ONTD Political

USPS announces Saturday service cuts in effort to slash costs

4:45 pm - 02/06/2013
Get ready for some big changes in your mail service. After losing $16 billion last year, the postmaster general announced Wednesday that the Postal Service intends to halt Saturday delivery of first-class mail by this summer, Aug. 1. That means most mailers, letters and catalogs would not arrive on Saturdays, ending a 150-year tradition.

The plan to shrink delivery from six days a week to five would only affect first-class mail, while packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still get delivered on Saturdays.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., says the move will save the struggling postal service $2 billion a year. "It's a proper business decision and (in the) long run, good for the Postal Service and good for Americans."

The Postal Service has lost $41 billion dollars over the past six years as more and more Americans turned to private shippers, email, and online banking.

To save money, the Postal Service slashed hours of service at about half the nation's 26,000 post offices and trimmed its workforce by 35 percent.

But it wasn't enough. David Walker, a former government watchdog, is part of a panel looking at possible postal reforms. Walker told CBS News' Nancy Cordes the new measure "won't come close to solving the postal service's problem. It's got to look at more fundamental changes in its infrastructure, its compensation costs, its retirement obligations, and also what it does and who does its business."

But there's just so much the Postal Service can do without congressional approval. Despite years of begging by postmasters general, Congress never passed a reform bill that would have given the Postal Service more flexibility to modernize and streamline its service.

Asked whether the Postal Service is making this announcement because they're trying to force Congress to act, Coburn said, "No, I don't think so at all. Look, they're in survival mode. You're not going to have any post office. I mean, here's the alternative: They're losing $25 million dollars a day. A day. They have to do something."

Coburn and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the two top Republicans on the House and Senate committees that oversee the Postal Service will issue a letter Wednesday going to House and Senate leaders, asking them to support the elimination of Saturday service and change the law that has prevented the USPS from doing this in the past. The letter reads, in part, "What has impeded the Postal Service from phasing out universal Saturday delivery of letters is an appropriations rider carried in law since 1984 that ties six-day mail delivery to the acceptance of roughly $100 million in reimbursement from the federal government for services rendered by the Postal Service. According to Postal Service estimates, the rider constitutes a more than $2.5 billion annual unfunded mandate. With the current [fiscal year] 2013 government funding resolution set to expire at the end of March, we ask that the six-day mail rider be omitted from any subsequent government funding legislation, enabling the Postal Service to implement this necessary reform without impediment."

And, they point out: "This change has bipartisan support. President Obama has repeatedly called for moving to five-day delivery of mail, most recently in his FY 2013 budget. Furthermore, according to an October 2011 Quinnipiac poll fully 79 percent of Americans endorse the shift."

Technically, the Postal Service is not allowed to its reduce service unless Congress changes the law, but lawyers for the Postal Service think that they have "figured out a way around the law."

This is not good.
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romp 7th-Feb-2013 05:14 am (UTC)
Why is it not good? Hours for workers?

They've been saying something had to give and that this might be it. As someone who had Sat delivery in the US and then none in Canada, I can testify that you get used to it.
rex_dart 7th-Feb-2013 05:35 am (UTC)
My company uses USPS for over 90% of our orders, and our customers are kids and college students who can't afford exorbitant private courier prices. We also have a lot of orders that are time sensitive. Losing Saturday package service would be a huge inconvenience and hurt one of the small businesses/job creators congress is always saying they want to support.
alexvdl 7th-Feb-2013 05:19 am (UTC)
I wonder how much they would save if they went to straight five day a week mail. I would imagine that the first class mail is the least expensive/difficult mail to deliver. I also think it's interesting how there's a historical record of Congress mandating things and then leaving funding up to "eh, you'll figure it out".

rex_dart 7th-Feb-2013 05:33 am (UTC)
Five day a week mail would really be a huge inconvenience for those of us who ship out dozens of packages with USPS every single day and have customers who expect things in the timeliest manner possible. USPS is a vital service that saves both our business and our customers tons of money for the same quality and timeliness of service as a private courier, and cutting down package delivery days would really fuck over small businesses like ours and our younger customer demographic, and that hurts the economy. Of course congress is never fucking thinking of these things in those terms. The postal service isn't a goddamn luxury.
chimbleysweep 7th-Feb-2013 05:44 am (UTC)
This freaked me out but I believe that packages are getting mailed out six days a week. It was in another article somewhere.

eta: And this one. I just missed it.


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.


I rely heavily on being able to ship packages (I do print sales of my art), so I had a mini heart attack when I read about this. Everything else is so fucking expensive.

Edited at 2013-02-07 05:45 am (UTC)
__sasami__ 7th-Feb-2013 07:23 am (UTC)
But if you're shipping packages through First Class Mail it doesn't matter :(. I sell online and about 95% of what I ship are First Class packages.
synthesizia 7th-Feb-2013 05:46 am (UTC)
Dammit. I knew this was coming. Now I'll never get my job back at the post office D:
This is going to shift a lot of business towards UPS and FedEx.
romp 7th-Feb-2013 07:31 am (UTC)
at the risk of being naive, maybe the USPS could change how it works? I'm not an expert, just read the one article...
awfulbliss 7th-Feb-2013 05:56 am (UTC)
Needs to be done, unfortunately.
rex_dart 7th-Feb-2013 06:00 am (UTC)
Or they could stop passing legislation designed to financially sabotage the Postal Service. Or they could, you know, take some money out of the defense budget.
jwaneeta 7th-Feb-2013 06:03 am (UTC)

I will SO miss standing in line for half an hour, while you piss around in plain veiw, secure in you gummint job. I will also miss your deliberate dead stare, as you feign bafflement about my tiny, simple, pre signed label. I AM SO SAD that people like me don't want their entire day ruined by your poisonous attitude, and have found other, less toxic ways to mail.

