By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The United States Postal Service announced service cuts that will save billions. But it also means your mail will take longer to get to its destination.

Blame it on electronic communication and the decline of first-class mail. The USPS is projected to lose $14.1 billion next year.

The proposed changes would not go into effect until next spring.

Right now, a first-class letter often arrives the next day. This plan would change that. First-class letters would take not just one day but as long as three days to arrive.

Customers at a Minneapolis post office said the change would affect them most around the holidays, when they send more packages and cards.

But over all customers say the change will not have a big impact.

“It won’t bother me,” said Holly Roseburg, who is a regular visitor to her local post office.

Customer Scharmin Williams agreed saying, “I think it’s a good way to save money.”

The change is the latest in an ongoing effort by the Post Office to balance its books.

The Post Office has been pulling corner mailboxes that are not heavily used off the streets. Another rate hike to 45 cents for a first-class stamp will go into effect later this month. Plus, thousands of post offices, like one in downtown Northfield, are being closed.

The main reason for the cuts and changes is that people are using the post office less and less, and using the Internet more. Mail volume has dropped 20 percent, which is more than 40 billion pieces over the last five years.

The USPS also plans to close four mail-processing centers in Minnesota as part of nationwide cutbacks.

The four centers in Minnesota are the same ones that the Postal Service said in September it was studying for possible closure. They are in Bemidji, Duluth, Rochester and Waite Park. In addition, the Postal Service is studying possibly moving some or all of the Mankato processing center’s operations to Minneapolis.

Regional Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki said the plan isn’t final.

Nationwide, the agency plans to close 252 processing centers and slow first-class delivery next spring, because of steadily shrinking mail volume.

The cuts would close 252 of out 461 mail-processing centers across the country starting next April.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Esme Murphy

Comments (50)
  1. Jeez says:

    More unemployment is what we need….

    1. tom says:

      They can’t lay anyone off. It is in the Union contract, no layoffs. The only way that can change if Congress amends the Union contract to alow layoffs. What I don’t see if there are no layoffs, how does this save money? Just a bunch of Union workers sitting around doing nothing and getting paid?

    2. Mike Walsh says:

      This is absolutely silly. How is USPS business down? Blame the internet? Think of all of the online shopping that goes on. How do those prioducts get to their destinations? It goes by USPS! These numbers are cooked. The explanation that it is a government run organization that is run by fools who can’t come up with viable business plans.

      1. Well no, not all do says:

        How many do you think go via UPS and FedEx? UPS says they do a million packages a day, and that was three years ago.

        Got any numbers? Other than ones you’d otherwise pull out of
        thin air?

  2. X-puffer says:

    The most inefficient government organization.

    1. Ummm says:

      Well no. They’re self-funded. No taxpayer money. All the revenue comes from postage.

      That and I guess there aren’t any large inefficient PRIVATE organizations around.

  3. Jackie Du Charme says:

    It takes a long time now to get mail from Mpls to Central Mn. What are they talking about???? The postal service is and has been slow for a long time. No news there. But laying off more people??? Looking for help from the Feds????

    1. jackactionhero says:

      A long time?

      Sorry, but that is a 2-3 day MAXIMUM delivery time, so you’re just plain wrong.

  4. Obv. says:

    Mail is absolutely useless, how do you expect them not to lose money when it serves very little purpose, I get a letter in 2 to 3 days no matter where in the country its sent from, pay your bills online or direct withdrawl, use direct deposit, I havn’t mailed a letter in over 5 years.

    1. Mike says:

      I just received my state issued drivers license through the mail. Good luck doing that online Obv.

      1. Obv. says:

        Only exception anyone could come up with, but i wouldn’t have a problem picking mine up if i needed to, Ok w-2s also might be only 2 exceptions in all of mail that actually matters, thats saying alot to how useless the mail has become.

        1. CJ says:

          Do you subscribe to any magazines? Ever get a birthday card? Those credit cards you’re paying bill online with, where are you going to get them? As you get older you’re going to keep up with technology right – you won’t be like every other generation and get a little behind?

        2. well goody for you says:

          Obv, who cares about old people with no computer. Or old people in small towns who get their meds through the mail. Good luck giving out your account info online.

