Postal Service to cut Saturday mail

  • Follow Latest News

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan aimed at saving about $2 billion annually, the financially struggling agency says.

In an announcement scheduled for later today, the service is expected to say the Saturday mail cutback would begin in August.

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.

It was not immediately clear how the service could eliminate Saturday mail without congressional approval.

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

Material prepared for the Wednesday press conference by Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, says Postal Service market research and other research has 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 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 in a statement prepared for the announcement. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

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

“The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation,” Donahoe said. “The Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the U.S. Mail.”

He 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.

The agency’s biggest problem — and the majority of the red ink in 2012 — was not due to reduced mail flow but rather to mounting mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses. Without that and other related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion, lower than the previous year.

The health payments are a requirement imposed by Congress in 2006 that the post office set aside $55 billion in an account to cover future medical costs for retirees. The idea was to put $5.5 billion a year into the account for 10 years. That’s $5.5 billion the post office doesn’t have.

No other government agency is required to make such a payment for future medical benefits. Postal authorities wanted Congress to address the issue last year, but lawmakers finished their session without getting it done. So officials are moving ahead to accelerate their own plan for cost-cutting.

The Postal Service is in the midst of a major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, it has cut annual costs by about $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or by 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations, officials say.

They say that while the change in the delivery schedule announced Wednesday is one of the actions needed to restore the financial health of the service, they still urgently need lawmakers to act. Officials say they continue to press for legislation that will give them greater flexibility to control costs and make new revenues.

Comments (19) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
justthefacts
20419
Points
justthefacts 02/06/13 - 09:29 am
8
1
Finally

Took long enough.

itsanotherday1
40304
Points
itsanotherday1 02/06/13 - 09:36 am
6
0
They should have to dump

They should have to dump their retirement bennies for $.40 on the dollar like private corps do.

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 02/06/13 - 09:42 am
7
1
Letter to Congress

Here is what I sent my elected representatives in November 2012:

In response to the "story" I have linked at the end of this correspondence, I have some very real and likely effective ideas to halt the hemorrhaging in the US Postal Service. I find it unacceptable that measures cannot be implemented rather than talking about the money being lost each year. The following are my simple ideas:

1 - Stop giving away (and making so many) Priority Mail Supplies. With the exception of FLAT RATE boxes, PM supplies aren't required to use PM and for goodness sake they shouldn't be free.

2 - Stop Saturday Mail Delivery: Gone are the days of needing 6 day a week delivery. It will be different, but the mail will still get delivered.

3 - Stop issuing new stamps and paying artists to design new ones. Millions are wasted in printing something nobody really even cares about. 99.9% of all postage stamps and the envelopes end up in the landfill. Print a normal, normally attractive stamp and leave it at that. Of course it needs to be copy-proof, but the stamps we are producing are costing too much to implement them.

4 - Use technology to sell postage. You can currently do your PACKAGE mailing from home, but what about first class stamped mail? You can pay third parties a lot of money to do this but for the homeowner its not feasible. Use the Stamps.Com model and make one available for the home user. A reasonable user fee would generate income and probably increase the use of the mail system.

5 - Cut the fat. Eliminate the overhead in personnel, particularly executive positions. Hire known successful executives from UPS, FEDEX, etc to help further streamline not only staff organization, but delivery as well. Optimize the delivery method!

I think this covers my general thoughts. I hope these are of some help and that they will be considered in upcoming legislation and or decision making.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/49992517

seenitB4
81577
Points
seenitB4 02/06/13 - 09:48 am
4
2
Finally

A step in the right direction.....but let me say this...some post offices have cut to the bone...so to speak....new puter directons esp. for international mail is very time consuming....the lines are out the door at times....give them a break...I know some workers..I gave birth to one of them....the are working hard for the money!
Be nice please....

soapy_725
43555
Points
soapy_725 02/06/13 - 09:51 am
1
0
No amount of money saving
Unpublished

initiatives can prevent the continued escalating cost of the USPS. The federal government cannot run a business. If the delivery was once a week by horseback it would not be competitive. Can't run an efficient mail delivery or an efficient railroad system. Government devours business. No ifs, and or buts.

USPS delivery should be an entitlement. Why not? Free mail delivery. Phones are an entitlement. Internet access is an entitlement.

YeCats
10054
Points
YeCats 02/06/13 - 10:01 am
4
0
Long overdue.

Long overdue.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 02/06/13 - 10:38 am
1
0
The problem is the worker's pay
Unpublished

The amount of money a mail carrier makes is slightly unreal. The fact that the mail delivery driver works on evaluated time instead of real time is also a great benefit.....only to the mail delivery driver....although security of the mail is obviously important for....ummmm...security purposes....the whole thing can be revamped.....starting with only paying each mail carrier 1/2 of what they are making now. Which still would be well into the double digits an hour. They are chewing their own foot off. No sympathy.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 02/06/13 - 10:40 am
1
0
The fact that they state....
Unpublished

that 100% of the purchase price of stamps goes towards paying their workers should tell you something.....stamps keep going up....up....and up. Sooo....they are still getting raises....raises....raises. Yet complain about being in debt?

