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Editorial: Postal Service’s poor service is costing newspapers subscribers

At the Ely Echo we knew something had happened with the delivery of our newspapers, especially for our out-of-state subscribers.

Now we know we’re not the only ones. Not only are other papers having subscribers wait a month or more to get their paper, our elected officials in D.C. are hearing it as well.

The Postal Service cut a deal with Amazon to deliver their packages. What has suffered from this decision? Nearly every class of mail, including periodicals which is where the Ely Echo and other newspapers fall.

We have multiple reports every week of people not getting their papers, from one or two issues to a month’s worth. We’re already spending over $80,000 a year mailing out our products. To make matters worse, we pay first-class postage to mail out back issues. Times are tough enough for newspapers, and this issue is going to cost our industry subscribers which hits us financially in the bottom line. It’s a low blow.

Here’s Ely-connected U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN):

“I write regarding recent reports of increased Amazon package volumes overwhelming post offices, with Amazon packages being prioritized over mail from other customers at the Bemidji Post Office and across the country,” wrote Klobuchar. “Postal delays have real effects on the millions of Americans who rely on the USPS for deliveries that are critical to their health and livelihoods.”

“Amazon cannot be allowed to cut in line ahead of Minnesota residents and small businesses. I have spoken with local Minnesota postal leaders who have agreed that all customers should be treated fairly and are working to fill positions in Bemidji,” Klobuchar said. “I urge you to take the steps necessary to support our postal workers and ensure the timely delivery of mail.”

And here’s U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN):

“As Postmaster General, you are responsible for ensuring that the Postal Service meets its service standards, and it is clear right now that things are not working as they should,” wrote Senator Smith. “Entering into contracts that your system cannot support is a breach of your responsibilities.”

Also on board with getting the USPS back to taking care of business is Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08):

“The welfare of our constituents and the integrity of postal service operations are of utmost importance. Reports of alleged prioritization of certain third-party packages over essential mail, such as medications, bills, and paychecks, are of serious concern. Moreover, the reports of employees working without adequate benefits and fair compensation are deeply troubling. Our dedicated postal workers deserve better treatment and fair employment conditions as they tirelessly serve our communities.”

Our thanks to Klobuchar, Smith and Stauber for alerting USPS management of this issue and demanding accountability along with a return to normal postal operations.

We’ve also heard first class mail problems as well including a letter mailed across town taking two weeks to get there. Or a payment sent in January to the Cities arriving in November.

To our subscribers who are dealing with this headache we offer our sincere apologies. But the service we are paying for is not what we’re getting. And that is not acceptable.

Local newspapers like the Ely Echo do offer alternate delivery including digital versions but the majority of our subscribers, by far, prefer to get their news in their mailbox.

Our thanks to our local postal workers who go above and beyond to help us with these problems. Now if only we could get that level of service from the rest of the Post Office locations.

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