Archive for Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Post Office asks Congress to stop requiring six-day delivery

Postmaster General cites ‘massive deficits’ as cause

January 28, 2009


Post Office asks Congress to stop requiring six-day delivery

Six days of mail a week could soon be a thing of the past. Enlarge video

— Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery per week, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday.

Postmaster General John E. Potter asked lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.

Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year and, “if current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year,” Potter said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.

Total mail volume was 202 billion items last year, more than 9 billion less than the year before, the largest single volume drop in history.

And, despite annual rate increases, Potter said 2009 could be the first year since 1946 that the actual amount of money collected by the post office declines.

“It is possible that the cost of six-day delivery may simply prove to be unaffordable,” Potter said. “I reluctantly request that Congress remove the annual appropriation bill rider, first added in 1983, that requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days each week.”

If the change is made, that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day, such as Tuesday.

“The ability to suspend delivery on the lightest delivery days, for example, could save dollars in both our delivery and our processing and distribution networks. I do not make this request lightly, but I am forced to consider every option given the severity of our challenge,” Potter said.

That doesn’t mean it would happen right away, he noted, adding that the agency is working to cut costs and any final decision on changing delivery would have to be made by the postal governing board.

If it did become necessary to go to five-day delivery, Potter said, “we would do this by suspending delivery on the lightest volume days.”

The Postal Service raised the issue of cutting back on days of service last fall in a study it issued. At that time the agency said the six-day rule should be eliminated, giving the post office, “the flexibility to meet future needs for delivery frequency.

A study done by George Mason University last year for the independent Postal Regulatory Commission estimated that going from six-day to five-day delivery would save the post office more than $1.9 billion annually, while a Postal Service study estimated the saving at $3.5 billion.

The next postal rate increase is scheduled for May, with the amount to be announced next month. Under current rules that would be limited to the amount of the increase in last year’s consumer price index, 3.8 percent. That would round to a 2-cent increase in the current 42-cent first class rate.

The agency could request a larger increase because of the special circumstances, but Potter believes that would be counterproductive by causing mail volume to fall even more.


gccs14r 9 years, 3 months ago

Maybe they should switch to electric delivery vehicles for urban routes.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 3 months ago

Totally agree a five day delivery would work fine with America.

SpeedRacer 9 years, 3 months ago

I move doing away with Monday more Monday bills; no piles of mail on the desk Monday morning...on second thought, let's just do away with Mondays.

WHY 9 years, 3 months ago

3 days should do it. Who needs mail more often and Mon Wed Fri.

rgh 9 years, 3 months ago

People could adjust to having delivery only 5 days, but there are a lot of very important documents and letters that need to get places in the U.S. which demands a 6 day a week delivery. If not, your overnight or two day delivery costs are going to skyrocket out of control.

Steve Jacob 9 years, 3 months ago

I would rather not have mail say on Wed. then Saturday. Some people may only be able to get to the post office on the weekends.

d_prowess 9 years, 3 months ago

Competition between UPS and Fed Ex will keep the one-two day rates down, not to mention the USP will still offer those deliver service options (but not for delivery on Saturday).And let's be serious, why would they choose to eliminate any day other than Saturday? Businesses would much rather get mail during the work week and skip Sat. than any other day and I bet their considerations would be taken more seriously.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 3 months ago

Multi- I love that one. 2-3 times a month. Monday, Wed, Fri, sounds good to me. Just Wed would work also.

yankeelady 9 years, 3 months ago

works for me, I rarely mail anything anymore. I do everything I can online. Much more efficient, faster and (hopefully) more secure.

OzChicklet 9 years, 3 months ago

Oh no! One day a week less could really screw up my Netflix schedule!

d_prowess 9 years, 3 months ago

Regarding only being able to make it to the post office on Saturday, I understand that possible limitation, but what do you need to do there? If you need to buy stamps or mail a package, you can do that at Dillons (not just Sat. but Sunday too!). So I guess I just don't see the need anymore.

pooter 9 years, 3 months ago

What a crock. They are just looking for another day off, like they don't have enough holidays already.If they really wanted to save money, they don't need to stop a delivery day, all they need to do is stop the delivery of Junk Mail.*

gccs14r 9 years, 3 months ago

"If you need to buy stamps or mail a package, you can do that at Dillons (not just Sat. but Sunday too!). So I guess I just don't see the need anymore."Some towns have no auxilliary postal outlets. Whatever rule they make has to be universal.