Time1
98
Points
Time1 02/06/13 - 11:29 am
2
0
Saw this coming just like

Saw this coming just like Hillary Clinton running for President in the future.

OJP
5935
Points
OJP 02/06/13 - 12:04 pm
0
8
Thanks, GOP.

Break an agency and then use it as an example of a broken agency.

Frita's Boss
180
Points
Frita's Boss 02/06/13 - 12:46 pm
4
0
USPS = VCR. The service

USPS = VCR.

The service they offer is completely out of date. Go ahead and cut Wednesday service too.

It will happen eventually.

justthefacts
20419
Points
justthefacts 02/06/13 - 12:49 pm
5
1
Re: GOP breaking agency

While a terribly simplistic comment, it reminds us that there are many agencies the GOP should break.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 02/06/13 - 01:29 pm
4
0
Government Run Does Not Work!!

The USPS is just another proof that government cannot, I repeat, cannot run a business that can and should make money! They are a top-heavy(too many chiefs) and bloated(too many employees) "entity"! Plus, they hire many people who have some federal employment behind them, and in some cases are already receiving a retirement package. They are like an abyss, there is no seeing the End of the money-$,$$$,$$$,$$$.00(that's billions!).I know there are some good folks that work for the PS, but, there are just as many more that do not deserve the job or the money. I am one of the people that use the PS, I do Not pay anything electronically, so about once amonth I buy stamps. Our little post office has 3 service openings, and to see all three open is monumental! Two is a great occasion and unfortunately one is the norm, and do not go in there at lunchtime, it is a line to the door! I did go one day at lunch time, and I asked the person why didn't he have some help......they were on their lunch break! Dropping Saturday service will not do any good, someone will figure a way to get OVERTIME!!

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 02/06/13 - 02:12 pm
0
0
The problem is the pay is so
Unpublished

The problem is the pay is so high for employees of USPS and the raises keep going up...cost of living increases etc etc....add that to a constant loss of business and what does that equal? There is so much change they could make to turn the whole thing around in such a short period of time....but government ran equalls yea right.

seenitB4
81577
Points
seenitB4 02/06/13 - 02:18 pm
4
3
What is killing the Post Office

Don't blame it all on the employees....
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/who-killed-the-posta...

Remember the housing industry---the banking industry--the car industry....

OJP
5935
Points
OJP 02/06/13 - 02:27 pm
1
2
@justthefacts:

Bush and the GOP created a requirement that the USPS pre-fund its retirement obligations for the next 75 years.

Do you know any company (private or public) that could operate with that kind of requirement?

Without it, the USPS would just about break even.

OJP
5935
Points
OJP 02/06/13 - 02:29 pm
2
1
@Jane18:

Tell that to the U.S. military.

Common.sense
465
Points
Common.sense 02/06/13 - 02:38 pm
3
4
Jane18

You say that like they don't deserve their lunch break because it inconvenienced you.

Common.sense
465
Points
Common.sense 02/06/13 - 02:39 pm
2
1
Sweet, no mail is good mail!

Sweet, no mail is good mail!

thauch12
6161
Points
thauch12 02/06/13 - 05:52 pm
5
3
The Problem...

The argument that comes up time and time again is that companies like UPS can afford to pay its workers much higher salaries. Well UPS is a well-managed private company that is actually making money. The US Postal Service on the other hand...not so much.

Here's your problem: http://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/US-Postal-Service-Mail-Carrier-Salaries-...

There is no reason why someone without a college degree doing a relatively low-risk job needs to be paid so much. It is absolutely ridiculous, especially considering the fact the job is quickly growing to be unnecessary. And the Postal Service still has to ask why they're losing BILLIONS every year? Add to that a climate in which workers think they are unfirable (unions...) and it's little question why I prefer FedEx/UPS.

seenitB4
81577
Points
seenitB4 02/06/13 - 06:22 pm
5
3
Oh my...^^^^

Many postal workers have college degrees....you know what is amazing to me.....some think a college degree automatically makes one a genius..and worthy of a high paying position NOT....B Gates didn't finish college....& many other very wealthy people didn't either....in todays world a degree is not always worth the paper it is printed on....so many need technical training & are not getting it...shame because they can't really make a decent living...

Also day after day I see uppity posts about how some ---such as firemen/policemen don't qualify for high pay...WHAT A CROCK OF DOODLE....some spouting their remarks couldn't walk a day in some of these jobs....
Don't let the rain pour down on that ole nose high in the sky....cock a doodle do...

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 02/07/13 - 02:21 am
5
0
Junk mail

I very rarely get anything but junk mail. I only use about 2 or 3 stamps a year and that's for Christmas cards. I do everything online. If something is that important, I overnight it with the most reliable company, UPS. I got rid of my house phone and the mailbox can go too as far as I'm concerned.

LillyfromtheMills
12659
Points
LillyfromtheMills 02/07/13 - 10:05 am
0
0
Sponsorship

Why are they sponsoring bicycling?
The employees were going postal before, can you imagine the workload when they cut out Sat. delivery.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Commission rejects tax jump

Seven commissioners nixed a proposed tax increase Monday that would cost a typical homeowner $70 a year, leaving the countywide millage unset with just a few days to meet state deadlines.
Search Augusta jobs