Postal Service withdraws plan to cut Saturday mail deliveries

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 4/11/2013

The United States Postal Service says it had no choice but to withdraw its plan to cut Saturday mail deliveries starting in August.

The Postal Service Board of Governors moved Tuesday, April 9, to delay the cuts in response to a congressional order attached to a federal funding bill.

As a result, the Postal Service will continue to deliver mail and packages on a six-day schedule.

“By including restrictive language in the continuing resolution, Congress has prohibited implementation of a new national delivery schedule for mail and packages, which would consist of package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday, and which would have taken effect the week of Aug. 5, 2013,” the board said in a prepared statement.

The Postal Service had planned to nix mail delivery on Saturdays as part of an ongoing cost-cutting plan. Since 2006, the Postal Service has consolidated mail-processing locations, trimmed its workforce by 193,000 people, and saved about $15 billion.

Postal Service board members say they’ll have to wait for Congress to approve cuts to Saturday mail in the future. They say a five-day mail schedule could save the company $2 billion a year.

“Although disappointed with this congressional action, the board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule,” they said. “The board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time.”

In the meantime, the Postal Service says it will re-enter negotiations with worker unions to “lower total workforce costs.”

The price of postage could also go up, according to the board.

The U.S. Postal Service is not a government agency and does not receive government funding. In recent months, however, Postal Service leaders have been pushing for a postal reform bill that would keep the company afloat in an age of email and competition from package delivery giants UPS and FedEx.

According to reports, the Postal Service is currently losing $25 million a day.

The continuing resolution approved by the U.S. House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama in March tied the hands of the Postal Service on the issue of Saturday delivery.

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