Saving Saturday Mail Deliveries - The Missourian: Opinion

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Saving Saturday Mail Deliveries

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Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013 6:32 pm

The U.S. Postal Service has backed off its plan to eliminate most deliveries of mail on Saturdays — at least for now. The Postal Service’s board of governors was critical of Congress in announcing the dropping of plans to curb Saturday deliveries in what it called a cost-saving measure.

Members of Congress listened to concerns expressed by many organizations, businesses, the postal workers and mailers who depend on Saturday mail deliveries. Among the groups opposing the curtailment of service was the National Newspaper Association (NNA), which lobbied vigorously against the Postal Service plan, and said the cost-saving figure of $2 billion was not accurate.

Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Roy Blunt opposed the plan, along with Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer who represents this area in the U.S. House.

The NNA said it also will oppose increases in postage rates at a time when closing mail processing facilities “are degrading newspaper delivery service nationwide.” The NNA is awaiting postal reform legislation from Congress.

The Postal Service’s board was critical of Congress for passing legislation recently to require a continuance of Saturday mail deliveries. The USPS’s board said it had no choice but to continue the service for now. The Postal Service had hoped to curtail Saturday deliveries in August. It had planned to continue deliveries of some mail on Saturday, but not first or second class mail, including newspapers. Other mass mailings also would not have been delivered. The USPS thought that by delivering some mail it still would meet the six-day mail delivery requirement.

The Postal Service is losing money and efforts for years to stop the revenue bleeding, and cut costs, have failed for the most part. USPS is burdened by a requirement that it pre-pay retirement benefits, along with other expenses related to benefits. It has closed some facilities and plans to close more of them. Consolidation of facilities has been going on for some time. Competition has hurt the USPS, especially the Internet.

The continuation of Saturday deliveries is a victory of sorts, but the future of the Postal Service still is shaky. Eventually, Congress is going to have to come to the rescue.

/opinion