          1. Obv. says:

            I have been giving out bank info online since 1994, I have never had anything stolen from me online, yet my girl who refuses to use her bank info onli8ne has had her account hacked twice at TCF, if you want to keep the mail thats fine, but it could be cut by 75% and the world would go on quite easily, Ive never used the usps for a package, i use ups or fedex works just fine, most people here defending the usps work for them, every1 else knows its not even half as important as it was 20 years ago.

    2. Swamp Fox says:

      Chum, if you haven’t used the Postal Service in 5 years and do everything on-line can we have your e-mail address? Then we shall test your security firewalls for anti-hacking protocols. For the price of a stamp[s] you get privacy and security. For years the USPS was basically one of the cheapest, or the cheapest, postal system in the world. Where would this country be without a viable Post Office system?

      Ben Franklin, the first postmaster and founder, foresaw the post office as a unifying element for this country. Yes, times have changed but for some parts of every state the post office acts as the center of town life and history. The same holds true for the far-flung military outposts where mail is delivered.

      Yes, the INTERNET is light speed communication for all the world to use and see. It is impersonal and cold communication. Nothing beats a personal handwritten note or card to express feelings and emotions. Nothing beats a personal written note of kindness received in the proverbial letter box. And, nothing can be the privacy of written mailed communication to express oneself without the whole world of cyberspace looking in. All that for a price of a stamp. A touch of humanity and saneness in a hectic cyber world!

      1. jackactionhero says:

        “Anti Hacking Protocols”??


      2. Obv. says:

        Mailing a letter is guaranteed safe and secure? So you’ve never heard of mailboxs being stolen from? The whole world of cyberspace looking in? If I write a letter to my grandma, you’re saying that online hackers are reading me tell Grandma I love her?

  5. Journeyone says:

    Why don’t they STOP Saturday mail? No one cared when they threatened that so now they are threatening to slow it down. Who is going to notice the slow down. More people will go online for paying bills etc. I am afraid this little plan of theirs is only going to backfire.

  6. Bert says:

    Another Union success story, they just keep on coming. When is the american worker going to wise up.

    1. Well actually says:

      The financial issues stem almost exclusively from the declining non-urgent letter volume during the last decade. Also, they were losing market share in the very profitable package delivery market to UPS and FedEx. It’s come back some, but it’ll take a while.

      Meaning it has next to nothing to do with the Unions.

      But by all means, don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinions. It’s so much easier to jump to a knee-jerk conclusion.

      1. Bert says:

        It has everything to do with unions. Just like the private sector, unions take away a businesses ability to compete by adjusting labor costs based on market trends. Labor is by far the greatest cost to a business. Unions also take away a workers pride, drive, and involvement in the companys success as they have no motivation. I worked at the post office and it was always “slow down”.

        1. Ahhhh says:

          Now I get it. You were canned from the Post Office, so now you’re bitter?

          That and any facts you might be able to scrounge up supporting your assertion that “unions take away a businesses ability to compete” would be most illuminating.

          Unless of course you don’t have any and can’t find any. In which case, this would be just another case of you shooting your mouth off.

    2. Swamp Fox says:

      It’s not the unions’ fault? What T-Bag do you use to make tea to drink? Think about it! When’s the last time you used the Post Office to send a letter?

      1. Bert says:

        UPS and Fedex are doing fine. . Why because they are not handcuffed by the union and labor is the number one cost in a business. if you lose business in a certain area you find other areas of profitability. If one of your products is not selling you cut back on labor costs, you ask for larger contributions into healthcare, cut back on matching funds to 401k, reduce wages, etc. Unions don’t allow the company to do that. You must think about that t bag thing a lot. sweet dreams.

        1. Swamp Fox says:

          Wrong about unions, Bert! The good unions are realizing there is a symbiotic relationship between the company and the union memberships that helps all concerned. Many good unions are trying to be proactive in the companies they are in. It’s the 21st Century and many unions are adjusting to the new economic business sets. Unions are only good and beneficial as the membership they represent and the companies they help.

          Good companies are not handcuffed by the unions but by anti-labor stone-age thinking. .

        2. Journeyone says:

          How many employees do each have USPS, UPS and FEDEX. I am guessing USPS has the MOST employees.
          You are right, let’s get rid of unions. We need more poverty, less middle class and MORE RICH PEOPLE so we can continue give them tax breaks. That has proved to move this country in the successful direction it went during the 12 years of Reagan – Bush years and another 8 years with Bush Jr.

