It was announced on Wednesday that the United States Postal Service will end its delivery of mail on Saturdays, but will distribute packages six days per week, according to The Associated Press. The end of Saturday mail delivery will occur on the week of August 5 and will save the agency $2 billion per year, according to Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe.
“Our financial condition is urgent,” Donahoe told a press conference.
Since 2010, postal officials said that package delivery has increased by 14 percent, but letters and other mail has decreased over the same time period. From Monday to Friday, homes and businesses would receive mail deliveries under the new plan. Mail would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Any post offices currently open on Saturdays will stay open under the new plan.
“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” Donahoe said. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”
Fredric Rolando, the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the end of Saturday mail is “a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers.” He also noted that the decision from Donahoe “flouts the will of Congress, as expressed annually over the past 30 years in legislation that mandates six-day delivery.”
James S. O’Rourke, a professor of management at Notre Dame, said, “If the Congress of the United States refuses to take action to save the U.S. Postal Service, then the Postal Service will have to take action on its own. It’s unclear whether the USPS has the legislative authority to take such actions on its own, but the alternative is the status quo until it is completely cash starved.”
Officials said that the announcement was made on Wednesday, six months prior to the change taking effect, so people can make the necessary adjustments needed. Donahoe noted that there will be employee reassignment and attrition with the plan.
In November, the agency reported an annual loss of $15.9 billion, a record for the Postal Service for its previous budget year. Since 2006, the agency has cut annual operating costs by $15 billion and has cut its workforce by 193,000, which equates to 28 percent of the total workforce.