Is no mail on Saturday enough to save the United States Postal Service (USPS)?
For months, the postal service has tried to determine how it will maintain business in the e-mail-driven society.
In a move to cut-down on the already diminishing mail service, the USPS decided to stop delivering first-class mail on Saturdays, beginning in August. They will deliver “packages,” mail-order medicines and express mail, however. Post offices that are now open on Saturday will stay open on Saturdays, and people can go their mail from their local post office.
Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahue said the Postal Service is taking a different approach that reflects the increase in package business and the results of “America’s changing mailing habits.”
Package deliveries reportedly rose almost 14 percent since 2010.
The post service, born 237 years ago, will save about $2 billion annually as e-mail, social media and new technologies have affected its business. The plan needs congressional approval, although Congress should approve it for the large amount of savings. Donahue said the USPS couldn’t wait for Congress to help the struggling agency. The effort isn’t an act of defiance, Donahue said, but a hope that Congress will lift the Saturday mail delivery requirement, which ends in late March, as the government is trying to cut costs across the board.
The savings will help pay for retiree benefits. The agency reported a loss of about $16 billion in its fiscal year that ended last September. $11.1 billion of the loss was due to the rising cost of retiree benefits.
Since last year, the USPS has tried to find several ways to restructure the organization to keep up with the decline in U.S mail, as they are not supported by tax money to fund their daily operations. The USPS has cut about $193,000 people from its workforce and about $15 billion, overall. Stamps went up 1 cent to 46 cents in January.
The USPS employs more than 500,000 workers currently. The estimated job loss associated with reducing to a five-day mailing system would be about 22,500 postal jobs, but the USPS will cut overtime and work with unions and buyouts, instead.
Some leaders say that cutting the Saturday mail delivery will be detrimental because of the rural, elderly and disabled American citizens who may depend on the Saturday mail delivery. Most other people will be OK without mail on Saturdays. My family doesn’t even check it on the weekend; we’re good to check it three days a week. It’s reported that about seven in 10 American support the switch to cut costs. It seems like a great idea in the long run and maybe they will even consider cutting everything except express mail and mail-order medicine. The USPS reportedly lost about $41 billion over the last six years as more and more turn to online banking and e-mail.
Unfortunately, this one switch is unlikely to solve all of its problems. $2 billion is just a small climb out of the pit the USPS is in; Donahue said it needs to cut $20 billion in services. Although it is utilizing an increasingly used service and ditching one that is in decline, the USPS will need to do more to even out its money issues. Unless the USPS can find a way to monetize e-mail, I do not believe it will recover financially without substantially cutting the mail service or cutting their employees.