Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Postal Service's Plan to Eliminate Saturday Service is Delayed in the Mail

Okay, it wasn't delayed "in the mail."  But it has been delayed.  The Wall Street Journal reports:
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Postal Service will delay its plan to end Saturday mail delivery in August, in a bow to mandates from Congress.

The agency said earlier this year it would end most Saturday mail starting in August, in a cost-cutting move that was also backed by the Obama administration's budget plan released Wednesday.

But Congress passed legislation last month to block the planned cuts of the Postal Service, which operates as an independent government agency that is subject to congressional oversight.

The agency's board of governors relented on Wednesday, saying language in the latest government funding measure effectively prevents the cuts to Saturday delivery.

"Although disappointed with this congressional action, the board will follow the law and...delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority," the board said in a statement.


Congress has specifically required six-day mail delivery since 1983 and extended that mandate through September in the latest funding bill.

But there is some disagreement among lawmakers about what exactly the law dictates. Some have said Saturday letter delivery could be ended if the Postal Service kept delivering packages and express mail on the weekends, as was planned.


The conflict highlights the difficulties the Obama administration and Congress face when cutting funding in politically sensitive areas. Skipping Saturdays could save as much as $2 billion a year at an agency that lost $15.9 billion last year.

Wednesday's budget plan from the administration urged Congress to pass legislation to reshape the Postal Service. It calls for reducing mail delivery to five days starting in June—two months earlier than the Postal Service previously announced....

The president's plan "will allow the Postal Service to realign its business plan to better compete in the changing marketplace of increasingly digital communication," according to the budget document.
Under the administration's budget proposal, the Postal Service would eliminate the equivalent of 23,579 jobs. The agency has said to reduce its headcount, it would need to scale back operations, including changes to Saturday delivery and closing processing plants.



Unigov said...

This is what socialism produces, never-ending subsidies for pointless economic activity. Residential customers can easily get by with 2 deliveries a week, yet Congress keeps it at 6.

I have nothing against USPS, and I don't want mass layoffs. I would like to see it wound down thru attrition, to 2 deliveries a week for residential, 3 for business. Wind it down over 10 years. No RIF's, no layoffs, no pay cuts...but treat it like a business, not the WPA.

Nicolas Martin said...

Is there a single member of congress who has advocated changing the law to allow private competition for First Class mail delivery?