Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Saturday mail-delivery cuts studied

April 4, 2001

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— Through snow, rain and gloom of night but maybe not on the weekend.

Battered by slowing business and huge projected losses, the Postal Service announced Tuesday that it will study cutting back to a five-day schedule that would eliminate mail delivery on Saturdays.

The agency also will examine how much money can be saved by consolidating and closing some postal plants and offices.

With rising costs, postal officials say they face a $2 billion to $3 billion loss this fiscal year. After five years in the black, the post office had a $199 million loss last fiscal year.

The agency's governing board will ask Postal Service management to report their study results within 90 days, said David Fineman, the board's vice chairman.

Fineman said the financial savings of going to five-day service could be "substantial."

The price of first class mail went up a penny to 34 cents in January. Postal managers are preparing to apply this summer for another rate increase, to take effect next year.

While the Postal Service doesn't receive any taxpayer money for its operations, it is still a government agency and operates under laws set by Congress. Changing to a five-day schedule or consolidating facilities would require congressional approval.

The American Postal Workers Union, which has 366,000 members nationwide, said it would "vigorously" oppose a five-day schedule, plant consolidations and office closings.

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