Will Saturday cuts save the Postal Service?
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe announced plans to reduce Saturday deliveries beginning in August. The Postal Service says the changes will save $2 billion annually. Though The Postal Service lost $15.9 billion last fiscal year, some in Congress and elsewhere oppose the Saturday cutbacks.
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The president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fredric Rolando, said the cutback 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.Skip to next paragraph
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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."
Despite that opposition, the Postal Service clearly thinks it has a majority of the American public on its side. The service's market research indicates that nearly 7 in 10 people support the switch as a way to reduce costs, Donahoe said.
He said the savings would include employee reassignment and attrition.
The agency in November reported a record annual loss of $15.9 billion for the past budget year and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on the $11 billion 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 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 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations, officials say.
At the DeCicco Food Market in Pelham, N.Y., where they handle the mail for all 10 of their stores, the assistant manager, Frank Torres, said they will try to adjust their routine. I'll tell you, though, the customers are pretty upset, we've been hearing them at the (checkout) registers. Some of them get mail they want on Saturday.
"You know what also, it will be strange not seeing the mailman on Saturday. Our office girls know him on a first-name basis."
Associated Press writers David Koenig in Dallas; Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains, N.Y.; John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio; Nedra Pickler and Jerry Bodlander and researcher Monika Mathur in Washington contributed to this report.