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View Full Version : USPS to propose 5-day mail schedule, major cuts


mscriv
Mar 2, 2010, 10:20 AM
Snail mail might soon get even slower.

The U.S. Postal Service plans to propose Tuesday an adjusted mail service schedule, which will likely cut Saturday delivery. The agency will also suggest closing some branches and expanding its use of self-service kiosks in grocery stores and other popular retail spots, as part of its effort to work its way out of a mountain of debt. USPS posted a $3.8 billion loss in its 2009 fiscal year, the latest in a multiyear string of whopping losses. Mail volume was down 12.7% for the year, a trend the agency expects to continue over the next decade as more consumers opt for online bill payments and message delivery. The Post Office was $10 billion in debt as of Sept. 30 -- not far off from its $15 billion debt limit, which the agency expects to hit in its 2011 fiscal year.

The challenges hurting USPS's bottom line are reflective of a "macro change in society," Postmaster General Jack Potter said at a press conference Monday previewing the proposed changes. "All posts around the world are challenged, just as we are, by the diversion of hard copy to electronic medium." The Post Office, an independent government agency, does not receive taxpayer dollars and is funded entirely by its own revenue. However, the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 constrains the agency's operations. It prohibits USPS from closing small branches based soled on economic factors, and prevents the agency from expanding its services beyond postal delivery.

Post offices in some countries, including Italy and Japan, have boosted their sales by offering ancillary services, like banking. But unless Congress steps in, USPS cannot expand beyond the postal-mail realm. USPS has already begun taking the axe to its budget. The agency made $6 billion in cuts last year, reducing its workforce by about 40,000 employees and chopping overtime hours, transportation costs and other expenses. Congress passed legislation allowing the organization to cut retiree health benefit payments by $4 billion.

Despite those measures, the agency still expects a net loss of $7.8 billion in fiscal 2010. USPS employs about 600,000 workers, about half of whom will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years. Potter said the agency has historically overpaid into its pension fund, and would reap significant savings if it stopped prefunding its retiree health benefits.

The Post Office plans to announce the specifics of its proposed new business model on Tuesday. Its plans will then go before Congress for review. A significant postal price hike is also under consideration, although the price most consumers care about -- the rate for a first-class stamp -- is locked in at 44 cents for 2010.

"At the end of the day, I'm convinced that if we make the changes that are necessary, we can continue to provide universal service for America for decades to come," Potter said. "We can turn back from the red to the black, but there are some very significant changes that are going to have to be made."

LINK (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/USPS-to-propose-5day-mail-cnnm-4552368.html?x=0)

Looks like lots of changes are in store. I remember when being a postal carrier was considered one of the safest and most stable jobs in America.

Rodimus Prime
Mar 2, 2010, 10:31 AM
USPS get screwed from all sides. It can not do anything to raise more money by expanding. As postal delivery goes down it losses money.

Now if they try to raise postage congress gets on their case. If it wants to shut down some mail sorting location because it is not needed congress will not let them.

USPS is force to run like a private business for funds but have the federdual government hands in forcing them to burn money or telling them they can not save or try to make more money.

rdowns
Mar 2, 2010, 10:31 AM
They should gut the USPS and deliver mail 3 or 4 days a week. The vast majority of my mail is junk that ends up in the recycle bin. I don't get why this is such a sacred cow in these times. Why are we propping up this dinosaur?

yg17
Mar 2, 2010, 10:35 AM
I would be fine if they stopped mail delivery on Saturdays, but they either need to keep post offices open on Saturday or extend hours on weekdays until 8 or 9. For those of us who work during the day, sometimes Saturday is the only chance we have to get to the PO.

JNB
Mar 2, 2010, 10:40 AM
They've been proposing this almost annually. Sooner or later it's bound to happen, but between postal customers screaming about wanting Saturday delivery and the postal unions demanding minimum hours for their membership, all that's likely to happen is that somehow we'll end up paying more for less.

That, or more junk mail, as that's a huge revenue stream for them. Lose that, and a first-class letter will easily cost a buck or more.

The whole thing's so deeply ingrained societally, but fundamentally unsustainable given the state and growth of physical and electronic competition.

I dunno, should the government re-absorb USPS as a taxpayer service?

