Faced with financial losses in the billions, the U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with changes to its First Class Mail service.
The USPS is proposing to change delivery standards, slowing down First Class Mail delivery to two to three days next spring. According to the Associated Press, the changes would eliminate any chance for stamped mail to arrive the next day.
“The proposed changes to service standards will allow for significant consolidation of the postal network in terms of facilities, processing equipment, vehicles and employee workforce and will generate projected net annual savings of approximately $2.1 billion,” said Ray Daiutolo, USPS Spokesman for the Delaware region. “This is part of the overall savings expected from the network optimization initiative, which is projected to save up to $3 billion by 2015.”
A drop in the bucket given the Postal Service says it must reduce its operating costs by $20 billion by 2015, in order to return to profitability. Adding insult to injury, Daiutolo says, mail volume has dropped by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years, and continues to decline.
“The Postal Service can become profitable again if Congress passes comprehensive legislation to provide us with a more flexible business model so we can respond better to a changing marketplace,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “We continue to take aggressive cost-cutting actions in areas under our control and urgently need Congress to do its part to get us the rest of the way there.”
Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) chairs the subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service. He fears these measures could backfire, driving even more business online.
“Today’s announcement is another grim reminder that we must act quickly if we want to save the Postal Service and the eight million jobs that rely on it,” said Sen. Carper. “My colleagues Sens. Lieberman (ID-CT), Collins (R-ME), and Brown (R-MA) and I have joined together to introduce the only comprehensive postal reform bill that is bipartisan – the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S.1789)… It is my hope that Congress and the Administration can come together on this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it’s too late.”
The U.S. Postal Service receives zero tax dollars and relies on the sale of postage, products and services for operating expenses. Because those numbers are down, the Postal Service is also studying 252 out of 487 mail processing facilities for possible closure to cut costs. Hares Corner in New Castle is among the facilities on the chopping block, but its fate has not yet been determined. Daiutolo says the study on the facility is still ongoing. Regular post offices or retail centers, as they are called, are not affected by these proposed changes.