National Newspaper Association files comments with USPS

Jul 8, 2024

On Monday, July 8, National Newspaper Association Past President Matt Paxton, publisher of The News-Gazette in Lexington, Virginia, filed comments to the USPS on behalf of NNA and its member newspapers regarding securing bundles of flats. 

View a PDF of the letter here and read snippets below. 

  • Anecdotal information indicates that few member newspapers own or can access equipment that would apply bands to the bundles being prepared for mailing. ... Acquiring the equipment needed to apply the plastic bands would place a substantial financial burden on small newspapers at a time when they are already under financial stress.
  • In our experience, the newspaper preparations do not add to the breakage problems materially. Crafting a rule that adds to the burden of these mailers requires differentiation that could be better addressed in the proposal. 
  • Proposed modification to the Proposed Rule ... NNA proposes that where a newspaper has been directed to enter loose bundles in flats trays, the rule clearly does not require them to return to bundle preparation. Our proposal addresses those bundles that are bound and may be covered by the new rule. We suggest that the Proposed Rule be modified to allow applicable flats that are carrier route sorted and entered at the entry office DDU, at authorized Exceptional Dispatch offices, and at S&DCs for local delivery to be bundled using two cross-strapped bands (as proposed in the rule change) or cross-strapped heavy cord or twine of at least 100 lbs. working load secured with double square knots or similar secure means. Because these bundles are not transported by USPS, nor are they worked on automated equipment such as bundle sorters and conveyors, they are not subjected to the stresses that would appear to make bundle breakage more of an issue. NNA does not object to the elimination of rubber bands.
  • NNA has no objection to the proposed exemption for mailings of flats pieces be allowed to be prepared loose in flats trays. We are aware that some members have been told by their SCF or plant that they prefer this preparation. We believe that the 500-piece maximum is too low and ask that this be amended to a maximum of 1000 pieces per mailing.
  • NNA members are committed to working with USPS to facilitate efficient handling of bundles of newspapers both locally and within the larger delivery system. We believe that requiring the use of plastic bands is not necessary for bundles not being transported or subject to sorting and conveyor equipment, and that proper use of appropriate cordage or twine to secure bundles will be sufficient for both the mailer and USPS for local mail entry.