SilentPanda
Mar 2, 2010, 10:46 AM
I honestly wouldn't mind that much if they went to an every other day schedule, maybe just Mon/Wed/Fri. I rarely get useful postal mail anyway and the few things I do get could wait a day. Most of my packages come via UPS anyway. I guess Netflix would be the only thing I'd miss getting daily. Maybe Netflix should buy the postal service... :p

GoCubsGo
Mar 2, 2010, 10:48 AM
They've been proposing this almost annually. Sooner or later it's bound to happen, but between postal customers screaming about wanting Saturday delivery and the postal unions demanding minimum hours for their membership, all that's likely to happen is that somehow we'll end up paying more for less.


I have a customer here in rural NC who is only running a 5-day shift, she has to use and maintain her own car, and does not see additional compensation for it to cover what maintenance she really has to perform on it. It's unfortunate but it's life. I believe this will happen in more rural areas. I've learned from hot mail boy that he doesn't wear a uniform because I'm considered rural, which I find funny. He is here on Saturdays though ... which usually is a good hair day for me. :D hubba hubba

mscriv
Mar 2, 2010, 11:01 AM
The whole thing's so deeply ingrained societally, but fundamentally unsustainable given the state and growth of physical and electronic competition.

I think you are dead on JNB. It's like the USPS is sort of a part of our national identity. Americans seemed so proud in the past that we could deliver packages or mail in a timely manner. I'm reminded of the "rain, snow, or sleet... the mail always runs" verbage I heard growing up and the wild west stories of the Pony Express risking life and limb to deliver the mail.

iShater
Mar 2, 2010, 11:14 AM
This is a sad day indeed. But I agree that the way it is run forces is to follow politicians but still try to make money on its own.

I love my local PO. :o

dmr727
Mar 2, 2010, 11:25 AM
A stamp is what, 44 cents? That seems like a price straight out of the 50s. Yet for 44 cents the USPS will carry my dumb letter thousands of miles and get it there in about a week. Astonishing.

Heck, I don't think I can name one thing that costs less than 44 cents these days.

JNB
Mar 2, 2010, 11:36 AM
I think you are dead on JNB. It's like the USPS is sort of a part of our national identity. Americans seemed so proud in the past that we could deliver packages or mail in a timely manner. I'm reminded of the "rain, snow, or sleet... the mail always runs" verbage I heard growing up and the wild west stories of the Pony Express risking life and limb to deliver the mail.

Funny you should mention the Pony Express, as I was thinking about that too. Just for comparison, it cost $5 per half-ounce—in 1860! In today's dollars, that would make a one-ounce letter $243!

ucfgrad93
Mar 2, 2010, 12:34 PM
Having no mail on Saturday won't be a big deal for me. They have to take steps to stop the losses.

Hrududu
Mar 2, 2010, 12:51 PM
Most of us as consumer probably won't be too effected by the loss of Saturday deliver, but business's will find it burdensome. The ability to send and receive mail on Saturday is really handy sometimes. Say you need something like a bill to arrive by monday and you miss the late Friday pickup. Being able to have it picked up on Saturday can be a lifesaver. I think its a shame, but the way USPS is tied down in regulation, they really don't have much choice until something is done to allow them to operate as a competitive business. They may also lose a lot of customers to FedEx and UPS who need to have shipments and deliveries on the weekends.

Antares
Mar 2, 2010, 01:27 PM
I'm a having deja vu about this thread for some reason.

If they are going to cut a day, they should cut one week day. Then, you don't have to go two days, in a row, without mail.

Plus, Saturdays are important. It's the only day that I, and many other people, can really get to the Post Office. It's not open yet when I leave for work and closed by the time I get home.

Rodimus Prime
Mar 2, 2010, 01:36 PM
Most of us as consumer probably won't be too effected by the loss of Saturday deliver, but business's will find it burdensome. The ability to send and receive mail on Saturday is really handy sometimes. Say you need something like a bill to arrive by monday and you miss the late Friday pickup. Being able to have it picked up on Saturday can be a lifesaver. I think its a shame, but the way USPS is tied down in regulation, they really don't have much choice until something is done to allow them to operate as a competitive business. They may also lose a lot of customers to FedEx and UPS who need to have shipments and deliveries on the weekends.

I think the consumers are effect more by the lost of a Saturday delivery than businesses.

Now I think they have done studies and it was shown dumping either Tuesday or Thursday would be a better choice as those are the lowest volume days. Just the fact that it is an odd ball day prevents it from happening.

