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What do you think about the Post Office stopping Saturday mail delivery?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to disburse packages six days a week, an apparent end-run around an unaccommodating Congress.

The service expects the Saturday mail cutback to begin the week of Aug. 5 and to save about $2 billion annually, said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe.

"Our financial condition is urgent," Donahoe told a press conference.

The move accentuates one of the agency's strong points - package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet services.

Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday, but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages - and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully appealed to Congress to approve the move. Though an independent agency, the service gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.

Congress has included a ban on five-day delivery in its appropriations bill. But because the federal government is now operating under a temporary spending measure, rather than an appropriations bill, Donahoe says it's the agency's interpretation that it can make the change itself.

"This is not like a `gotcha' or anything like that," he said. The agency is essentially asking Congress not to reimpose the ban when the spending measure expires on March 27 and he said he would work with Congress on the issue.

The agency clearly thinks it has a majority of the American public on its side regarding the change.

Postal Service market research and other research indicated that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs, the agency said.

"The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits," Donahoe said. "We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings."

But the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fredric Rolando, said the end of Saturday mail delivery is "a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers," particularly businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication.

He said the maneuver by Donahoe to make the change "flouts the will of Congress, as expressed annually over the past 30 years in legislation that mandates six-day delivery."

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Tom Coburn M.D., R-Okla., said in a joint statement that they had sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate in support of the elimination of Saturday mail.

They called it "common-sense reform"

Others agreed the Postal Service had little choice.

"If the Congress of the United States refuses to take action to save the U.S. Postal Service, then the Postal Service will have to take action on its own," said corporate communications expert James S. O'Rourke, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame.

He said other action will be needed as well, such as shuttering smaller rural post offices and restructuring employee health care and pension costs.

"It's unclear whether the USPS has the legislative authority to take such actions on its own, but the alternative is the status quo until it is completely cash starved," O'Rourke said in a statement.

The Postal Service made the announcement Wednesday, more than six months before the switch, to give residential and business customers time to plan and adjust, officials said.

Donahoe said the change would mean a combination of employee reassignment and attrition and is expected to achieve cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually when fully implemented.

The agency in November reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion for the last budget year and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in retiree health benefit prepayments to avert bankruptcy.

The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand.


Asked by Ballad at 12:14 AM on Feb. 7, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 45 (193,996 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • The cuts have to happen. We are all just going to have to accept it. Now we have something to tell our kids when we get old. I remember when the Post Office delivered mail on Saturdays!

    Answer by booklover545 at 6:56 PM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • I don't believe they have always delivered on Saturdays anyway. I remember as a kid, we did not have mail delivery on Saturdays.

    Answer by rosiecotton at 2:16 PM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • I have no problem with this. Personally I like the Post Office better then any other service when shipping. It tends to be much cheaper and gets there about the same. They don't add fuel surcharges, miles, etc to stuff either.

    Answer by baconbits at 10:53 AM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • For me no big deal, but I bet that for those postal workers it will be. In the end they will save money but the ones affected will be the people.

    Answer by Alisim at 10:51 AM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • I think one day isn't enough. JMO.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:20 AM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • Its ok for me since we do not receive much in the mail anyway.

    Answer by virginiamama71 at 9:12 AM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • I won't be bothered by not receiving my junk mail until Monday.

    Answer by SWasson at 8:58 AM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • I think it's a smart move. I know I can wait until Monday to get my bills and junk mail. I am pleased that the post office itself will still be open, and package delivery will continue on Saturdays. Those two features are what I was concerned about when this change first started being talked about.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 7:33 AM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • It was a good service to have when needed. I still would rather pay a few dollars to have a package shipped via USPS than pay $25 to have it shipped fed ex.

    Answer by Izsarejman at 1:56 AM on Feb. 7, 2013

  • I dont check the mail on weekends unless I am expecting something so no big deal for us

    Answer by luvmygrandbaby at 12:43 AM on Feb. 7, 2013