denak 9 years, 3 months ago

Personally, I wouldn't care if they cut out one day. I would prefer it not to be Saturday though.I do think there needs to be exception. Legal documents that are time sensitive need to be exempt.However, if the post office wants to cut cost, why don't they just go down to one stamp? Why do we need three or four stamps to choose from? Why do we even need collector stamps? If they are running such a deficit, trim all the things that aren't a neccessity. And multiple stamps to choose from is not a neccessity.I know that won't take care of the whole problem but you have to start somewhere.Dena

justaverage 9 years, 3 months ago

Bring back the Pony Express! So, are we going to pay more for less service? The mail will stack up on the one day off, thus requiring the Postal Service to do more work the following day. However, I'd say do away with Saturday delivery and just have the Post Office open M-F. There are other places people can obtain services on Saturday.

misseve 9 years, 3 months ago

how many of us use the USPS? i think i use it maybe 3 or 4 times a year and that inclues the international mail i send. i pay my mail in person or online, my online shopping is shipped UPS or FEDEX soooo i can live with one less day of the men and women in blue

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 3 months ago

80% of the mail that comes in here is crap. Junk mail, credit card offers with the usual misleading junk, medicare plan offers (I am 64, get ready for this you young folk) life insurance offers, any kind of insurance offers, and just plain useless junk mail. Maybe if the post office would raise the rates on this garbage, they could manage to deliver our mail. I doubt it. Nothing run by the government knows how to run anything efficiently.

paperboy78 9 years, 3 months ago

Collector stamps are money in the bank for the p.o. They sell the stamps and never have to deliver anything with them because they don't get put on mail.This is a great opportunity to allow UPS, FEDEX, etc. the chance to start delivering first class mail. A little competition is a good thing.

walkingonwater 9 years, 3 months ago

While I agree that 5 days of mail delivery is more than enough, I cannot get over the fact that the USPS is doing less work but needing more money. Does that mean that the less volume equals less efficiency? Doesn't pride ever get in the way of a government employee doing his/her job, as in, shouldn't the USPS be the "tightest ship in the shipping business"? Instead of USPS, "we do less volume at a hire cost..."?

walkingonwater 9 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, I meant higher cost... what was I thinking? Oh, maybe I should apply for a.... never mind.

WHY 9 years, 3 months ago

Pooter you have it all wrong. Junk mail is their cash cow. The problem is paying hundreds of government employees big salaries to drive trucks and put paper in boxes. Not a hard job but I bet they pay 40K.

jonas_opines 9 years, 3 months ago

Dammit! This means I only have 5 chances per week to catch that bastard! I've been trying for months, 6 days a week, and it hasn't been enough. That little psuedo-jeep is too damned fast.I don't stand a chance now.

snoozey 9 years, 3 months ago

Oh ! The Post Office still delivers mail?

Sharon Aikins 9 years, 3 months ago

Five days a week would work for me. I have all my bills paid automatically from my bank or pay them online. Bill statements I print online, saving paper and postage. I have a small online business that uses small mailer envelopes, making UPS and FED EX not feasible for me costwise. Most of the materials I order for my business also come USPS due to size and savings in shipping. Any stamps I use, I order online. If USPS offered first class shipping labels online, I would buy those. as I rarely use Priority and never Express. Other companies and PayPal offer first class but charge a lot more. I even fax a lot of things other than mail them because of the cost of postage. As to what I find in my mailbox, that usually takes a trip from the door to the trash can. Do these companies really think we look through all their junk and catalogs? If it weren't for that, mail once a week would be good other than the fact that I have first class mailer envelopes going out frequently and they do pick them up from my mailbox. But my customers could wait like the rest of us, it's not high priority.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 3 months ago

How about firing the employees that are not showing up for work, and firing the "dead weight".We also need to look at the entire amount of the Post Office Budget is used for "retirement". My bet is that lots of the operating expenses are gobbled up with pensions that the rest of the United States citizens get. This is like General Motors. Lots of beneficiaries mixed with rising costs, and benefits for extended families.we need to look into "just where the money goes"The federal governmental employees get a great benefits package at a time when there is none for the average citizen.Cutting a day of mail delivery because lazy (some) employees have benefits we can no longer afford to provide. The taxpayer is paying for this after all.

alm77 9 years, 3 months ago

frwent - charging more to junk mailers is the most brilliant idea I think I've heard!! That would either a) erase the deficit or b) erase junk mail. Either is good in my book!!