Now while I lived in an apartment I tended not to check my mail on Saturday and I would get it Monday evening because I would always check it on my way home from work. If I did not have work that day I would not check my mail.

jaw04005
Mar 2, 2010, 03:00 PM
Plus, Saturdays are important. It's the only day that I, and many other people, can really get to the Post Office. It's not open yet when I leave for work and closed by the time I get home.

Exactly. If the Post Office needs to cut a day, cut Monday. They miss several Mondays because of federal holidays that fall on Saturday and Sunday anyway.

Rodimus Prime
Mar 2, 2010, 03:02 PM
Exactly. If the Post Office needs to cut a day, cut Monday. They miss a ton of Mondays because of federal holidays anyway.

Mondays are a bad day to cut. One of the heaviest mail volumes of the week is Monday due to weekend build up and business being open on Monday. I believe the biggest 2 days ever week are Monday and Friday. Lowest being Tuesday.

Sdashiki
Mar 2, 2010, 03:32 PM
The USPS delivers:

over HALF of the mail WORLDWIDE.


So...whether you live in the US or not, any cuts will probably cost you too.

rdowns
Mar 2, 2010, 03:33 PM
Most of us as consumer probably won't be too effected by the loss of Saturday deliver, but business's will find it burdensome. The ability to send and receive mail on Saturday is really handy sometimes. Say you need something like a bill to arrive by monday and you miss the late Friday pickup. Being able to have it picked up on Saturday can be a lifesaver. I think its a shame, but the way USPS is tied down in regulation, they really don't have much choice until something is done to allow them to operate as a competitive business. They may also lose a lot of customers to FedEx and UPS who need to have shipments and deliveries on the weekends.


If they were to stop Saturday delivery, it doesn't necessarily mean that post offices will be closed. In fact, it would be stupid to close them on Saturdays. I bet it's one of their biggest revenue days of the week.

Sdashiki
Mar 2, 2010, 03:38 PM
If they were to stop Saturday delivery, it doesn't necessarily mean that post offices will be closed. In fact, it would be stupid to close them on Saturdays. I bet it's one of their biggest revenue days of the week.

Post Offices and delivery close on sunday, the Postal SERVICE does not.

They still sort, fly, move, drive your mail.

Its just not delivered.

leomac08
Mar 2, 2010, 04:35 PM
i think children's letter's to santa claus will not make it this year:(

iOrlando
Mar 3, 2010, 07:39 AM
its been so long since i sent something in the mail, I forgot you needed to put stamps on the front of a letter and I forgot how to actually get it mailed.

rdowns
Mar 3, 2010, 07:53 AM
i think children's letter's to santa claus will not make it this year:(


Even that fat old **** has email. :D

mstrze
Mar 3, 2010, 07:58 AM
I bet they are losing money on their flat-rate Priority shipments. If it fits in the box, up to a reasonable weight, it ships for the same price whether it weighs an ounce or 25 pounds.

In the past, the heavier, the more expensive. Methinks that there are a lot of people saving a ton of money shipping this way.

On the other side of this coin: how many more customers were attracted to this method of shipment over a competitor?

Then again, if you can make enough money to fund your operations, something needs to change. In other 'regulated' industries like electricty, for example. Government officials help set the price of the item/commodity to balance the cost vs. expense of providing the item/commodity.

Someone needs to look at the USPS and see why they are constantly losing money these days. (I seem to recall about 10-15 years ago they were ahead of the game and making a profit.) I don't see how cutting a day of delivery will make that much of a difference. Increasing rates are likely a better move....and I bet that is on the table.

I send so few letters that it would not hurt me if stamp prices were tripled! Of course, it would hurt a bit more around Christmas time with the 75-100 cards we send out!

Gregg2
Mar 3, 2010, 08:28 AM
In the past, the heavier, the more expensive. Methinks that there are a lot of people saving a ton of money shipping this way.

... I don't see how cutting a day of delivery will make that much of a difference. Increasing rates are likely a better move....and I bet that is on the table.

Yes, that's on the table when the current freeze expires, as well as closing some light-traffic post offices, and it seems one other much bigger ($15M) item that I can't recall, for a total of over $25M in annual savings.

The cost for shipments of lead have gone way down! ;)

mscriv
Mar 3, 2010, 09:25 AM
Yes, that's on the table when the current freeze expires, as well as closing some light-traffic post offices, and it seems one other much bigger ($15M) item that I can't recall, for a total of over $25M in annual savings.

