Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

USPS plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery delayed

04.27.13

MAY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

USPS plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery delayed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 12th- The United States Postal Service (USPS) delayed its plan to discontinue Saturday mail delivery because of mandates passed by the United States Congress. The USPS announced several months ago five-day mail delivery will begin in August 2013, Monday through Friday.

The USPS operates as an independent agency but is subjected to Congress oversight. The House of Representatives passed legislation to force the USPS to continue the Saturday mail delivery, which was wrapped into a government spending bill. Congress passed the Postal Service Protection Act of 2013, which has a six-day-a-week mandate.

Congressman Matt Cartwright (Democrat-17th Legislative District) supported the legislation and publicly voiced his support for the labor organizations that represent workers of the USPS. Mr. Cartwright has a legislative office in Easton.

After the USPS announced their plan to eliminate six-day mail delivery, the National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Union held several rally’s throughout the state to inform the public why it is a bad idea to cut mail delivery service to five-days a week. The NALC members held signs stating “Don’t dismantle our postal service.” The reason the postal service gave for cutting the mail delivery to five-days was because of financial losses.

The NALC represents the postal service mail carriers.

The major reason the USPS loses money is because of legislation that was passed in 2006 that forces the agency, which is not funded through any government program but only through postage income, to fund pensions for workers that have not even been born. The pensions for the future workers must be funded 75 years in advance, something no other business, private or public, needs to do.

The USPS management suggest cutting Saturday mail delivery would save as much as $2 billion a year. They claimed the agency lost $15.9 billion last year, however, without the pension funding requirement the agency would have made money.

The NALC stated should mail delivery be cut to five-days approximately 22,500 jobs will be lost immediately.

The USPS announced last year it would consolidate 48 mail processing centers throughout the nation including moving their operations from Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year.

The USPS first stated it would close about 250 processing centers after their plan is fully implemented. Overall, approximately 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. The plan was to consolidate 92 mail processing centers in February 2013, and 89 more in 2014.

The anti-union pro-business Republican House of Representatives stated the USPS agreed to keep six-day mail because of “special-interest (labor organizations) lobbying and intense political pressure.”

However, many small businesses that are opened on Saturdays disliked the elimination of Saturday mail delivery. Should Monday be a federal holiday with no postal service businesses would have no mail delivery from Friday to Tuesday.

The National Association of Letters Carriers Union and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) represent the majority of the USPS workers with a combined membership of nearly 410,000 workers.