WASHINGTON – The U.S. Post Office is cutting back to three days – Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The post office announced that it is dropping delivery on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. And it plans a massive rate increase – both in an effort to fend off a projected $7 billion loss this year.
Without drastic action the agency could face a cumulative loss of $238 billion over 10 years, Postmaster General John Potter said in releasing a series of consultant reports on agency operations and its outlook.
“The projections going forward are not bright,” Potter told reporters in a briefing. But, he added, “all is not lost … we can right this ship.”
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate subcommittee with oversight authority over the Postal Service, called on Congress to give the post office the flexibility to deal with its future needs.
“In light of the serious financial challenges facing the Postal Service, postal management must be allowed to make the business decisions they need to stay competitive and viable in the years to come. As we have seen, it is not productive for Congress to act like a 535-member board of directors and constantly second-guess these necessary changes,” Carper said in a statement.
Frederic V. Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, also urged Congress to provide the post office with “financial breathing room,” but he opposed eliminating three days of delivery.
“I do not believe that weakening our commitment of six-day service to the public will enhance the long-term position of the Postal Service as a critical element in our nation’s economic infrastructure,” Rolando said.”
As Americans turn more and more from paper to electronic communications, the number of items handled by the post office fell from 213 billion in 2006 to 177 billion last year. Volume is expected to shrink to 150 billion by 2020.