February 14, 2013

Mail dropped

Mail dropped
USPS to cut Saturday delivery

By April Baumgarten

In rain, sleet, hail and snow the mail will go. Just not on Saturdays.
The popular saying won’t apply to weekend mail delivery starting Aug. 5, the United States Postal Service announced last week. The national company will not deliver mail to residents on Saturdays.
The cutback should save it $2 billion annually, USPS spokesman Peter Nowacki.
USPS has made no secret of shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. The announcement comes after a “strong growth” in package delivery, according to a press release. It also comes after the agency reported in November a $15.9 billion loss last year. That’s more than triple what it lost in 2011 at $5.1 billion.
The company also planned to give a six-month notice before it stopped delivering mail.
The National Newspaper As-sociation and North Dakota Newspaper Association strong oppose the change. NDNA officials have asked U.S Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, and U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer to speak up against the change.
“It could have a devastating effect on the newspaper industry, we believe,” NDNA Executive Director Roger Bailey said. “We have lots of newspapers that publish on Friday who depend on getting it to their readers on Saturday. That obviously won’t happen.”
The news would be old by the time it got to readers on Monday, Bailey said. But NDNA is also concerned about the backlog of mail.
“If the mail is backing up in post offices and distribution centers over the weekend, it’s just going to create more chaos early in the week in particular,” he said. “It’s going to spread it out during the week and by the time all that mail gets distributed we are up against another Saturday and the backlog starts all over again.”
USPS spokesperson Toni De-Lancey cited mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits implemented by Congress in 2006. It must set aside $55 billion to cover those benefits for 10 years. It resulted in $11.1 billion of the losses. The company supposedly could operate with a $2.4 billion loss without the mandate.
Bailey agreed, adding USPS has been after Congress to see the problem.

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