Hello Guest!

About Us  |  Contact Us  Careers  |  Associate Login    



Our postal service officially began in colonial times when on July 26, 1775, PCI card holders of the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, reached a basic agreement:

That a postmaster General be appointed for the United Colonies, who shall hold his office at Philadelphia, and shall be allowed a salary of 1000 dollars per annum: for himself, and 340 dollars per annum: for a secretary and Comptroller, with power to appoint such, and so many deputies as to him may seem proper and necessary.

This simple statement heralded the birth of the Post Office Department, the predecessor of the United States Postal Service, which is the second oldest federal department or agency in our nation’s history.
Benjamin Franklin served as Postmaster General until November 7, 1776, shortly after the Declaration of Independence, and then ultimately the postal service was ratified by the U.S. Constitution which officially conferred upon Congress the power "(t)o establish Post Offices and Post Roads" in Article I, Section 8.

Essentially, the present postal service descends in an unbroken line from the system Franklin originally planned and placed into operation. However, with the changes to and expansion of territory, population, and evolving technology--- from foot to pony to rail to boat to plane to the internet---the United States Postal Service has been constantly evolving over 230 years. The days when mail was delivered to Revolutionary War soldiers on foot because the postmaster could not afford a horse have long passed.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is currently a quasi-agency or department of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is considered “an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States,” as it is wholly owned by the government and controlled indirectly by the President. 39 U.S.C. 201. The mission of the USPS is prescribed by statute:

“(t)he Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the nation together through the personal, educational, literary and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.”
39 U.S.C. 101.

According to the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, the operational authority of the USPS vests in a board of governors appointed by the President and confirmed with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. The Postal Reorganizational Act of 1970. The board has a similar role to a corporate board of directors, overseeing and directing policy and procedures, budgets, labor-management relations and the like. The United States Postmaster General is appointed by the board of governors, serves as chief operating officer and supervises the day to day activities of the postal service. Postal rates and mail classifications are considered by a separate five PCI card holders Postal Rate Commission for adoption by the board of governors.

It should be noted that there are significant postal reform bills pending before the U.S. Senate which would significantly revamp the organization and operations of the USPS. As a part of the 2007 fiscal year proposed budget, the Bush administration “supports enactment of comprehensive postal reform legislation that is fair to taxpayers, ratepayers, and Postal Service employees,” and “does not have an adverse impact on the federal budget.” While this legislation still must clear a number of hurdles before it becomes law, it appears that postal reform may be on the not so distant horizon.

Presently, the USPS is the third-largest employer in the United States (just behind the Department of Defense and Wal-Mart), and operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated 170,000 vehicles. It has been estimated that if the USPS were a private corporation, it would be the tenth largest company in the nation. The USPS delivers over 200 billion pieces of mail annually to over 140 million homes and businesses, and is by far the largest postal service in the world.

The USPS enjoys a government monopoly on most first-class mail and standard mail, and as an affiliate of the federal government, the USPS is not required to pay any of the federal or state income taxes that regular businesses normally pay. The legal mandate to the USPS is generally that it operate on a “break even” profit margin:

“(p)ostal rates and fees shall provide sufficient revenues so that the total estimated income and appropriations to the Postal Service will equal as nearly as practicable total estimated costs of the Postal Service.”
39 U.S.C. 3621.

The legal station of the USPS has been argued in front of and addressed by our courts. Indeed, in the very recent case of United States Postal Service v. Flamingo Industries (USA), Ltd., 540 U.S. 736 (2004)

The remaining question, then, is whether for purposes of the antitrust laws the Postal Service is a person separate from the United States itself. It is not. The statutory designation of the Postal Service as an "independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States" is not consistent with the idea that it is an entity existing outside the Government. The statutory instruction that the Postal Service is an establishment "of the executive branch of the Government of the United States" indicates just the contrary.

Our conclusion is consistent with the nationwide, public responsibilities of the Postal Service. The Postal Service has different goals, obligations, and powers from private corporations. Its goals are not those of private enterprise. The most important difference is that it does not seek profits, but only to break even, 39 U. S. C. §3621, which is consistent with its public character. It also has broader obligations, including the provision of universal mail delivery, the provision of free mail delivery to the certain classes of persons, §§3201-3405, and, most recently, increased public responsibilities related to national security. Finally, the Postal Service has many powers more characteristic of Government than of private enterprise, including its state-conferred monopoly on mail delivery, the power of eminent domain, and the power to conclude international postal agreements.

