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Saturday mail delivery to continue

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By Calen McKinney

In February, it was announced that United States Postal Service letter carriers would soon deliver mail five days a week instead of six, with the elimination of delivery on Saturday.

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But last week, it was announced that Congress has passed legislation that won’t allow the USPS to cut its mail delivery on Saturday.

Taylor County’s post office referred comment on the decision to Postal Service spokesperson David Walton.

Walton referred to a statement from the Postal Service Board of Governors posted on the Postal Service’s website. He declined to comment further and says the statement stands for itself.

The statement was posted last Wednesday. Read it in its entirety at about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_0410bogstatement.htm.

According to the statement, the USPS Board of Governors met last Tuesday to discuss a resolution legislators recently passed. The resolution, according to the statement, states that five-day mail delivery can’t happen.

“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,” according to the statement. “The Board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time.”

According to the statement, the USPS Board continues to support the elimination of Saturday mail, which they say would save about $2 billion a year.
“ ... And is a necessary part of a larger five-year business plan to restore the Postal Service to long-term financial stability,” the statement reads. “According to numerous polls, this new delivery schedule is widely supported by the American public. Our new delivery schedule is also supported by the Administration and some members of Congress.”

The statement adds that it isn’t possible for the USPS to meet cost reduction goals without changing its delivery schedule.

“ ... Any rational analysis of our current financial condition and business options leads to this conclusion,” according to the statement. “Delaying responsible changes to the Postal Service business model only increases the potential that the Postal Service may become a burden to the

American taxpayer, which is avoidable.”

In response to Congress’ action, USPS management will reopen negotiations with postal unions and others to lower costs.

“The Board has also asked management to evaluate further options to increase revenue, including an exigent rate increase to raise revenues across current Postal Service product categories and products not currently covering their costs.”

Two mail carrier unions - the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association - issued statements last week about Congress not allowing the elimination of Saturday mail.

NALC President Fredric Rolando stated, “Eliminating Saturday service, which more than a third of all business mailers want to keep, will drive millions of customers away and do more harm than good.

The Postal Service needs a growth strategy and the Congress must enact comprehensive reform that overhauls the USPS governance structure, provides greater pricing and product flexibility and reduces or eliminates the crushing pre-funding burden that has caused more than 90 percent of this year’s financial loss so far.

“Maintaining Saturday delivery is critical to the Postal Service’s future. Losing this competitive advantage would not only reduce mail volume and revenue - sending the USPS on a death spiral - but also would disproportionately affect small businesses, the elderly, rural communities, the one-half of the public that pays bills by mail and the many millions who lack access to reliable Internet service. And it would cost tens of thousands of jobs.”

See Rolando’s complete statement at www.nalc.org/news/latest/index.html.

NRLC President Jeanette Dwyer, stated, “With the current fiscal crisis plaguing the U.S. Postal Service, lowering service levels is simply no way to generate revenue and bring the USPS back from the brink. For decades, the Postal Service has provided consistent quality service to each and every household nationwide. Any plan that lowers this level of service is simply misguided and unacceptable.

“While many say the Postal Service should be run like a business, it has been shackled by burdensome obligations and left to drown in red ink. Misguided legislation and a dysfunctional Congress have brought the Postal Service to this point, but these problems are easily solvable. The elimination of six-day mail delivery would only further worsen this crisis.”

To read Dwyer’s complete statement, visit www.nrlca.org.

Carriers were to eliminate Saturday delivery on Aug. 5.

Packages were to continue being delivered on Saturdays, however, and post offices with Saturday hours would remain open that day. Post office box customers would continue to receive mail on Saturday.

The Taylor County post office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

The Postal Service’s unstable financial status has been discussed over the past few years, as have many potential changes to solve its financial problems.

USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.