One of the biggest things on the table is changing or possibly severly cutting back employee pensions and retirement.

dXTC
Mar 3, 2010, 12:08 PM
My best friend is a postmaster at a small town, and I'm sure he has mixed feelings about such a proposition. On one hand, he wouldn't have to work every other Saturday. On the other, his wife drives a Saturday carrier route for a nearby city to fund extra things for their kids; this position would thus be eliminated, and I don't think a weekday job fits with her family obligations.

I'll have to ask his opinion on all this...

Melrose
Mar 3, 2010, 12:21 PM
There're too many post offices already - they really need to consolidate the little poke-and-plum post offices in towns less than, say, 2,000 or so. Coagulate the smaller into the medium-sized and larger, invest more in kiosk and self-service (if that's actually cost-effective; I have no idea) and stop raising the stinking rates! Almost half a dollar to send a small letter is ridiculous. Plus, make their service more dependable, and get rid of the dead weight delivering the mail that makes so many mistakes. I wouldn't mind if they cut mail to just three or four days a week. Or, leave daily mail what it is and packages over a certain size cut back to a few days a week.

UPS & Fedex are more reliable, and the actual mail carriers themselves, ime, leave mail all over where it doesn't belong and the post office won't acknowledge their mistakes. Cut pay for the people who don't perform well, and sack them altogether if they get too many complaints.

maflynn
Mar 3, 2010, 12:26 PM
I've requested this so many times in the past and congress rejected it every time. They need to do it, in fact, I think cutting back to 4 days makes more sense.

So much of the correspondences occur electronically now a days. It makes no sense to have a 6 day delivery schedule when they're mostly delivering junk mail.

I can't remember the last time I paid a bill/mailed it, let a alone write a letter.

rdowns
Mar 3, 2010, 12:27 PM
From Wikipedia:

The United States Postal Service employs some 656,000 workers, making it the second-largest[2] civilian employer in the United States (excluding the federal government) following only Wal-Mart.[13] In a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Court noted: "Each day, according to the Government’s submissions here, the United States Postal Service delivers some 660 million pieces of mail to as many as 142 million delivery points."[14] The USPS operates 32,741 post offices and locations in the US. In August 2009 the Postal Regulatory Commission put forward a preliminary list of about 1000 it is considering closing to save money.[15] Its employees deliver mail at an average yearly cost of $235 per residence as of 2009.[16]

Insane.

Antares
Mar 3, 2010, 12:52 PM
My whole thing is the delivery of packages. The USPS is much more reliable and significantly cheaper than either UPS or FedEX. Plus, missed deliveries I can pick up from my local Post Office. With UPS or FedEX, I have to spend an hour in traffic trying to get to the facility...is the weekend even an easy option for them? I buy a lot of things online and like the possibility of getting my stuff any of 6 days a week.

If delivery days were cut, I would also be getting my Blockbuster DVD's later too. Nothing good can come of this on the consumer/customer side of things. But cuts do need to be made to preserve the healthy functioning of the system. I'm hoping that Congress allows them to expand into other areas of business to help prop up income. And if they do cut a day, Tuesday or Thursday would be the one.

notjustjay
Mar 3, 2010, 03:15 PM
Saturday mail delivery could easily be cut. Canada Post doesn't offer that and I'm sure nobody up here misses it. You guys could easily get used to it.

jesterscourt
Mar 3, 2010, 06:25 PM
They should cut Wednesday. It's the middle of the week, and I don't want my Netflix to be delayed THAT long.

ChrisA
Mar 3, 2010, 07:05 PM
This will save them a pile of money. Sort the mail into two classes "junk" and "stuf I want". Deliver all the junk mail just once a month all tied in a bundle. Deliver the other mail four days a week. Not only does it save money but I will not have to sort through the mail.

When I pick up mail I sort it as I'm walking back to the house and will many times make a stop at the trash can to dump the junkmail

Another cost saving idea. Why even bother to deliver junk. If they sent it in bult directly to the recycle center the trash pickup guys would have loss to haul and save some money too.

rdowns
Mar 3, 2010, 07:14 PM
Another cost saving idea. Why even bother to deliver junk.

I think the companies paying to have it delivered might have an issue or two with that. :rolleyes:

JNB
Mar 3, 2010, 07:14 PM
This will save them a pile of money. Sort the mail into two classes "junk" and "stuf I want". Deliver all the junk mail just once a month all tied in a bundle. Deliver the other mail four days a week. Not only does it save money but I will not have to sort through the mail.

