US Postal Service delays cuts to delivery schedule

Congressional resolution prohibits 5-day delivery schedule

— In light of a recently passed Congressional resolution, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors announced Wednesday it would postpone plans to transition to a new national delivery schedule. The impact to Craig and Hamilton is not expected to be significant.

Before the resolution’s passage, the Postal Service was planning to implement Aug. 5 a Monday through Friday mail delivery schedule. Under the plan, packages still would have been delivered on Saturdays, but regular mail wouldn’t have been.

The elimination of Saturday mail delivery would have saved the Postal Service about $2 billion annually, according to a statement by the Board of Governors. The new delivery schedule was one piece of a larger five-year plan to cut costs and reign in the Postal Service’s debt, which is estimated at about $16 billion.

The statement indicated the board was disappointed with Congress’ action but directed the Postal Service to comply with the law until legislation is passed to allow the Postal Service to implement a more financially appropriate delivery schedule. The board also has directed Postal Service management to reopen negotiations with postal unions to investigate ways to lower workforce costs and raise product revenues.

Although the board’s statement indicates a majority of Americans supported the new delivery schedule, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said eliminating Saturday delivery would have not only hurt rural Colorado communities and seniors, but also would have made the Postal Service less competitive in the marketplace.

“The U.S. Postal Service needs to change the way it does business to achieve sustainability, but as it continues cutting costs, it is important that it does so in a way that will keep the agency competitive with other delivery services,” Udall said in a news release. “Coloradans from across the state, businesses and postal workers have told me that ending Saturday service could blunt their competitive edge and force local newspapers and other business like Netflix, Amazon, direct mailers and mail-service pharmacies to turn to the U.S. Postal Service's competitors.”

Post office employees in both Hamilton and Craig declined to comment about the decision, citing Postal Service policy that requires official statements be issued by the Postal Service’s regional office in Denver.

Chris Oxley, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, was hard-pressed to think of a local business that would be impacted by Saturday mail deliveries one way or the other.

Most businesses in Craig are closed Saturday, Oxley said, and the few that are open rely more heavily on FedEx and UPS for weekend deliveries.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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