I AM SO SAD that we got tired of your clammy, condescending, glacial, arrogant incompetence. I AM CRYING SO HARD that you won't deliver on Saturdays ANYMOAR OH oh Oh

jwaneeta 7th-Feb-2013 06:06 am (UTC)
But I do bet you're kinda sorry now. Eh? YOU BASTARDS.

Taste the wave. Of UNEMPLOYMENT.
othellia 7th-Feb-2013 06:48 am (UTC)
They need Moist von Lipwig.
magus_69 7th-Feb-2013 09:10 am (UTC)
I'm all for that, especially if the other Discworld characters get to come in and straighten things out. Imagine how the current Congress would behave if they had a little chat with Lord Vetinari.
thrace_ 7th-Feb-2013 07:10 am (UTC)
The USPS is really underrated, imo. You can send a letter anywhere in the United states for $0.46. Forty-six cents! (Remember when that shizz was like 36 cents?) The USPS has never lost one of my letters or packages and for some reason I've never encountered a mean USPS worker. I've dealt with them extensively in both a small southern town and a big New England city and, speaking only to my experience, they've been uniformly knowledgeable, professional, and helpful. Congress needs to help sort the USPS out for real.
windy_lea 7th-Feb-2013 10:02 am (UTC)
I've been in a post office or two that seemed to operate at half the speed they normally do, and the staff there were unpleasant, but I agree with you. Most of my visits to the post office didn't take that long, and staff attitudes tended toward efficient and no-nonsense but not unfriendly. I don't need them to be as friendly as a waiter or anything. Plus, priority mail has always worked out for me, and the only mail I can recall getting late were bills, which I suspect the companies in question procrastinated on sending.
furrygreen 7th-Feb-2013 11:39 am (UTC)
I work for the USPS! I hope they don't continue the cuts. They've been cutting so much lately. A lot of the problem with money is the damn congresses fault! The USPS is like a freakin' cash cow. It's always been the one gov't branch that hasn't needed any tax money to keep in operation.

And then congress says the USPS MUST put money into their retirement fund for 75 years for each employee. Even with that, we've been making profits until the last six months.

Can you imagine? Congress slaps this onto the USPS around 2002 (when the USPS refuses to spy on its customers) and it's only now that it's starting to slow us down. It's such BS!
tabaqui 7th-Feb-2013 11:50 am (UTC)
Fuck Congress for fucking up the USPS! A lot of people *cannot afford* Fed Ex or UPS, and if *anyone* really thinks they're going to step in and be cheaper/do the job for the same price, they're nuts.

I love our little local post office, have always enjoyed going there, and am pissed that Congress seems hell-bent on hamstringing it.
blackjedii 7th-Feb-2013 12:23 pm (UTC)
The whole post office issue really really terrifies me tbqh. Too many businesses depend on the post office for it to go bust and I'm 99.9% certain that there is another group ready and waiting to take over and charge way too much to deliver mail.

Said group had plenty of lobbyists and Republican friends, of course who would love to see the post office close down entirely because WHAT DO YOU MEAN GOVERNMENT SERVICE PRIVATE SECTOR.

Edited at 2013-02-07 12:27 pm (UTC)
callmetothejedi 7th-Feb-2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
I love the post office near my apartment. It's really convenient to stop in there if I need on a Saturday when I'm running errands. I don't mail packages over 13 ounces that often, and the only person who sends me medium/large packages with any regularity is my mother, but I do think that stopping Saturday service could/will hurt small business owners. I also think that stopping Saturday delivery could drive more people towards paying their bills online. I mean, I'm sure a lot of people have switched to paying their bills online anyway, but I think that this decision will only increase that number.
lone_concertina Found on tumblr:7th-Feb-2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
During the Bush administration, when Republicans had control of both houses, they passed a law that requires the post office to fully fund its pension for 75 years in advance, which effectively freezes most of its money. If they could fund it, say, 30 years in advance, we’d be talking about the USPS’ profit.

The specific purpose is to render the USPS untenable in order to replace with with private carriers.
mutive Re: Found on tumblr:7th-Feb-2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
That's one of the things that bothers me most.

It would be one thing if USPS was horribly inefficient for one reason or another. But when you look at what they do, they're pretty freaking amazing. (Able to deliver even to very remote areas for small prices that can't rise at a very fast rate. In addition to competing with private carriers + the Internet + paying their workers fairly well.) But as it is, they're doing an amazing job, but are stuck with one ridiculous rule that makes it almost impossible to do their jobs.

I can't even imagine what it would be like if every company in the US had to prove that it could fund all worker's pensions (and well...actually grant pensions) for the next 75 years. Or even 50. Or, heck, even 10.
nycscribbler 8th-Feb-2013 02:02 pm (UTC)
That's what I was thinking, but you'd have to find some clear way to differentiate between commercial mail and residential mail.
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