        3. Dude says:

          Got news for ya buddy; UPS is union.

        4. Mark says:

          @ Bert
          Excuse me sir, get your fact straight. UPS is a stong UNION company, with employees represented by the TEAMSTERS!

          Why do all of you anti-union posters hate hard working, middle class families, who only want to attempt to give their families a decent life? It makes no sense, other tha n you hope that all in america will need to work for a minimum wage of 50 cents a day or less. Without unions, that is where we will head in a very quick hurry.

    3. MrOnePercent says:

      Well personally I love guys like Bert. I hate unions. They always get in the way when I’m trying to cut labor costs by reducing wages or cutting back benefits or cutting corners on workplace safety.

      You wouldn’t believe how much you can get away squeezing the workers when there isn’t a union involved. A worker doesn’t like it? Tough. Fire the guy on the spot. I can always find one of Bert’s buddies to fill the job.

      And less for labor means more for me and my shareholders!!

      Go Bert!! Down with unions!!

  7. rocky says:

    usps pays there ppl to much, the average mailman makes 45 to 55 thous a year, a good friend of mine was makeing 18 a hour,,,, that was in 1985 like 26 years ago, i think i was making 5 buck a hour back then……time to change with the times.

    1. Well Mr Generous says:

      So how much do you think they should be making?

    2. They're only says:

      making $55K? That’s about 25% less than what a UPS driver in the US gets after 30 months.

      Guess those UPS guys are being paid WAY too much!!

      1. sid says:

        They earn it, they run to the house with a package, thank you for doing business with them, and always have a smile on their face. There is a reason they call it going ‘postal’ when someone goes berserk.

        1. Rural Carrier says:

          If the parcel doesn’t fit into the mailbox, mail carriers deliver to the door with a smile on their faces, too. I always thank my customers. If your mail carrier doesn’t do that for you, they’re in the minority!

        2. Hey sid says:

          That makes next to no sense at all. Bet it takes a lot of practice to make such inane comments.

    3. jackactionhero says:

      My mother works for the post office and does not make anywhere near what you are suggesting they do, sorry.

  8. Callina says:

    My husband actually worked for the USPS many years ago. He made good money. He left because he couldn’t stand how the union was operating: A drunk delivery driver… fired? Nope. Given a walking route, and paid time off for treatment. A worker fired for calling in sick but going to Acapulco? Nope. Rehired and given back pay. No accountability and no consequences.

    However, the USPS still is a good value. Think about it. Who else will carry your letter across town or across the country for you for only .44 (soon to be .45)? With gas prices the way they are, you couldn’t even get it a few miles away by yourself at that cost.

    I like the idea of eliminating Saturday delivery, if they must. Most non-retail businesses run M-F anyway. We’d all adjust. We always do.

    1. Soooo says:

      So no one at a non-union company has EVER done anything wrong but kept their job nonetheless? People in private enterprise are unaccountable?

      Puhleeez!! Don’t be ridiculous.

      1. Callina says:

        I never said or even implied that. All I said was that he left because he didn’t like how that particular union was operating at that time. I’m quite sure things like that go on in the private sector as well.

        My mind didn’t even go down that road, because this article is about postal services, NOT about unions.

        If you want a discussion about unions, I believe there’s another thread here that could accommodate you. I’m sure you’ll find someone else you can call ridiculous. Have fun with that.

  9. Rural Carrier says:

    How many of you complaining about the Postal Service actually work for them? I do. Mail volume is up from a year ago. Parcels are up – way up. There’s a contract between FedEx and the USPS where FedEx drops off parcels in our PO for us mail carriers to deliver the ‘last mile’.

    I was a ‘sub’ for 9 years. It took that long before a full time position opened up. I’ve been full-time for 10 years. I’ve gone through 5 cars, several transmissions, fuel pumps, tires, and lots of brakes and rotor repairs. I have to have a back-up vehicle in case my main car breaks down. Not too many vehicles work for mail delivery either! We pay for all of it – gas, too. Yes, we get mileage reimbursement, but it doesn’t come close to paying for all the expenses of maintaining our vehicles, let alone purchasing replacements and backups.

