Saturday mail delivery will live on

The Postal Service pulls the plug on its controversial plan, saying the stopgap budget passed by Congress gave it no choice.

By Jonathan Berr Apr 10, 2013 12:40PM
Image: Mailbox (© Corbis)In an abrupt reversal, the U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday withdrew its plan to end Saturday mail delivery, arguing that it's prohibited under the stopgap budget Congress passed recently, according to the Washington Post.

Some businesses, such as banks and insurance companies, that need to keep customers informed, postal unions and members of Congress opposed the move, which was proposed in February and was expected to save the cash-strapped USPS $2 billion annually. Parcel service would not have been affected.

The postal service's board of governors decided Tuesday to change course because Congress left it no other choice, according to the paper.

Whether the USPS will push the idea again isn't clear, nor is the impact this decision will have on the precarious finances of the USPS, which has tried to end Saturday delivery for years. It had planned to eliminate more than 22,000 jobs as part of the move. In the first three months of its current fiscal year, October-December, it reported a loss of $1.3 billion. Traditionally, that period has been the Postal Service's strongest financial quarter because of the holiday mailing season.

Several things, including the declining demand for mail service, are crushing the USPS. Congress has required it to pre-fund retiree health benefits for 75 years, a staggering cost that's expected to top $100 billion by the end of the decade. No other public- or private-sector employer has that type of burden. Some USPS critics, though, have argued that the prepayment issue is overblown.

The USPS also is clearly bloated. Fewer than half of the country's 32,000 post offices are profitable, and the organization is slashing the number of mail processing centers it operates by more than 50% by 2014.

Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

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34Comments
Apr 10, 2013 1:33PM
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If certain groups require Saturday service, then let them pay extra and eliminate Sat delivery for everyone else.  Pre-funded retirement medical?  Give me a break.  The rest of us are working 2 jobs to pay for our normal medical.  Just another hint that our government is out of touch with reality unless it involves their own pockets.
Apr 10, 2013 12:52PM
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Idiots. No wonder they are so badly in debt.
Apr 10, 2013 4:07PM
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They are idiots.  They should forge ahead and demand that wording in the bill be amended, if that's a problem.  Sat delivery should have been ended years ago. 
Apr 10, 2013 5:24PM
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How many idiots does it take to make a stupid decision? 535
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why does the post office have a pension plan they have to fund.

 

Gee if Fed Ex or UPS had to do that they would be out of business.

 

Pension plans went out the door in the 1980's this is 2013

 

the USPS needs to go into bankruptcy and cut the dead weight it's pension plan.

 

My ex-brother-in-law worked for the post office and got up to like $90,000 just sorting mail for his area to go out to post offices in his town (Dallas) and he gets $70,000 plus fully paid medical insurance from his pension plan.

 

He retired after 30 years.

 

 

Apr 10, 2013 3:25PM
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The post office will never break even, due to their hiring and promotion systems. The promotions are based on political/union pull, and nothing about qualifications is in the system. That is the system of today and for the last one hundred years. Congress will always bail the Post Office out, so there is no real incentive to operate efficiently , therefore the inefficient system perpetuates itself.
Apr 10, 2013 4:57PM
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You should pay what UPS and Fedex charge for 2nd day documents + 50 cents more for federal code cover.
The economics of that will rightsize the USPS.

Apr 10, 2013 2:14PM
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This is terrible news. I look forward to the day when postal deliveries are made twice each week--Tuesday and Friday, say, or perhaps Monday and Thursday.

 

The arguments of the insurance and bank industries have trouble with the smell test. Only a fool would have a financial instrument (bill, statement, check) delivered to them via USPS, due to compromised security. As for the insurance folks, just what can't wait four or five calendar days? Even Social Security is preparing to cut loose all citizens who can't or won't do electronic delivery.

 

Of course it's inconvenient (and an added expense) to have to print out statements and invoices on your own dime. But it sure beats having your identity and money stolen.

Apr 14, 2013 10:00PM
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I also don't see how eliminating Saturday delivery will save that much money...the mail is delivered to the mail handling facility and sorted 7 days a week. Then it's delivered to each post office. This will still continue since they're planning on delivering mail to the mail boxes at the post offices, just not get in the trucks and deliver it to houses.
Apr 14, 2013 9:54PM
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I worked for the postal service for 4 years - which was a horror story in itself - so I don't get why the government dictates what it can and cannot do. They're not part of the government. Back in the '90's or so, they became self-supporting and received no funding from the government. The main reason they're in trouble now is because the government is dictating to them they have to fully fund their pension plan for the next 75 years. How about congress doing that for themselves? How about doing that for social security and medicare? I think the postal service should be privatized because they would be more efficient, but I don't agree with what the government's doing to them.

Apr 12, 2013 7:00PM
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Maybe this writer should have checked the presidents budget bill that came out the same day as the PMG backed off of stopping Saturday delivery.  I can remember when writers did research before they wrote a story that they have no idea about.  Now they just blurt out any stupid thing that comes to mind with no research at all.  The presidents bill eliminates the need for Saturday delivery.  If you want to write about an issue or comment on try to know what you are talking about first! Of course a lot of post offices don't make money. It's called universal service.  I guess you think only big cities should have mail service and rural America (which is the back bone of this country) should have to pay more?  Fine, rural America should stop sending food to the cities.  Good luck with your pitiful little garden on your balcony in your $5000 per month 400 sq ft. apt. When will you people learn we have the best and cheapest postal service in the world....when it's gone I guess.  Well when the economy crumbles and the dollar is worthless you can just sit back and wish you would have thought a little more about rural America.  As for me this country boy will survive. 
Apr 12, 2013 1:25PM
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I wonder how many people would like to work two days work (Saturday and Monday) in one day.  We have to deliver ALL mail that comes in the same day.  So we two days worth of mail and packages that would be expected to be delivered in one day.  Rural carriers are paid on route evaluations no matter how much mail there is.  We get paid the same amount per day whether we work 8 hours or 11 hours, which is what would be happening every Monday.  We would have to lose one days worth of pay and oh yes, do two days of work in one.  I wonder how many people think that is fair.
Apr 12, 2013 1:00PM
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I do not understand this, if they can save money by not delivering on Saturday, then don't deliver on Saturday.  Plan ahead and it won't matter.  So we will continue to let them bleed money and take postage more expensive and wonder why we send things by email, or any other electronic method possible.

Apr 10, 2013 7:15PM
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There is not a person on this planet that requires Saturday mail delivery...if there is an "urgent" requirement for document delivery or receipt there are other venues.  Stupid is the only description that applies to the continuing waste of taxpayer $$.
Apr 10, 2013 6:03PM
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OK - so what is the alternative to secure the $2B in savings?  This was a reasonable idea (cut delivery one day a week - I advocate tuesday or wednesday vice saturday).  This reads like the USPS is just going to wring its hands and keep spending... 
Apr 10, 2013 3:07PM
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People sure are jeolous of government workers.Too bad those jeolous people weren`t

smart enough to get jobs like that themselves.

Apr 10, 2013 3:37PM
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MONTANA 10:Apparently you didn`t read the other posts.I saw all kinds of jeolousy

in their posts.Besides, I like Saturday delivery.I get lots of dividend checks.

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