pmb0358 9 years, 3 months ago

Some misconceptions from a city carrier:USPS revenue comes from postage/services not tax dollars. We don't get $30 hour! Eliminating Saturday DELIVERY doesn't mean your Post Office w/b closed. Rural carriers drive around in trucks - city carriers carry heavy mail bags, in all kinds of weather. We would handle heavier Mondays, as we always have (curtailing bulk until Tuesday). We get 3 day weekends every 6 weeks, then work a straight 6 days the following week. We get one day off every 6th day plus Sunday. Eliminating one day would only mean that your regular carrier would deliver all 5 days, reducing subs who deliver that sixth day when your regular is off. Vehicle costs w/b reduced. USPS is TOPHEAVY. Here (Long Island) one postmaster could easily cover 3 stations. 3/4 supervisors/office is RIDICULOUS! Nationwide, all carriers are paid the same - regardless of cost of living (ABSURD). I grossed around $50K last year, took home $38K and paid $10K in taxes alone in an area where housing, taxes etc., are at the highest in the nation. I am single with three kids. Low volume means harder work for carrier. Carriers have always been told that routes are 8 hours, whether volume is high or low. But we are now being forced to pivot (do regular route, then time on another route), because volume is low (eliminates the need for parttimers), within that 8 hours, no O/T. But when volume is high, we're still supposed to stick to 8 hours. Kinda inconsistent, right, but it's whatever works for their numbers. We have scan points to prove we were where we were supposed to be at specified times. Bulk mail is irrelevant because 99.99% of the time every house is delivered to every day. Bulk mail: you have to contact sender for bulk that says Presort, Standard, Bulk, etc. This mail is not returned to sender (cheaper rates partly because they purchase less service). You can't just write "stop sending!". That mail is tossed. More inspectors should be hired to check out carriers who are on disabiity but shouldn't be - I know of three carriers in my station alone. Having a sore back is no reason to go out on comp, but I've seen it. Carrying is hard on the body (yes it is), but the majority of us work through it. As do countless other people in other jobs. Executives should be forced to stick to their salaries and not get performance bonuses. Sorry this is so long, but don't blame the carrier. We're at the bottom of the feeding chain but do the grunt work. We walked 5-7 miles a day in my station. We're being inundated with new BullS regulations constantly intended to catch us in non-compliance. We ARE randomly followed! (USPS would like nothing better than to fire us all and have the mail contracted out by the type of people who throw circulars on your driveway). Every day we carry (in postage) more than our daily salary. They need to cut down to 5 days, reduce postmasters/supervisors/PTFs. Your carrier is just trying to make a living.

spankyandcranky 9 years, 3 months ago

I'm all for it! And I think some of the other suggestions here would be helpful too, while other suggestions indicate some lack of understanding. Surely businesses will find a way to adjust.

pmb0358 9 years, 3 months ago

Hawkperch: From what we hear thru the office grapevine, USPS wants to slowly increase the price of a stamp to .50cents. It will do so in small increments to allow bulk mailers to adjust. Some are adjusting and some have bailed out, which is reflected in the reduction in bulk mail. When the rate gets to 50 cents, expect it to stabilize. You are 100000% correct: do you know most of the "supervisors?" you speak with on the Post Office floor are letter carriers??? They're called 204Bs. They have a route somewhere, that they've decided they don't want to walk anymore. Send them back to their routes, dm-it. Most post offices only have one actual, trained supervisor. The rest are lackeys, who don't do a damn thing from the time the carriers leave (anywhere from 10 to 11 am) except order McDonalds and smoke cigarettes on the dock. "Apparently" they're needed for off times which we've never figured out (to cover for illness/vacation, etc). Oh, p.s.: They get about $5000 more a year than us. And when we finish our routes these 204B's inspect our bags, our trucks, hold our time cards. So they sleep all day and at 4pm wake up. THEN, they force the part timers to take out "Target Mail" meaning anything mailed within the first three digits of your zip code. This means, after dark, after 6 hours which requires lunch, etc. and possibly time and a half if they were covering a route and started at 7:30. So they'll pay someone to deliver one piece of mail TIME AND A HALF. When, the reason for that piece of mail is that their stupid machine didn't work, and the letter was missorted. A machine they paid millions for and now they're doing the same thing to the flats. They ARE their own worst enemy and they're ripping skin from bone from the regular carriers.

janeyb 9 years, 3 months ago

My brother lives on a walking mail route (not Lawrence)and he can clip mail on his box for days. The mail carrier won't pick up his out-going mail unless he is receiving something too. He has called the PO, but it doesn't help. I'm down to mailing car insurance every six months. Two stamps a year, but I do use USPS for the occasional package. My parents had to stop using their mailbox in Topeka because mail was being stolen. They pay everything they can online and drive to the post office to mail anything else. My dad gets his medication by mail and the company had to go UPS, because the USPS was delivering empty packages. The packages would be stamped "Damaged in Processing" and the would be slit open with a little Scotch tape sealing it back up. The post office gave them a story that it was damaged by their machines, but my parent's carrier said that those kind of packages are hand processed and someone was just stealing the meds.

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