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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The USPS Saturday Mail Delivery Saga Continues

Postal worker: I THINK I'm back to delivering on Saturdays ...According to his blog post "Sanders to Postmaster General: Postal Service Must Keep Saturday Mail" U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) yesterday called on Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to withdraw his plan to stop Saturday mail delivery.

In the blog he stated that "the opinion by the non-partisan GAO unambiguously declared that the Postal Service has no legal authority to end Saturday mail without the approval of Congress. In fact, Congress just last week passed a bill that restated the requirement for the Postal Service to maintain Saturday mail delivery."

In a letter addressed to the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Senator Bernie Sanders encouraged  Mr. Donahoe to clear up any confusion on this topic. "Therefore, I am urging you to make it clear to the American people that the USPS will continue Saturday mail delivery in adherence with the law as soon as possible."

He goes on to explain that he understands that much of the financial shortcomings that the post-office has faced since 2007 can be attributed to the Congressional mandate that the post office pre-fund 75 years of future retiree benefits over a 10 year period; something that no other government agency, nor any other corporation in America is mandated to do. "Before this pre-funding mandate was signed into law by President George W. Bush, the Postal Service was making a profit. In fact, from 2003 through 2006, the postal service made combined profit of more than $9 billion." Senator Sanders continues "I look forward to working with you to end this onerous mandate once and for all which would keep the Postal Service healthy and thriving for years to come."

Also mentioned is the fact that a law passed in 2006 banned the Postal Service from expanding its services with new and innovative products and other offerings. Such innovations could aid the Postal Service to increase much needed revenue, and compete with other shippers such as FedEx and UPS.

What is your opinion, is this the right move? Do you prefer the post office revert to the normal 6 day delivery plan? Will the government follow through with Senator Sanders' suggestion to remove the pre-funding mandate? Will that be enough, or do you feel the Postal Service would be better off by continuing with the 5 day delivery plan in addition to the mandate? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Saturday Delivery or no Saturday Delivery?

Saturday Delivery or no Saturday Delivery?
In early February, I blogged about The United States Postal Service's transition to a 5 day delivery schedule, and how will it affect you? This blog detailed The Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe's decision to end Saturday door to door delivery of letters in an effort to generate approximately $2 billion of annual cost savings. But as of now, it's uncertain whether his plan will go into effect or not.

A recent poll by IPSOS, an independent market research firm, indicates that 80% of Americans support the revised delivery schedule put forth in Patrick Donohoe's Plan. Despite this fact, the spending bill passed in March by the House of Representatives includes a provision held in place for the last 30 years which requires the USPS to maintain services at not less than 1983 levels.

However, according to the Congressional Research Service report, nothing specifically requires the Postal Service to deliver mail on Saturdays.

“Nothing in Title 39 of the U.S. Code (which holds most federal postal law) requires the USPS to deliver mail six days per week. However, since 1984 Congress has included a provision in its annual appropriation to the USPS stating that ‘6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level’” can be found on page 13 of the report.

Whether this will really hold up the plan is up in the air. Most lawmakers agree that the bill passed in the House of Representatives, and a similar bill expected to pass the senate, which includes the same words will allow for the US Postal Service to move forward with their 5 day delivery plan. They indicate that the continued delivery of packages on Saturday is enough to satisfy these requirements. Others believe differently “The language is clear,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D., N.Y.). “They can’t put these changes to Saturday mail into effect.”

Regardless of whether this move is approved or not, the US Postal Service could ignore any rulings against the move - thereby forgoing $100 million in federal funding annually. But when you take a look at the approximate $2 billion in savings that would be a small price to pay.

What is your take on this? If the USPS stops delivering letters on Saturday, do you think it will affect you? Do you support this plan? Do you think the plan will go through? Let me know what you think in the comments below.