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US Postal Service plans to end letter delivery on Saturdays


By Noel Young, Correspondent

February 6, 2013 | 3 min read

The U.S. Postal Service wants to end Saturday mail deliveries as soon as August to cut financial losses.

US Post: Never on a Saturday?

The service, which lost $15.9 billion last year, said it would continue six-day deliveries of packages, deliver mail to PO boxes and keep open retail locations that now operate on Saturdays, said Bloomberg.

The USPS will now ask ask Congress for permission to make the cut - but a tough fight is expected.

In Britain the Royal Mail, despite rumblings down the years, is still committed to six-day delivery as part of the "universal service." "As far as I know there are no plans to change that," said a Royal Mail spokeswoman. In Canada, Saturday delivery stopped as far back as 1969 and the country is still standing.

By ending delivery of letters on Saturdays, the US service would reduce costs by $2 billion a year and cut 45 million work hours annually, the USPS said in a statement released before a 10 a.m. news conference in Washington.

Lawmakers have stifled previous cost-cutting proposals, including efforts to end Saturday mail delivery, said Bloomberg. It is not known if the Post Office can go ahead without Congress’s approval.

The US post office’s widening losses are now estimated at $25 million a day. Mail is down 26 percent from its 2006 peak. The postal service skipped $11.1 billion of required payments over the past two years for future retirees’ health costs - and exhausted its $15 billion borrowing authority last September.

The service now says it will run out of money in October .

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, called the move “disastrous” and said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe should resign or be ousted.

“If the Postmaster General is unwilling or unable to develop a smart growth strategy that serves the nearly 50 percent of business mailers that want to keep six-day service, and if he arrogantly thinks he is above the law or has the right to decide policy matters that should be left to Congress, it is time for him to step down,” Rolando said in an e-mailed statement.

About 5 percent of 525,000 employees in January took an early retirement offer. The service has already cut about 60,000 full-time jobs in the past two years.

Donahoe, last month, urged Congress to make postal legislation “an urgent priority.”

“We are on an unsustainable financial path,” Donahoe said. “The Postal Service should not have to do business this way.”


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