USPS can legally stop Saturday letter delivery, says Postmaster General


Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the Postal Service does not need congressional approval to discontinue Saturday mail delivery and the 5-day delivery schedule will start this Aug. 5. Donahoe says package delivery services will stay on a 6-day schedule and post offices will remain open on Saturdays.

The move to 5 day letter delivery, which the USPS announced Feb. 6, should save the federal carrier $2 billion annually once fully implemented. The service recorded a $15.9 billion loss during the last fiscal year.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Donahoe said that, according to in-house legal counsel, the Postal Service can move to the 5-day delivery. "It's our opinion that the way the laws are set right now with the continuing resolution that we can make this change," he said.

Donahoe said that this interpretation is not meant to subvert the legislature. "We want to work with Congress to do the right thing," he said, "We don't want to catch Congress in a loophole."

Donahoe said the announcement today gives Congress time to express concerns or create legislation before the current CR ends March 27. He also said today's announcement of an August rollout will give customers enough time to adjust their mailing habits.

In a statement, Donahoe said the move addresses the "growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits." Parcel service has grown 14 percent in volume over the past two years, the service says.

The Postal Service says it has cut its annual cost base by roughly $15 billion, reduced its career workforce by 28 percent--roughly 193,000 employees--and closed more than 200 mail processing locations since 2006.

For more:
- read the service's press release
- download the 5 day delivery fact sheet (.pdf)

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