Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just days after announcing the increased price of a first-class stamp, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced Wednesday that there will be no more Saturday mail delivery starting Aug. 1.
Just last year, the agency lost $15.9 billion — three times the loss the year before. The move is expected to save $2 billion a year.
The announcement comes as the USPS continues to hemorrhage money as more and more people rely on the Internet to communicate and do business.
In the Twin Cities, letter carriers made their way through snowy routes, telling WCCO-TV they had been told not to comment.
The letter carriers union, however, says they plan to fight this move. The union argues the Post Office cannot act without Congressional approval. But The Post Office says it had no choice but to act.
“Move to five days delivery also reflects a change in the market place demand and we are simply not in a financial position where we can continue to maintain six day a week delivery,” said Postmaster Patrick Donahoe.
Some postal customers like Tom Lutgen of Brooklyn Park say the change doesn’t bother them.
“I don’t mind missing my junk mail on Saturdays,” said Lutgen.
Others are upset, including Wendy Brown, whose blog “Brown Ink” is devoted to the art of letter writing,
“It’s a sign of the times,” said Brown. “It’s a sad moment to hear they are not delivering mail on Saturdays.”
While the USPS plan calls for the end of Saturday mail delivery, packages will still be delivered on Saturday, and post office boxes and post offices will still be open.
Brown fears other cutbacks could come soon.
“I am not sure how they are going to stop after Saturday that they are not going to guarantee that they won’t take away Tuesday we just don’t know that,” said Brown.
While the USPS says this will become effective Aug. 1, it’s not clear if the post office can do this without Congressional approval.
So far, Republican leaders have voiced their support, but Democrats appear more divided.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken saying he is opposed to this move that he says is a disservice to rural Minnesotans.
In the past, Congress has specifically blocked USPS from going to five-day delivery. Congress does have authority over the post office. At minimum, there is sure to be political and legal challenges.