When I pick up mail I sort it as I'm walking back to the house and will many times make a stop at the trash can to dump the junkmail

Another cost saving idea. Why even bother to deliver junk. If they sent it in bult directly to the recycle center the trash pickup guys would have loss to haul and save some money too.

Not that I enjoy the stuff, or that I consider Newsweek much of a source (http://www.newsweek.com/id/161231), but the considerations in it are still valid.

neutrino23
Mar 3, 2010, 07:20 PM
i think children's letter's to santa claus will not make it this year:(

Actually, I heard that letters to the North Pole no longer get delivered. People are happy to respond to the letters, but there was an issue about a sex offender getting in on the act. I think it was a mild problem but now they feel they have to check out everyone who might write replies and there is no money for that. Weird how our world turned out.

Gregg2
Mar 3, 2010, 07:41 PM
They should cut Wednesday. It's the middle of the week, and I don't want my Netflix to be delayed THAT long.

I bet the reason they aren't proposing to axe a week day is because the postal workers want weekends off just like you and I do.

jecapaga
Mar 3, 2010, 11:35 PM
A stamp is what, 44 cents? That seems like a price straight out of the 50s. Yet for 44 cents the USPS will carry my dumb letter thousands of miles and get it there in about a week. Astonishing.

Heck, I don't think I can name one thing that costs less than 44 cents these days.

Avocados are 33 cents a piece this week at Ralph's. Talk about a deal! Go get your guacamole on. :)

I'm in favor of ditching Saturday delivery and even going with MWF delivery. But I think the PO needs to at least be open on Saturday and perhaps M-F for people to go in to do business. The business model has completely changed obviously and the PO is dead weight in many respects. 95% of my mail goes right into the recycle bin. Can't remember the last time I actually mailed a letter or anything.

Melrose
Mar 4, 2010, 09:14 AM
What they need to do is merge the recycle center with your local post office, split costs for utilities and train post office employees who work inside the office to do both jobs.

coolmacguy
Mar 4, 2010, 01:16 PM
It's obvious to me. Last time I went to mail a package at the PO it took almost an hour of standing in line because they had so few people working.

jbernie
Mar 5, 2010, 08:05 PM
Saturday delivery - don't care, wont miss it. Though I think they might want to have it during December for the Christmas volume.

One issue I have seen locally is that the post offices seem to be built with only a relatively small number of counters to service customers, and even then they don't seem to have many people serving even if the line is out the door. Surely they could have some extra staff available out back who can spend 5-10 minutes when the queue is 30 deep, i'm sure a good number of people gave up on the USPS because the queue was too long everytime they went.

Passport applications also seem to cause issues, the local post office seems to only do them at certain times but that line itself can be pretty long & cause delays for other requests.

The majority of my trips to the post office are to send packages to my parents in Australia, where USPS is reasonable & often the package gets there within a week, UPS/FedEx are horrendous & only used if you need a tracking number etc.

ronjon10
Mar 5, 2010, 10:05 PM
They should go to all the way to every other day delivery. There's no urgent need for more than that these days. If there is, ship it by commercial next day.

Gregg2
Mar 6, 2010, 09:55 AM
Well, of course, every other day is not viable since the week has an odd number of days. They aren't going to deliver on Sunday! That's just too ingrained as a no delivery day to change it. Besides, with so many businesses closed on Sunday, it just wouldn't work. Many businesses receive mail at the receptionist's desk, Monday through Saturday.

Melrose
Mar 6, 2010, 01:48 PM
I think he meant Monday - Wednesday - Friday, if I'm not mistaken.

Full of Win
Mar 6, 2010, 02:13 PM
The only time I use them if for NetFlicks and to send in rebate forms.

rhett7660
Mar 6, 2010, 08:59 PM
I do use them but I wouldn't have a problem with them shutting down one of the days they deliver on. Whether it is Saturday or one of the week days. But then again I don't have a business that realize on the post office.

jbernie
Mar 8, 2010, 06:27 PM
It would be interesting to see how much could be saved by stopping just the delivery of mail on Saturday but letting all other functions (i.e. post offices open) continue as normal.

I wonder how much people they have delivering mail on a Saturday, how many vehicles involved that use gas, get extra wear & tear & so on. So long as the removal of one delivery day per week does not cause them to do multiple trips on the exact same route the following day then they gain a bit. If staff have to be in the post office anyway to do sorting/receiving then the savings of not being open to the public is minimal, you need the lights & heating/cooling on regardless.