    Many carriers suffer from carpal tunnel, hernias, rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, bad backs, strained necks, bad knees, hand injuries, arthritis, and sore feet. We stand for 2 to 5 hours in the office casing mail. We sit in our vehicle for 2 to 7 hours driving through all kinds of weather and road conditions. Even if there’s a blizzard and the plows are pulled off the roads and the highway patrol has advised no travel, we are still expected to go out and attempt as many deliveries as possible. If we get stuck, and drive our own vehicle, we have to pay for our tow and are not reimbursed. We carry shovels and sand/cat litter/poultry grit, and a lot of times shovel ourselves out and pray for a kind soul to stop and give us a hand.

    We are pushed constantly to go faster – but stay safe… Yeah, right… We are allowed 5 minutes a day to use the bathroom – on company time. We are allowed 30 minutes for lunch – off the clock, but everyone I know eats while they deliver the mail because if we don’t, we won’t make the truck which brings the mail and parcels we’ve collected down to Mpls. My lunch break is spent driving to a town a couple miles away so I can use the bathroom instead of tinding somewhere ‘suitable’ along my route. I also spend my lunch break moving mail and parcels from the back of my car nearer to the front. For the past week, parcels have blocked my view out the back window because they’re piled to the ceiling.

    Besides all that, I have to worry about being rear-ended or side-swiped daily as people pass me on hills, curves – anywhere there’s a double yellow line. I’ve got a strobe light on my roof and a US Mail Carrier sign on the back of my car, but that doesn’t seem to mean anything to most of the other drivers on the road with me.

    I drive 65 miles a day. I put mail in close to 450 mailboxes. The number of actual customers is a lot higher than that. I’m supposed to keep track of who’s divorced, who got married, what other names a customer may be known by, who’s moved in or moved out – temporarily or permanently, who has a dog that will probably try to bite me, where to leave a parcel which won’t fit in the mailbox, and deliver paychecks and letters from loved ones. I take my job very seriously. I love my job. I really like 99% of my customers. After 19 years, am I not earning my salary of $59,000? I have a mortgage, kids in college, and pets, just like a lot of you. How little should I make, huh?!

    1. Mark says:

      If you don’t like your job, find another, you play the victim well!

      1. Journeyone says:

        Mark – She is telling people the reality of what the job is.

      2. Callina says:

        Playing the victim? Sounds more like just a job description. There may be a lot of waste or mismanagement in the USPS, but it’s not with the carriers. They work HARD, and I see nothing wrong with them being paid accordingly.

    2. SO SAD says:

      @ Rural Carrier—-do upper management still go to MAILCOM conference every year? They could save millions of dollars by not going or eliminating a big part of the personnel who go. All this is is a big party once a year where upper management go to drink and have fun at our expense. Been there; seen it.

    3. jackactionhero says:

      That sucks. 20 years and you’re not even making 60k.

      How mad are you today that you didn’t go to college way back when?

  10. desert eagle .50 says:

    Simple. If business is down they either must find a way to increase business or cut expenses, including people as needed. How about zoning firsat class mail, charging more for letters across the country than across town.

    Since the volume of mail is down I think they should cut out Saturday delivery and maybe go to a M-W-F schedule.

  11. BARBBF says:

    Post Office Pension Requirement Cause of Financial Problems:


    Crooks and Liars previously reported on this situation, noting that the entire problem could be based on a unparalleled requirement that the USPS fund retirement benefits 75 years in advance. Without this cost, the Postal Service is profitable and none of the other explanations offered by the Times is relevant.

    The Times briefly mentioned the real problem and the real solution, but they were mere asides in the story while the focus was on declining mail volume and worker benefits as the problems and the perceived near impossibility of a solution being found that could work. The newspaper ignored the fact that the National Association of Letter Carriers (see testimony above) previously shot down all of these arguments and the Times failed to mention any of the greater problems — including job losses and harm done to small businesses that rely upon weekend mail service — that the draconian proposals being floated by Congress would create.

  12. Obv says:

    Crystal sugar just another example of Union pushing a poor decision, I get way up north that if they wern’t union it would be all immi’s making $5 an hour working there, but sometimes they need to be willing to compromise, 17% hike in pay, higher healthcare thats how the world works now.

  13. Zaara says:

    If you want to get details how to avoid bankruptcy, you can visit the following link :-