The United States Postal Service announced Wednesday that it will be eliminating Saturday mail service in order to remain financially solvent.
The move, which will cut first class mail on Saturdays, is expected to save the Postal Service $2 billion a year. It will still allow for Saturday delivery of packages, express mail, and priority mail.
"We do understand how important it is when you order something to get it when it comes in, especially medicine and stuff like that," Vassar Street Post Office Manager Toni Passot said. "So we are still delivering packages on Saturdays."
Saturday service will be discontinued starting in August. It is a move meant to save the struggling postal service, which has lost $41 billion over the last six years, despite laying off 35 percent of its workforce.
"It would be irresponsible for the Postal Service not to pursue this course," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said. "We are in a position where we have to make some tough choices and decisions."
These are tough choices that have been looming since email and online billing took over for traditional mail.
"With everyone paying bills online and stuff, the mail volume has declined drastically," Passot said.
On the other hand, the internet has actually boosted business for package delivery. That is one reason why that service is still running on Saturdays.
"There is a strong and growing demand for our package service and we need to meet that demand over the coming decade," Donahoe said.
Congress usually has to approve any big changes with the Postal Service, but the independent agency found a way to side-step lawmakers. And most Americans believe it is the right move. Polls show nearly seven in 10 people support the switch to five-day delivery service if it cuts costs.
However, the president of the letter carriers union said the end of Saturday mail delivery is a "disastrous idea" that would have a negative effect on millions of Postal Service customers.
That's an attitude that local letter carriers have had for years.
"If you cut one day of delivery, close down plants, you're lowering service," Nevada Rural Letter Carrier's Association President Todd Floyd said at a rally in 2011. "As you lower service, fewer people might come to the Postal Service in the future. I don't want to cut service. I want to improve service."
Local post offices that currently have Saturday hours will remain open under the new schedule. Customers with PO boxes will still be able to get their mail on Saturdays, as normal.
Written by Arianna Bennett
Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement:
"While I question the legality of the Postmaster General's decision to suspend Saturday mail delivery, this unfortunate scenario could have been wholly prevented if the House had passed the Senate's bipartisan postal reform bill in the last Congress. Cutting down mail delivery to five days per week will not save the Postal Service from insolvency. This short sighted measure will deal a crippling blow to the millions of Americans and small businesses who rely on the timely and reliable delivery to every community in our nation.
"Given the importance of the Post Office to communities in Nevada and across our nation, such a drastic policy change cannot be enacted without approval from Congress. Instead, the Postmaster General relied on flawed legal guidance to claim that he can circumvent Congress' authority on the matter. The Postmaster Generals' actions have damaged his reputation with Congressional leaders and further complicates Congressional efforts to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation in the future."
"No one disputes that the Postal Service is in urgent need of reform. Passing meaningful postal legislation is one of my top priorities for this Congress and I hope House Republicans will finally join the Senate in bringing a bill up for a vote."
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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