USPS Drops Five-Day Plan; What Now?

By Larry Riggs

 

The U.S. Postal Service has finally bowed to the inevitable and decided to drop its plan to stop Saturday mail delivery.

In an April 10 statement, the USPS’s Board of Governors sited language in Congress’s continuing budget resolution to fund the government that “prohibited implementation of a new national delivery schedule for mail and packages and decided to “follow the law” and maintain its full delivery schedule http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_0410bogstatement.htm.

Deep down, the USPS probably knew it couldn’t get away with this ploy.

Perhaps to save face, the Board said it would “continue to support a transition” to a five-day delivery schedule, whatever that means.

Question is now what will the USPS do to save money?

The Board of Governors also said it would direct postal management to try and reopen negotiations with postal labor unions (fat chance of getting anywhere) and see if it could get an “exigent” postal rate increase.,.

The 2006 postal reform law, which mandated small predictable yearly rate increases, has a provision for “exigent” rate hikes if the USPS found itself in extremely dire economic circumstances.

Despite its extremely poor and worsening fiscal condition, the USPS has been turned down every time it asked for such an increase.

That leaves only the closure of more postal facilities and layoffs, something that can only hurt people and hasten the USPS’s decline.

On the macro level, the USPS plans to speed up the consolidation of 71 mail processing plants this year it had originally intended for next year, a move likely to kill jobs and disrupt communities, accuses the American Postal Workers Union http://www.apwu.org/news/forthepress/pressrel130410-congress_must_act.htm.

And of course the USPS is closing local post offices, a move that can hit close to home.

In one case, the postal service is gonna close another very busy location in New York City which, like others nearby, serves a large portion of seniors and disabled people http://town-village.com/2013/04/04/meeting-set-to-address-planned-closure-of-peter-stuyvesant-post-office/

None of these moves can possibly save the USPS which still must pay $5.8 billion each September to cover the healthcare costs of future retirees. Last year, the USPS defaulted on two such payments, adding $11.1 billion to its overall deficit of more than $15 billion http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_021.htm.

Maybe the Governors really want to take the USPS private and line their own pockets. So says at least one observer http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/02/starving-the-postal-service/.

These views may be a little extreme but they cannot be dismissed outright, given what’s been happening over the past few years.

On the other side is the more than $9 billion mailing industry as well as the American people who still depend on the postal service.

Let’s hope they both win against these forces of heedless and mindless greed.

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