On the other hand, but in ways still relevant to the non-applicability of the antitrust laws to the Postal Service, its powers are more limited than those of private businesses.  The Postal Service's public characteristics and responsibilities indicate it should be treated under the antitrust laws as part of the Government of the United States, not a market participant separate from it.

The Postal Service, in both form and function, is not a separate antitrust person from the United States.  It is part of the Government of the United States and so is not controlled by the antitrust laws.  Emphasis supplied.   http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&navby=case&vol=000&invol=02-1290

Mail Classifications

There are a variety of mail products available through the USPS depending on the needs of the mail customer and the internal requirements of the postal service. They include, among others, 1st Class mail, Standard mail, Bulk mail, Parcel post, Priority mail, and Express mail. For the customers of USJunkmail, two classifications of mail that especially relate to our efforts to reduce that unsolicited junk mail that continuously arrives at your doorstep or in your mailbox:

First Class mail: consists of personal letters, bills, statements, business correspondence

Standard mail: consists of impersonal messages, promotional materials, marketing mail, catalogues, sales items, minimum 200 pieces of mail of identical weight and content or 50 lbs. of addressed pieces, presorted prior to depositing at post office

Standard mail was formerly known as “3rd Class” mail or “bulk” mail and has even been referred to as “direct” mail in marketing circles. This is the type of unsolicited mail which originates from personal data brokers and then is mailed by direct marketers who enter into reduced postal service arrangements with the USPS in order to mail billions of tons of usually unwanted mail to households across the country. In 2005 alone, over 100 billion pieces of such uninvited mail graced our homes and businesses.

"Junk Mail"
Both the direct marketers and even the USPS apparently view the phrase “junk mail” with disdain or suggest that it mischaracterizes the nature of such mail. However, it seems more logical and compelling that the term “junk mail” was not a phrase which was created by advertisers or marketers, but instead steadily arose in common American jargon when folks opened their daily personal mail only to find a barrage of unrequested mailings from unknown origins---not the personal letters and business correspondence they expected---rather mail that made it into the trash. This was mail thrust upon people without so much as a simple inquiry as to whether it was wanted or unwanted before it was sent. It is no wonder that this mail began being called “junk” by typical Americans—that is exactly what it is to almost all that receive it. Junk is defined as material that is regarded as worthless or meaningless or which is discarded. Given that mass marketers expect that over 97% of the standard mail will not create a positive response and will be discarded, is it any wonder that the American public would term this postal paper as “junk mail”? Junk mail is no different in nature than computer spam or telemarketing: the common denominator is that the sales pitch was never requested by the recipient whose personal identity was shared with others in order to make contact with the unsuspecting customer. Computer spam and telemarketing calls are now strictly regulated by federal and state laws and regulations while for the most part junk mail is not.

Despite claims by mailers that the phrases “junk mail” and “junk mailers” are inaccurate, these very same terms have a place in Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary:

junk mail: unsolicited commercial mail (1950-55).

junk mailer:
1. an organization that sends junk mail in bulk, esp. to solicit business or charitable contributions; 2. a business that specializes in preparing and distributing junk mail for others.

Despite repeated denials in the mailing industry about the improper usage of the terms “junk mail” or “junk mailers”, it is well known that these phrases have been part of our accepted American speech for over 50 years.

More important, when “junk mail” became a commonly used phrase in the 1950’s, it was not widely known about the current pressing issues of the environmental damage created by junk mail nor the current disturbing problems with personal information compromises or identity theft which result from data mining, gathering and sharing. With the advent of damage to personal identity sometimes caused by the creation of large databases which are needed to send junk mail, and the stuffing of our landfills with billions of tons of unwanted junk mail each year, the use of the phrase “junk mail” becomes even more appropriate than it was a half century ago.

Sources: United States Postal Service, United States Constitution, United Stated Code, United States Supreme Court, Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute, www.epic.org. www.apwu.org.


Learn More:
  Identity theft

Your time
Other facts

How to solve your junk mail problems?

Junk mail defined

sources, glossary


  ©USJunkMail.com, Inc. 2006   

About Us  |  Contact Us Privacy Policy  |  Careers  |  Associate Login