Communications and PR Committee Update
by Dave Phipps, Chair
Thinking of You Week
The Communications and PR Committee has created a task force to bring “Thinking of You Week” to the USA in 2018. Led by Nicky Burton of Calypso Cards, the task force is building a launch plan based on the good example of the GCA in the U.K., where Thinking of You Week is now in its fifth year. Held September 24th to the 30th, the campaign encourages everyone to send a greeting card or note every day for a week. Publishers and retailers are invited to get involved in their local community to create an event to help spread this wave of happiness and caring. Promotional postcards for publishers to send to retailers in shipments will be available at NSS. The GCA has created a website with more information at www.thinkingofyouweekusa.com.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the GCA’s Industry Survey; we had a great response from publishers, retailers, associates and sales reps. We’ll share data and analysis later this spring with a full presentation at Convention in September. The Survey would not have been possible without the MPI Group. Our thanks to CEO John Brandt (who is also a GCA member through his Auto(in)correct card company for lending his company’s time and expertise to help develop, implement and analyze the survey.
GCA Associate Committee Update
by David Wilke, Vice-Chair
Leader Paper Products
GCA Associate Members take on the Big Apple
GCA Associate members are preparing for the 2018 Supply Side trade show in conjunction with the National Stationery Show in New York next month. The publishers and suppliers team up to present this annual tradition at the Jakob K. Javits Convention Center May 20 – 23. Visit Associate member booths to see their latest capabilities and most popular offerings in the back of the 1600,1700 and 1800 aisles.
While in New York, the spring meeting for the Associates Committee will be held on Monday morning, May 21 at 8:00 a.m. at the Javits center. All Associate members are invited and encouraged to attend. Complete meeting details will be distributed to Associate members.
Stanley O. Styles Industry Excellence Award Presented to GCA Associate Member Tom O’Connor
National Paper Trade Association’s (NPTA) highest honor is awarded to an individual who has had a distinguished career in the paper industry. Each year, NPTA selects an industry leader who has made a positive impact through innovation and dedication, and whose character represents the ideals for which leaders all strive. The 2018 Stanley O. Styles Industry Excellence Award was awarded to Tom O’Connor, Jr. of Mohawk Fine Papers, a long-time GCA Associate member company.
Postal Affairs Committee Update
by Sarah Moe Meyers, Chair
Postal Reform: Off the Hook
Fish stories. We’ve all heard about the big one that barely got away.
Well, sometimes they are true, and you can believe me when I tell you that in March we came closer than at any point in the last ten years to enacting postal reform during negotiations over the massive Omnibus spending bill. In fact, we had three of the “Power 4” ready to support including Senator Tom Carper’s (D-DE) compromise reform bill in the package. Unfortunately, time ran out to get House Speaker Paul Ryan’s support (R-WI), however, he did offer his commitment to get a bill done this year.
There were significant signs of movement that have not been seen before. Senator Ron Johnson moved far away from his previous position that the Postal Service should go into bankruptcy and even offered a compromise appropriations strategy to cover the cost of the bill to Medicare. Even though this proved unviable, it allowed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to join Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in supporting adding postal reform to the Omnibus. Later in the negotiations, Speaker Ryan opened a can of worms offering a compromise to add the reform bill, but at a much higher offset amount. Time ran out before they could work through the policy nuances, but overall this represents real progress.
Hook, Line and Sinker
Immediately after the Omnibus was finalized, Senator Carper, joined by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced S. 2629, The Postal Reform Act of 2018: Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency. Their bill updates the legislation approved last year by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in three key areas. First, it fully offsets the ten-year cost to Medicare for integrating postal retirees while maintaining House Leadership’s priority of maintaining the requirement to fully prefund retiree healthcare costs. Second, it includes protections for rural mail service that are key to gaining support in the Senate. Lastly, it accommodates concerns on the part of key constituencies in the mailing community, magazine publishers, that have allowed all of the mailing sector to come together in support of the bill. It has also picked up a strong endorsement of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
On April 12, the Trump Administration issued an executive order addressing the Postal Service. The order forms a task force led by the Secretary of the Treasury to consider reforms necessary to stabilize the Postal Service. While this may appear to “muddy the water,” the task force is required to present a report in 120 days. It is a good sign that the administration sees the importance of Postal Reform. However, we’ll need to work to make sure this does not become a red herring. Ideally, the task force will see that Congress and the mailing industry have grappled with an extensive range of reform possibilities over the last three congresses, and S. 2629 has emerged with incredible support throughout the mailing industry.
We will monitor the task force activities, and engage appropriately. Further, we will hold steady and work to attach postal reform legislation to one of the few remaining must-pass legislative opportunities before the end of the year. To support this effort, we have mounted an extensive grassroots and grasstops advocacy campaign so far, but we’ll have to keep up the pressure. I am confident that with the entire mailing industry aligned and the support from broader associations like NAM, we can reel this one in. We’ll need the help of every GCA member.
Reel it in
Click here to join the broader mailing industry in contacting Congress in support of the new Senate postal bill. If we can all work together on one final push, we’ll have a lot more than a fish story to tell!
If you are interested in joining a Committee, contact GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty.