover, this reflects the positive trend in operating profits that began in 2013 and that includes last year’s $1.4 billion operating profit.”

It also included a good explanation of the pre-funding issue:

Passed by Congress in 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act mandates that the Postal Service pay $5.4 [billion] to $5.7 billion each year until 2016 to pay for future retiree health benefits costs. As the industry has changed since 2006, the Postal Service has called on Congress repeatedly to draft new legislation adjusting this requirement.

Click here to read the story.

USPS still turning a profit, despite recent dip (Federal Times)

The story in Federal Times, topped by a good headline, was thorough:

The USPS announced Monday a $197 million loss in the third quarter, a traditionally slow shipping period, but continues to have a $1.2 billion controllable operating profit for the year.

“This quarter is generally, from my understanding, on track with what we expected,” said Sarah Ninivaggi, USPS public relations representative. “We’re still on track to see a controllable income for the year.”

Buoyed by the growth of online shopping and a shipping rate change that went into effect May 31, FY2015 is still $200 million ahead [of] FY2014’s year-to-date mark of $1 billion operating profit.

But USPS’s controllable profit trend is now in its third year, not reporting an overall loss since 2012.

“This three-year trend in operating profitability makes clear the need to strengthen—not degrade—the now-profitable networks,” Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said in a statement.

“We hope to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the administration and the postmaster general to build on the progress achieved in the last Congress, within the mailing industry and among major stakeholders on consensus postal reform that promotes a strong and vibrant Postal Service.”

Click here to read the story.

U.S. Postal Service Narrows Its Loss (The Wall Street Journal)

The story in The Wall Street Journal likewise had a good headline.

Click here to read the story (subscription required).

The U.S. Postal Service’s Streak of Positive Financial News Has Ended (Government Executive)

Despite the tone of its headline, the story in Government Executive mentioned the $1.2 billion in year-to-date operating profits, and it ended on an upbeat note:

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the financial news demonstrated the “turnaround continuing in full force.”

“The operating profits stem from structural factors and thus augur well for the future,” Rolando said. “Revenue is growing as an improving economy leads to stabilized letter revenue and as rising online shopping produces skyrocketing package revenue.” He added the improved finances make clear “the need to strengthen, not degrade, the now-profitable networks.”

The story noted that USPS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett said the Postal Service is on track to turn a controllable profit for fiscal 2015.

Click here to read the story.

Quarterly USPS financial statement shows growth in package shipping (Linn’s Stamp News)

A piece in Linn’s Stamp News quoted President Rolando extensively, ahead of quotes from Corbett and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE).

Click here to read the story.