In a Wednesday news release, the U.S. Postal Service announced it will end Saturday mail delivery in August. On Thursday, Stephen A. Seewoester, USPS regional spokesman, clarified the new schedule for the Coastal Courier.
“All letter mail service nationally will be Monday through Friday beginning Aug. 5,” said Seewoester, who represents USPS offices in Augusta, Macon and South Georgia. “Any customers who need Saturday mail delivery may rent a post-office box at their local post office. Mail will be delivered to those boxes on Saturday.”
Seewoester clarified information in the news release that stated those post offices currently open Saturdays would continue to be open Saturdays. Mail will continue to be delivered to post-office boxes Saturday at those post offices. However, Saturday mail delivery to homes will stop in
The news release quoted Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick R. Donahoe discussing what he called a “strong growth” in package deliveries while recognizing “America’s changing mailing habits. Seewoester admitted he didn’t have the exact figures about how the increase in package deliveries or the decreases in mail deliveries were broken down by state or region. He said that nationally, package deliveries were up 14 percent while letter mail deliveries were down 20 percent. The news release attributed the decrease in letter mail to increased use of email and other forms of Internet communication.
“The change to the five-day letter delivery will have no affect on post office hours,” he said, explaining the USPS was following other measures to cut costs. “However, separately, the Post Office is reducing hours of many smaller post offices in lieu of closure, based on local usage. This information is broken down on our website...by zip code.”
The USPS website is about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/post-plan/welcome.htm.
Aware that critics of the new schedule already are saying that ending Saturday mail delivery adversely will affect the elderly and those less likely to make a trip to the post office, Seewoester said the Postal Service is taking steps to work with communities, employees, unions and others impacted by the change.
“We are currently working to define the employee impact and will be meeting with our unions and management associations to discuss the employee impact in accordance with our collective bargaining agreements and other obligations,” Seewoester said. “The Postal Service will accomplish this reduction in complement through attrition, reassignment and the other tools available to us.”
Seewoester said the Postal Service has a proven track record of working with affected employees. He pointed out that the USPS has reduced more than 193,000 positions since 2006 without major layoffs.
According to the news release, the new schedule will save the USPS about $2 billion a year when it’s completely implemented. The release also notes the USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, relying instead on the sale of stamps, postal products and services.