Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

February 7, 2013

U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday mail deliveries

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday mail delivery as soon as August to cut financial losses, a change Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said it can make without Congress's approval if necessary.

The service, which lost $15.9 billion last year, said it would continue six-day deliveries of packages, deliver mail to post-office boxes and keep open retail locations that now operate on Saturdays.

 The change would lead to the elimination of 22,500 full- time equivalent jobs and reduce costs by as much as $2 billion a year, Donahoe said. Job cuts can be made by attrition and buyouts, he said at a news conference in Washington.

"We need to generate nearly $20 billion in cost reductions and revenue increases to be able to close our budget gap and repay our debt," Donahoe said at the service's headquarters.

Lawmakers have stifled previous cost-cutting proposals, including efforts to end Saturday mail delivery.

Cutting Saturday delivery is allowed under Congress's continuing resolution funding government operations that expires March 27, Donahoe said.

 "It is our opinion with the way the law is set with the continuing resolution, we can make this change," he said.

House Speaker John Boehner said lawmakers need to have bipartisan conversations about the Postal Service's future and take action.

"Trying to act in this postal area is pretty difficult," the Ohio Republican told reporters Wednesday. "Congress has tied their hands every which way."

The post office's losses have continued to widen and are estimated at $25 million a day. Mail volume is down 26 percent from its 2006 peak. To pay bills and keep the mail moving, the postal service has had to skip $11.1 billion of required payments over the past two years for future retirees' health costs. It exhausted its $15 billion borrowing authority last September.

The service, which has 521,000 career employees, says it will run out of money in October even after ignoring this year's retiree health obligation. If it can't pay workers or buy fuel for trucks, Americans looking for their bills, magazines and catalogs could find empty mailboxes.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican who leads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees post office operations, backed Wednesday's proposal. Issa included elimination of Saturday delivery in a postal bill that didn't come to a vote in the House last year.

Issa and Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, his party's senior member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Congress calling the change to five-day delivery a "common-sense reform" that is "worthy of bipartisan support."

Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat who heads the governmental affairs committee, said he's "disappointed" by the Postal Service's move. A Senate measure approved last year would have required the service to study Saturday delivery changes for two years and Carper said he'd prefer that route.

"Despite my disappointment, it's hard to condemn the Postmaster General for moving aggressively to do what he believes he can and must do to keep the lights on at the Postal Service, which may be only months away from insolvency," Carper said in a statement.

President Barack Obama's budget proposal for fiscal 2013, released last year, called for cutting one day of mail delivery each week.

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers union, called the move "disastrous" and said Donahoe should resign or be ousted.

"If the Postmaster General is unwilling or unable to develop a smart growth strategy that serves the nearly 50 percent of business mailers that want to keep six-day service, and if he arrogantly thinks he is above the law or has the right to decide policy matters that should be left to Congress, it is time for him to step down," Rolando said in an emailed statement.

Americans, by an almost 4-1 majority, supported ending Saturday mail delivery in a 2011 national poll of registered voters by Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, Conn.

About 5 percent of the postal service's employees in January accepted a cost-cutting early retirement offer. The service says it has already cut about 60,000 full-time jobs in the past two years.

Donahoe, in a Jan. 3 statement, urged Congress to make postal legislation "an urgent priority."

"We are on an unsustainable financial path," Donahoe said. "The Postal Service should not have to do business this way."

               

 

 

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration _Rich copy.jpg DHS secretary re-evaluating deportation priorities

    Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday he’s re-evaluating the Obama administration’s deportation priorities to make certain they’re focused on national security, public safety and border security, amid growing pressure from the Latino community and President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats. 

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rethinking Pot 420_Rich copy.jpg Public smoke-out marks pot holiday in Colorado

    Tens of thousands of revelers raised joints, pipes and vaporizer devices to the sky Sunday at a central Denver park in a defiant toast to the April 20 pot holiday, a once-underground celebration that stepped into the mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Submarine Sleep Sched_Rich copy.jpg Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules

    With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the U.S. Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance to life above the ocean’s surface.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Grim work for families as more bodies discovered

    There are no names listed as relatives huddle around signboards to identify bodies from a sunken ferry. Just the slimmest of clues about mostly young lives now lost. Many favored hoodies and track pants. One girl painted her fingernails red and toenails black. Another had braces on her teeth.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP600421099 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 21, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Space Robot_Rich copy.jpg NASA’s Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nepal Everest Avalanc_Rich copy.jpg Another body pulled from snow in avalanche

    Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results