Feedback: Postal Service To Cut Saturday Delivery

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The U.S. Postal Service has delivered the mail under all conditions for the last 150 years, but it no longer has the money to keep delivering on Saturdays.

The Postmaster General announced the cost cutting schedule change Wednesday.

"Our move to five-day mail delivery also reflects a changing market demand and we are simply not in a position where we can continue to maintain six day delivery," said Patrick Donahue, Postmaster General.

Letter carriers will no longer deliver first-class mail on Saturdays beginning in August, but not all Saturday services are ending.

Packages, mail order medicines, priority and express mail will still go to homes and businesses and post offices will keep their Saturday hours.

In addition, postal jobs will be lost.

"We will continue to be meeting with our unions and management associations throughout this whole process. At first blush, the estimated impact on the full-time assignments is possibly 35,000 and that includes supervisory positions," said Maureen Marion, a spokesperson for the Postal Service.

North country Congressman Bill Owens (D. - 21st District) blasted the decision and called it "outrageous."

He said he wants the Postal Service to take aggressive actions to raise revenue, while not unfairly burdening rural areas with service cuts. 

"I strongly disagree with the Postal Service's outrageous decision to end Saturday delivery," said Owens.  "It's well known that the Postal Service has a budget problem, but leadership within the organization has failed in its duty to grow and seek out new opportunities to raise revenue, instead turning to rural areas for service cuts that do little to solve the problem.  This is an irresponsible approach to management and one that I oppose."

Owens said the majority of the Postal Service's budget shortfall is attributable to a pre-funding requirement, initiated by Congress in 2006, for employee health benefits, in addition to overpayments USPS made to employee pensions.

The postal service says its research shows most Americans support the change.

7 News caught up with some customers outside the Post Office in Watertown to see what they had to say.

"It's really not going to affect me at all. I think it's just a sad thing this is happening because it will affect a lot of people," said Sandra Bolton.

"For me, it's not really a big deal, but it is big for people that need the mail every day," said Tim Collins.

Over the past six years the Postal Service has lost $41 billion as more people switch from letters to email and electronic banking.

To save money the agency has laid off 35 percent of its workforce and cut down hours of service at thousands of post offices.

Stopping delivery on Saturday is expected to save $2 billion, but it's not enough to balance the books.

The Postal Service usually needs Congressional approval to make changes, but the agency says it has figured out a legal way to do it without lawmakers.

President Obama called for a cut to five-day delivery service in his latest budget proposal.

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Monday, September 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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