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US Senate gives cold shoulder to five-day mail delivery plan

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Legal questions remain over the US Postal Service’s intent to abandon Saturday delivery for regular letters from 5th August, with a measure to specifically allow the move failing to make it onto a government funding bill this week.

USPS believes it could save $2bn a year in operating costs by dropping a day from its six-day-a-week mail delivery schedule, but federal appropriations legislation has prevented such a move since the early 1980s.

This year Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe came out last month to say his lawyers had offered a fresh interpretation of the legislation that suggests mail delivery could be cut to five days a week if USPS continues to offer package delivery and premium letter services like Priority Mail and Express Mail on Saturdays.

But many in Congress, particularly on the Democrat side of the aisle, are skeptical of this interpretation.

A number of leading Republicans, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and former presidential nominee John McCain have said they back Donahoe’s claims that USPS has the legal right to drop regular mail delivery on Saturdays.

This week McCain and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Ranking Member Tom Coburn proposed an amendment to the $1 trillion Continuing Resolution proposal currently being debated, which would have explicitly consented to five-day-a-week mail delivery.

However, the Democrat-led Senate did not put the amendment forward for debate on Monday.

“Typical Washington”

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican representing the State of Tennessee, said on Tuesday that he was “strongly disappointed” that Congress had dropped a measure he believed was necessary for the Postal Service to reduce its operating costs.

He said: “This is typical Washington—wanting to have our cake and eat it, too. We all know that we need to allow the Postal Service the flexibility to make necessary reforms and cut costs so it can operate more efficiently and effectively, and yet Congress continues to stand in the way. This is a missed opportunity to enable the Postal Service to enact reforms it sees are necessary in order to reduce risk for taxpayers.”

Current expectations are that the Continuing Resolution will be passed around 27th March. US postal unions are planning a day of action on 24th March to mobilise public support in favour of keeping six-day-a-week delivery.

The unions believe cutting mail services will add further pressure to the USPS bottom line, as well as affecting jobs.

“We want to make this fight about the cost of losing Saturday mail delivery and how it would affect people in each and every state,” said Fredric Rolando, the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Source: Post&Parcel/US Congress

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One Response to “US Senate gives cold shoulder to five-day mail delivery plan”

  • Sandra Douglas says:

    I wonder when someone will take the time to do a true look at postal operations from the ground up. We in the lower sector of the postal service are working ourselves to death. I work anywhere from 10 to 13 hours a day and get paid for 8. I cannot get my work done in 8 hours granted most would walk out after 8 or 9. But I do truly want to do a excellent job it is important to me I truly want to see the post office stay a float. We no longer have the choice to run our offices efficiently. All decisions are make from area and headquarters. We are instructed daily to violate the contract costing the postal service millions of dollars in grievance settlements. We need to make decisions on ground level not from corporate headquarters. No one appears to look at the dollar line when making their so called intelligent decisions. There are contacts we are bound by these contracts and when we break contract we will pay every time. They appear to be looking at nothing but graphs. Hey if we can cut this we can save thousands of hours. Well yes but when we dig deeper in order to do this we violate the contract and pay out even more money had we just adhered to the contract. No one appears to spend time to do indepht cost analyzes of these decisions. Some what like a decision to buy flat sorting machines costing millions just to find out we don’t have facilities large enough for the machines. Nor did they take into account the decline of mail volume which was prevalent at the time of the purchase. We spend hideous amounts of time and money worrying about a first class letter getting to its destination in 2 or 3 days. A service that has shown a serious decline over the past 10 years. We need to focus on our parcel service we have such a profitable service in our laps but we our so worried about a 46 cent letter(REALLY). OMG so frustrating our any of our leaders truly educated in business I think probably not. Look at the areas you claim we our losing money. CFS what a joke why our we providing this service for free if you are to lazy to contact those you correspond with then you should pay for a service to do this for you. 46 cent and we our expected to then handle this piece of mail 5, 10, 20 times because of pure laziness. Look for areas of potential profit. I had a supervisor who made a statement that really hit home. We our the only company that doesn’t want to look in our lobby and see a line.(WHAT?) Why because cut, cut, cut hours save money. Spend money to make money sorry but true. People will go to UPS or FEDX and spend more money for better service less wait time. We can provide the service but not by cutting manpower. Hear it every week from customers. Sorry we need to switch gears stop waiting on congress we will be gone before they can make a decision.We have gold mine we our sitting on we can take over the parcel market. Screw that first class letter ZERO profit there. Couldn’t be anymore simple then that. Put clerks on the window keep the customers in our lobbies. Communicate with us on ground level our input can make a difference. We need to save ourselves no one can save us we need to move on and do it ourselves.

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