USPS Looking To Cease Saturday Mail Delivery

In typical government (well, quasi-private) bureaucratic “sense”, a failing government service needs a bailout. Rather than face the music and look for ways to streamline their operation and improve efficiency, they just figure they’ll piss off voters quickly enough to get the sniveling, cowering politicians to hand over a few billion. They’re not saying that up front, of course, but believe me, that’s the goal:

The U.S. Postal Service may be forced to eliminate a day of mail service because the economic downturn has led to plummeting volume and revenue, the postmaster general said Wednesday.

Postmaster General John E. Potter, in testimony before a Senate subcommittee, warned of a possible worst-case scenario: eliminating the requirement to deliver mail six days a week to every address in America.

If the recession continues to hammer at USPS revenue, six-day delivery may not be possible, Potter said. Federal law has mandated the six-day schedule since 1983.

In fiscal 2008, total mail volume fell by more than 9 billion pieces – 4.5% -compared to the previous year, Potter said. And the agency suffered a greater-than-expected net loss of $2.8 billion last year, he added.

USPS is “a vital economic engine in our national economy,” Potter said, noting that USPS is the country’s second-largest employer and the mail affects both jobs and commerce.

“We could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year,” Potter told the subcommittee. That shortfall would exceed the Postal Service’s credit limit under current law.

“We believe that legislative relief is necessary to preserve the nation’s mail system,” Potter said.

Do you think the postal service really wants to cease Saturday delivery? I don’t. And they’re not throwing out terms like “bailout” quickly. They are asking for relaxation of the regulations meant to wean them off the federal teat; while it may or may not make sense, it’s slightly too far to call it a bailout.

But let me ask you a question… If the automakers, and the banks, and every other failing private enterprise can get bailed out, you think the USPS will give in? No, they’ll make a few noises about canceling Saturday delivery, the public outcry will begin, and Congressmen will be beating down their doors with checkbook in hand.

Maybe some people older than myself might remember the days where business success in this country was based upon performing at a level that exceeded that of your peers. Some unlucky souls — like me — delude ourselves into the belief that we can still succeed under those terms. Instead, we’re the asses bearing the load. Not only do we watch as our government rewards failure, we live under the knowledge that it’s our money paying for it.

  • Quincy

    One less day I have to sort through junk mail. Sweet.

  • TerryP

    My guess is that even if they dropped a day they would still pay their salaried employees as if they were working those days. The union will not give in very easy on pay. The only savings will likely be on fuel and some non-salaried labor.

  • Ex-Mailman

    TerryP: Full-time salaried Postal employees are paid on a 40-hours-per-week basis. That’s 5 days at 8 hours per (OT after that). On the Carrier side, that 6th delivery day is handled by a rotating employee. With 5 day delivery, no need for that “floater” (usually one for every 5 mail routes). Unions will likely be unhappy, but more because it will lighten the workforce. And you are right, no 6th day delivery will also greatly reduce overhead other than labor.

    But please don’t take my otherwise non-critical comment as an endorsement of the idea that the USPS has some sort of “secret agenda” to pry money out of Congress…